If you’re heading to London, the city’s latest attraction will be waiting for you. The Shard opens to the public this Friday, Feb. 1.
The Shard is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and it hasn’t just changed the look of London – it’s changed the way we look at it, too.
For the first time in the capital’s history, there’s a place where you can make sense of its multigenerational, higgledy-piggledy cityscape, all from one spot – the top of Renzo Piano’s striking, 1016 ft tall Shard.
Sure, authority figures have surveyed the city from the top of St. Paul’s cathedral for the past 200 years. And, since the turn of the Millennium, the paying public has been afforded ever-so-slightly better views from the London Eye.
But, with its uninterrupted and far-reaching vistas, the View From the Shard undoubtedly gives an impression of London far superior to any other. Finally, England’s capital has a viewing platform to match New York’s Empire State Building, Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
The people behind the attraction claim you can see as far as 40 miles away – that’s way, way beyond the M25.
But, most importantly, you can see London’s great landmarks, old and new, from the very same vantage point.
Suddenly, London doesn’t feel so big. You realize how close the Tower of London, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge, the Olympic Stadium, Canary Wharf, St. Paul’s, the Oval cricket ground, The Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Wembley Stadium all are to one another. They’re all distinctively visible, yet curiously miniature at the same time.
So how does building compare with the other great urban viewing platforms around the world? Well, first off, it’s pretty expensive. It’s nearly twice as expensive to visit as the Empire State Building, and nearly three times more expensive than the Eiffel Tower.
Height wise, The View From the Shard isn’t anywhere near as tall as the world’s tallest. Though nearly twice the height of its closest competitor in London (the London Eye), it’s nearly 2,000 feet shorter than At the Top (the Burj Khalifa), which is the equivalent of two Shards on top of each other!
But altitude isn’t everything – being closer to the ground means you get to see the landmarks better. The Top of the Rock in New York, which is similar in height to the View from the Shard, has spectacular views.
|Viewing platforms around the world|
Height of viewing deck
Height of building
|The Shard||The View From the Shard
||London||800 ft.||1,016 ft.||$48.25||$38.60|
|The London Eye||The London Eye||London||443 ft.||443 ft.||$30.40||$17.90|
|St Paul’s Cathedral||Dome’s Golden Gallery||London||279 ft.||365 ft.||$24.15||$9.70|
|Empire State Building||Observatory||New York||1,224 ft.||1,250 ft.||$25||$19|
|GE Building, Rockefeller Center||Top of the Rock||New York||850 ft.||850 ft.||$25||$16|
|Willis (Sears) Tower||The Skydeck||Chicago||1,353 ft.||1,450 ft.||$17.50||$11|
|Eiffel Tower||The third floor||Paris||896 ft.||1,063 ft.||$18.30||$12.40|
|Burj Khalifa||At the Top||Dubai||2,717 ft.||1,483 ft.||$27.25||$20.45|
|International Commerce Centre||sky100||Hong Kong||1,289 ft.||1,587.9 ft.||$19.35||$13.55|
|Sky Tower||Sky Deck||Auckland||722 ft.||1,076.1 ft.||$23||$9|
|CN Tower||Sky Pod||Toronto||1,465 ft.||1,815.4 ft.||$30.10||$22.15|
|Shanghai World Financial Center||Sky Walk 100||Shanghai||1,555.1 ft.||1,614.2 ft.||$24.15||$12.10|
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(Main image: The View from the Shard)