The Shard

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…


the attachments to this post:

view up
view up

tower of london
tower of london

romeo
romeo

view from shard 2
view from shard 2

Severndroog castle screenshot
Severndroog castle screenshot

View from the shard
View from the shard


3 Comments to “The Shard”

  1. Dazza says:

    Not at all jealous, Phanty…….not at all (said through gritted teeth)
    I have just been looking at the 360 thingy from the Guardian this morning and noticed that Cutty Sark is still under wraps. When did they take the pics? She’s been ‘open to the elements’ for over 12 months. LOL
    Like you said, it will definitely be on my ‘things to do in London’ list very shortly. *Drops first penny in jam jar*

  2. bats says:

    Lucky you phants, I am taking my family up tomorrow morning…just checked the weather and it is supposed to be sunny, but you never know with the Great British weather. I will let you know if I can see you from the top!

  3. Matthew Gough says:

    you must have been no more than an hour ahead of us! We arrived just as the rain stopped, and by the time we got up there the sun was out.

    We spotted the naval college, blackheath (I’m convinced I could see the Hare and Billet, but that could be my imagination), the dome for the entry to the foot tunnel etc etc, but the best bit by FAR was watching all the trains coming and going out of London Bridge.

    We liked the small selection of souvenirs in the shop on the viewing gallery, but as the till was broken we had to make our purchase of the stylish and not too expensive guide book downstairs. I suspect you didn’t go into the tat-shop on the ground floor, as it’s FULL of bad quality, vastly over priced rubbish. rather disappointing I have to say. And… they want 50 quid for the green screen photo they snap on the way in!

    Still, a good thing to do (especially if someone else paid for your ticket!)…