Thursday, 8 January 2015

The View from the Shard

When I was living in London, I watched the Shard being built, slowly growing taller and taller until it left all of the other surrounding buildings in its shadow. Working in the City I loved the London landscape and had rather beautiful views of it from my office window.



The Shard opened its doors just before I left for Newcastle.  I was desperate to climb the 1016 foot building but was a little too busy relocating to buy a ticket. 

So on a recent trip to London I was very happy to finally get the opportunity to venture to the top of London's tallest building with my friend Lauren. 

There are a few ways you can enjoy views from the Shard. The Shang Ri-La hotel is situated on floors 34 - 52, offering spectacular views whilst you have afternoon tea or there's the Aqua Shard on the 31st floor where you can also drink and dine.  

For my first trip I decided to go all the way to the top for the full experience and we booked tickets for "The View from the Shard". These do not come cheap at £24.99 for advance bookings and £29.99 for tickets on the day. This is surely the world's most expensive tower to climb?



Once we'd handed our tickets over we entered the lift and began our journey up the tower.   Our ticket gave us access to two floors.  Floor 69 is completely under cover and also has a small champagne bar and Floor 72 is the highest you can go and is open at the top. 

Whilst there is floor to ceiling windows the whole way round the viewing platform, the roof is open so I should imagine it can possibly get a little chilly. Luckily for us the December day we visited we were blessed with Winter sun that kept us toasty.





 

The views from the top were incredible and on the clear day that we had we could even see the arches at Wembley Stadium. 
 
I loved seeing all the landmarks in miniature below us - Tower Bridge, the Eye and of course the City where my old office stood out next to the Gherkin as the only blue building!

Our ticket allowed us to stay for as long as we liked and we were up the tower for a good hour enjoying the views. 

To finish off such a lovely day we decided that afternoon tea was needed so headed to the London Bridge Hotel, a very short walk away. This is a great tea to do if you're climbing the Shard as you get a free glass of bubbly included when you show your Shard ticket.

Our tea was taken in the Quarter Bar & Lounge, which was a lovely space of comfy sofas and of course a rather spectacular Christmas tree.  

Unfortunately after being given our prosecco we were then waiting for around 40 minutes for our cakestand to appear. Not ideal when we hadn't eaten all day. 

When it did arrive shortly after we chased we were happy with how lovely it looked. Lauren is vegetarian and they bent over backwards to accommodate her by presenting her with her own plate of cheese and egg sandwiches. Add this to the collection of ham, salmon and cucumber sandwiches already on the stand and we had enough sarnies to feed a small army.

Our table was beginning to get a little full (tables are never big enough for afternoon tea!) which lead to bit of a mini disaster when the waiter knocked over Lauren's drink. The half drunk Prosecco went everywhere! But before it turned into an episode of Fawltey Towers he'd quickly mopped it up and brought her a fresh glass. When I joked that I might "accidentally" drop my glass he also filled mine up. Result!

The most disappointing part of the tea was our scones which were a little burnt. As a result they were hard and not all that tasty so we only had one each and made sure we'd smothered them in jam and cream to cover the burnt bits.

Luckily the cakes were far more impressive with Orange Chocolate Tarts, Macaroons and Mini Cupcakes.  Each one was delicious and the perfect size. Being an afternoon tea diva I did have to go and ask for a fork to eat my cakes with (they only had knives and spoons on the table) but I can forgive that as everything was delicious. 

The tea cost us £18 each which is very reasonable for a London afternoon tea. If you're thinking of visiting the Capital to climb the Shard, then make sure you follow it with a spot of tea at the London Bridge Hotel. 
 

36 comments:

  1. I didn't realise their was a hotel in the shard. Imagine waking up to that view! I would love to climb one day.

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    1. I dread to think how much it costs to stay there, I haven't looked but I'm sure it'll be one of the most expensive hotels in London with a view like that!

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  2. Next time you're in London we must meet and have afternoon tea at the Shangri-La, though I must say those macarons at the Bridge Hotel look nice but shame about the scones. I'm glad you had a lovely clear day, when I went up it was so foggy we couldn't see anything!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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  3. Ah, that's just beautiful! <3 London looks amazing. Lovely pictures!

    http://thoughtsintiffanyblue.blogspot.com/

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  4. I think I'd be so scared of this! Heights do make me a little nervous, I remember walking the Eiffel tower steps and my legs really shaking all the way down. The view does look beautiful though.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    1. Even though it's VERY high I think you'd find it easier than the Eiffel tower - the lift is all enclosed and the floor to ceiling windows make you feel very protected. The Eiffel Tower felt a lot more open than the Shard x

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  5. Looks completely gorgeous (as does your adorable tartan number!) We're up in London in a couple of weeks so thanks for the recommendation...think the husband might kick off if his scones are less than perfect though!
    M x

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    1. Yeah, maybe not the best place to go for scones, it's unknown for me not to eat my allocated two!

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  6. I'd love to stay in the hotel at the Shard - the views look incredible! It's a shame about the scones but the macarons that came with your afternoon tea are making me hungry! xx

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  7. The views look amazing - I went on the London Eye but this looks even better.

    Lizzie Dripping

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    1. It's definitely far more impressive than the London Eye and you can stay up there as long as you like x

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  8. Gosh what beautiful views, both of London and that afternoon tea! Love the new blog design btw, much more fitting! x

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    1. Thank you, I love it - it feels more grown up :)

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  9. Wow that is a bit pricey for a ticket, but the views are pretty amazing. I love a good view, when I work I can't sit near a window as I would just stare out of it all day, so I could stay up there for hours.

    Gems x
    Fashion, Well Done

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    1. It is a little, but for a "once only" experience I didn't begrudge it

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  10. The Shard is so beautiful the views are beautiful and how good does that afternoon tea look. The price is very reasonable especially champagne. I am glad that you had a lovely time in London Lucy x

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    1. Yes, probably the cheapest afternoon tea I have ever had in London!

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  11. I've been toying with taking a trip up the shard for a while - would you say it's worth the price? I'd love to see the view! Also, good tip about the free bubbly - I'll try to rermember that!

    P.s. apologies if I am a little late to the party (I've been a bit AWOL in the blogging world recently) but LOVE your new blog header and photo :)

    Happy new year!

    Jo xx

    She Wears Burgundy

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    1. I think so, I wouldn't do it again because it's so expensive. I decided it'd be my one and only trip to the very top for that price. I don't regret it though, the views were fantastic! Next time I go I'll definitely be going for an afternoon tea or some cocktails.

      Thank you very much :)

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  12. Amazing view! Wow does the afternoon tea look delicious and who could say no to a free glass of bubbly?!

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  13. Great pictures! What camera do you use? Love the blog btw :)

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    1. Most the photos in my blog posts from last year were taken with a Panasonic Lumix which is a fantastic little point and shoot camera! The photos in this post were taken with my new Nikon 3200 :)

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  14. Ooh that afternoon tea looks fantastic! It is a shame about the scones, but when everything else is really good it does kind of make up for it. So pleased that the waiter was so lovely about topping up your prosecco too. Never normally think about doing afternoon tea in London, but I might have to start!

    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench

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    1. You really must, there are some fantastic ones! From really expensive ones in beautiful luxury hotels to cheaper quirkier ones - you can find some bargains!

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  15. You must have a head for heights! It's fab that you managed to pick out your old office building but I can't believe the price of the tickets! At least you got a free glass of bubbly with them in the end. The afternoon tea looks nice despite the scones and I love the look of the macaroons! I still haven't tried a proper one, we're a bit behind in little old Carlisle!

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    1. I'm definitely not too bad with heights, I love a good view!

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  16. I'd love to go up the shard but like you say it is so expensive! :(

    Ooh that afternoon tea looks lovely!

    www.gingerbreadsmiles.co.uk
    xox

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    1. When I first found out the ticket price I was so shocked!

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  17. I definitely want to do this, one day. Considering last year was the first time I visited London, it's on my list for my return visit - the view look spectacular!
    Donna xx

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  18. Ooooh that tea looks lush! It's going on my list of places. £18 is a bargain :D

    Gary and I did the Shard for our 3rd date and it was beautiful, such an incredible view!!! xx

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

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  19. i'm so glad you had a generally good experience - i still haven't been, as i know it can be so hit and miss with the weather! x

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  20. £18 is good for afternoon tea! I am acting like a typical Londoner with the shard and I am taking it for granted. Stunning photos! xx

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