‘The Shard’ transforms
river bank in world capital
The view looking north towards The City from the Obelisk restaurant on the 23rd floor of The Shard, London’s newest skyscraper. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
THE JUST OPENED SKYSCRAPER known as The Shard (of glass) has totally transformed both the London skyline and the south bank of The Thames river where it is located.
One can get a sense of just how spectacular it is at the official website, The View from The Shard,
which begins with a dramatic opening sequence: the view as one rises the 72 floors (1,016 feet) to the top.
The structure, which resembles what was once known as the TransAmerica Pyramid in San Francisco, was topped out on March 30, 2012.
It was opened – partially – to the public earlier this year, just in time for my visit with my nephew and his partner on June 2!
A view looking east toward Tower Bridge over the river Thames from the 23rd floor of The Shard, London’s newest skyscraper. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL web site, “The Shard is an iconic, landmark building on the London skyline, designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano.
“At a height of 1,016ft (310m), the tallest building in Western Europe, The Shard redefines London’s skyline and will be a dynamic symbol of London, recognisable (sic) throughout the world.”
This is not, in my view, an overstatement.
We dined at The Obelisk restaurant on the 23rd floor (about half way up) which had been open for only three weeks.
The north view from The Shard at night, with the lights of The City twinkling in the distance. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
The views are spectacular, as you can see from the images.
But the food is way overpriced (dinner for three was 147 pounds, plus or minus $250), the service stiff and formal and sloppy, the staff so nervous they needed to be rehearsed.
Perhaps it is unfair to judge a place so new, but if one is paying top dollar for dinner (as we did) then expectations are very high.
Disappointed is the best way to describe dinner at The Obelisk; the fantastic views were a slight compensation.
The official web site describes a visitor’s experience this way:
“The View is situated at the top of The Shard, on floors 68, 69 and 72, and almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London.
“Prepare to embark on a multi-sensory journey to 800 feet above one of the greatest cities on earth. On arrival at Level 00, you will be drawn into the tapestry of London with glimpses of the city laid out before you.
“Travelling skyward in two high-speed ‘kaleidoscopic’ lifts, you’ll swiftly reach Level 68 – a cloudscape above the world.”
We didn’t get the chance to go all the way to the top.
But if you do, undoubtedly you will enjoy a unique experience, unavailable anywhere else … except perhaps, a little further down The Thames, on the now famous London Eye.
But if you’re planning a visit this summer, better be ready to wait in long lines. I still have not been on The Eye for this very reason; every time I’ve visited London since it was completed in 1999 (several times) the lines have been too long.
Maybe the lines at The Shard will be shorter.
Tower Bridge is all aglow in this view from The Shard taken after sunset. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK: Contact site admin directly