Out and about in London Bridge this weekend?
Then take a second to stop and glare skywards as you marvel at one of London's newest skyscrapers. Beam upwards and see if you can spot onlookers on the viewing platform of the open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor.
Opened to the public in February 2013 a visit had long been on our to do list. The other week we finally arrived to take in our very own View from the Shard.
We pre-booked our tickets online beforehand but you can just turn up and buy them on arrival - I believe they're about £5 cheaper if you book them ahead of time so it's worth planning ahead if you can. Your tickets are dated and timed so you need to arrive within your allotted time but once you are up on the viewing platforms you can spend as long as you like soaking up the dazzling and breathtaking sights of the city.
High speed lifts smoothly help you ascend to the 69th floor where you first embark to take in the 360 view of your surroundings. Interactive telescopes help you to hone in and focus closer on the details of the sights before you - St Pauls' Cathedral, The Tower of London, The Oval and so much more - everything there before you at your feet and in clear and unfettered view before your very eyes.
It was slightly overcast and raining when we visited (well it is London and that's why we love it!) but this didn't affect the view. It seems that the building lies in just the right location, set at just the right height - you are able to absorb so much in just one look.
Next you move higher to the 72nd floor and the open air platform where you can absorb the smells, sounds and slight breeze of the the town as well as soaking in the sights. Take a moment to breathe it all in and be captivated by the wonders of the city.
If you like on the 69th floor you can treat yourself to a glass of bubbly and sip away as you try to figure out all of the little and large landmarks that sit before you (just be aware that you will need cash to partake in this additional pleasure!)
After our exploration of the city via the wonderful view we descended to level 32 for a spot of food and a few drinks in The Oblix Restaurant.
There are a number of restaurant options on offer within the Shard itself. We picked Oblix for it's relaxed and laid back vibe where we chose to sit in their Lounge Bar, have some cocktails and soak up the live music.
When it came to food I kept it simple with the Smoked Salmon Flatbread (enough to feed two people by the way) and a Steak. Dan - Steak Tartare and BBQ Black Cod plus a selection of sides to share.
The food was very good as was the service. It isn't the cheapest meal you will have in London but it isn't bad - this was actually a birthday treat so we splashed out a little! The lounge bar is very lively - we visited on a Thursday night and it was very busy, filled with diners and people socialising after work topped off with a fair sprinkling of live music. With that in mind it isn't necessarily a romantic meal for two kind of venue if you're looking for a quiet evening. It is however good fun with an energetic atmosphere.
As mentioned there are a number of other restaurant options, we haven't tried these but you can find out more here: Shard Restaurants.
Following dinner we decided we wanted to grab one last drink before heading home so decided to venture out into the night in search of a local pub. We ended up in The Wheatsheaf just by Borough Market which turned out to be the perfect, friendliest of places for one last tipple before heading homeward.
So if you're looking for a little something to do after work when you're city bound or if you just happen to be visiting the area be sure to stop by the Shard and take in London in all its glory!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.