Today possibly wasn’t the very best day to experience London’s newest tourist attraction, but it was the first one (official, anyway, apparently there were a bunch of the usual rent-a-crowd celebrities up there last night) and The Phantom Webmaster and myself managed to be some of the first proper punters to see it.
Actually, that’s not quite true, for we were there because I’d won a competition* – a very, very rare occurrence for me. It was a challenge to suggest a place that you can see from the Shard but most people would miss. The ten winners have had their suggestions included in the groovy digital telescope things at the top, and here’s my (winning, tee hee) entry, already programmed into the viewfinder:
Not that you could see even the vague area in which Severndroog Castle might be spotted today – the rain was lashing down and the black clouds seemed to completely surround Shooters Hill. You couldn’t even see Greenwich, though I’m told that you can at least see the Old Royal Naval College, Observatory and Power Station on a good day.
It’s a fun experience, and on that mythical ‘good day’ I am sure you can see far into the distance. As it was I still had fun, staring down and spotting fun stuff like the little shelter from the old London Bridge that sits in Guys Hospital, and the Globe Pub which, you can see from above, really was built around to create the new lines out of London Bridge station.
But it does have to be that ‘good day’ if you want to do anything beyond enjoying St Paul’s Cathedral and a charmingly model-like Tower of London.
It costs £24.95 for an adult (though at the tills they all said £29.95; I don’t know where they get that figure from,) or £100 if you want to go up there and then so to get your money’s worth, it will be worth waiting for better weather (they tell me it’s pretty much fully booked anyway until April) and then watch the weather forecast and book accordingly.
I can see this becoming one of those ‘things you have to do’ when you come to London, but those prices are squeakingly high for everyday folk, and that’s before you even hit the gift shop where they must be thanking the marketing gods for ‘Romeo,’ the fox who lived up the Shard for two weeks while it was being built and thus giving them a cute animal as the tower’s first resident to rurn into cuddly toys (not literally, of course…) to go with the rest of what I have to admit are generally pretty un-tacky souvenirs.
So – the Phantom likes – but make sure you get the weather right…
*if you’re wondering how I managed to get in without being spotted, I have to thank Will, the guy who organised the completely anonymous tickets – cheers Will – I was the short, fat, tall, skinny one in the red/green/black/blue cloak and tricorn…
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