The Shard

Today was time to realise Lucy’s much-anticipated birthday present with a visit to The Shard and a great lunch out. Our first visit to The Shard a few years ago was somewhat diminished by poor weather, and we feared that might end up being the case today, but in the end the heavy rain cleared from London and we had pretty good visibility. We arrived almost half an hour early for our timed slot, but it wasn’t busy and we were sent straight up, the first elevator taking us to the 33rd floor, and the second to the 68th floor – from where walked up to the 69th and 72nd floors.

This visit is a good example where the camera can’t really do justice to the scene, and fails to capture the far-off detail as well as the human eye.
Even zoomed in, the camera is failing to see what we could spot, and we spent a long time delightfully identifying both the near and the far, including Heathrow in the west, Barnet in the north, the Lee valley reservoirs, and the QEII Bridge in the east. We picked out old friends like St Bride’s church off Fleet Street where we climbed the tower many years ago
Looking across central London to Alexandra Palace in the centre of picture to the hills of Enfield Chase and south Hertfordshire
Looking downriver – the camera does justice to the familiar landmarks in the foreground, but who can spot the Thames Barrier, the QEII Bridge, the ExCeL conference centre or Victoria Dock? Even the London (formerly Olympic) Stadium doesn’t show up well. We also spoted features we weren’t aware of such as the canal in Wapping.
The 72nd floor is open to the air, and gives us the opportunity to look up at the remaining (decorative rather than functional) floors of the tower.
Looking south-east along the long viaduct towards Deptford
South-west is less familiar to me, but The Oval cricket ground is there (immediately to the right of the top of the tall building in the centre of picture) as is Battersea Power Station.
We had been advised not to miss the toilets on the 68th floor – definitely a room with a view.
As we’d arrived early, we had a bit of extra time, so took a Thames Clipper boat down river, at up to 36mph, here pausing by the Cutty Sark to drop off most of the passengers…
…before we continued around The O2 and under the cable car to North Greenwich Pier from where we got the Underground back into London for a great meal at the London Steakhouse Company close to Liverpool Street station. A great day out.

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