Tuesday, 16 July 2013

View from The Shard

At £25 a ticket you've got to be serious about going up to the top of The Shard.  I bought papa penguin two tickets for his 30th birthday back in March (in the hope that he would take me) as during construction he became a little bit obsessed with the building. We used to live in Wimbledon and often drove through London in the evenings or at weekends when visiting friends the other side.  Even though he occassionally works in the city and saw it regularly, in the car he still had to be the first person to spot it!  We even took a picture of toddler penguin when he was 11 months old with the construction of The Shard in the background.

Papa penguin was over the moon with his present but his birthday being in March and all the rubbish weather meant that we we put off buying the actually tickets until we could guarantee good weather. Luckily Monday was a lovely day (bit too hot in my opinion but I won't complain!

We met with some friends who also had tickets at the Starbucks just outside the entrance and then ventured in.  Booking online is the best option however as mentioned above £25 is quite a lot and also you have to pay for children once they turn four years of age.  They had a lift for pushchair/wheelchair users so it was easily accessible however we were asked to leave our pushchair behind the desk in a little area designated for buggy storage.  We were given a ticket for the buggy then set off towards the lift.  We didn't have to queue at all and the staff were all really friendly.  It took 6 seconds to get to the 33rd floor then we changed lifts and continued up to the 68th. The speed at which the elevators travel surely make your ears go pop.  I found out that the staff take it in turns and only on lift duty for an hour at a time. The views from the 68th floor were impressive so even though the same at the 72nd floor you are outdoors and the breeziness of the fresh air among the London smog is refreshing.

You are not limited to time once you are up there you just book a turn up slot. They could do with some seating as carrying baby penguin around for over half an hour and particularly in that heat really wore me out.  Still as you can see from the photo above the kids got to sit down. I absolutely love the one of toddler penguin sitting on a window ledge looking out the glass window.  Kids just have no fear!

Now the only downside of the View from The Shard (apart from the price) is the disgusting River Thames.  It is brown and ugly and although I'm not sure what but something needs to be done about it!

On our way out we couldn't help but stop at the gift shop.  Lots of goodies and souvenirs to choose from.  You also get your photo taken on your way in.  We chose to buy one of our pictures and pay extra for it to be leather bound and be emailed a copy.  Picture quality is great but over 24 hours later I'm still waiting for the email...

Overall splashing out for tickets would be great for a special occasion and not just something to do.  It would be disappointing if the weather was bad or really cloudy as you wouldn't see much for your money at all. Looking in to the future we might go back again but not this decade. Still add it to your bucket list.

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