HOT SPOT: The Shard, London’s 72 floor architectural marvel

Take a fresh look at London from the top of Europe's tallest building.

Why’s it hot? Piercing the heavens next to London Bridge, the newly-opened galleries of the View from the Shard are set on the 69th and 72nd floors of The Shard, offering sensational panoramas over central London from 800 feet.

Peak viewing: whizz up to the top of The Shard for a fabulous panorama over London © The View from The Shard

What’s it got? The Shard is an icicle-like sliver of glass rising to 1,016 feet that was designed by Renzo Piano. The View from the Shard is at the top, then there’s 12 floors of exclusive residences below this, followed by the Shangri-La Hotel on floors 34-52 (opening in June, shangri-la.com). The rest is given over to restaurants, offices and shops. Visitors ascend by lifts that will whizz you up there in just 60 seconds.

Zoom with a view: digital telescopes help you get a close-up on London life © The View from The Shard

Wow factor: If you’re not that familiar with London or have not been on the London Eye (londoneye.com) this will prove an amazing experience (providing you have a head for heights). Try to avoid busy periods, such as the weekends, and pray for a clear day. The View from the Shard has two levels – the higher is open to the elements, so wrap up. 12 digital telescopes (free) offer the chance to zoom in on key sights. They also let you see the same view at sunset or night, and provide some compensation if it’s cloudy. There’s a small souvenir shop where the memorabilia includes Romeo, a cuddly toy (£7) inspired by a fox who gained fame when he lived on The Shard’s upper levels for two weeks in 2011 when it was under construction.

Visit at night to see the bright lights of the capital © The View from The Shard

Need to know: Admission is pricey, but can you can make it the centrepiece of a day out by visiting the restaurants and food stalls of nearby Borough Market (Thursday to Saturday, boroughmarket.org.uk). There’s plenty more to do along the river, including the Design Museum (designmuseum.org), Tate Modern (tate.org.uk) and South Bank (southbankcentre.co.uk). Good hotels in the area include the Bermondsey Square Hotel (bermondseysquarehotel.co.uk), Premier Inn London Southwark (premierinn.com) and citizenM (citizenm.com).

Book now: Tickets for the View from the Shard cost £24.95 (£18.95 children) and it’s open daily from 9am to 10pm so you can also go for sunrise, sunset and at night. You won’t get a refund if the visibility is poor, so if possible keep an eye on the weather before you book.

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