London westminster abbey fascade

Visiting Westminster Abbey

Posted by & filed under London.

This post is an overview of Westminster Abbey tours, with tips on how to get here, when to come as well as tips for discounts tickets, including how to get in for free!   Click here to obtain the entrance ticket and audio guide.

 

 

TIP: Full access to Westminster Abbey is free with the purchase of the London Pass.  There are also other combo tickets offered by bus companies that will provide you discounts.  Read our full post that compares the various tourist attraction discount passes

 


Be sure to check out our tour of Westminster!


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Changing of the Guard Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Posted by & filed under London.

This post tells you everything you need to know about witnessing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, when to arrive, finding the best spots, as well as explaining all aspects of the event. 

 

 

Viewing the Changing of the Guard is free.  For more ways to save, read our Guide to London on a Budget.  Also, be sure to read our post on how to visit the Crown Jewels. Read more »

London shard

How to See the View from the Shard

Posted by & filed under London.

This post covers how to visit the Shard, London’s tallest observation deck, including tips on choosing the best time to visit, ticket prices, operational hours, and how to get there. Or you can simply purchase open-time, refundable tickets here.

 

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

This section covers things you may want to consider, such as the best time to visit and how long to linger (just below), security, and directions to the attraction.

NOTE: The View from the Shard will be closed during the entirety of June 2018. Please keep this in mind before purchasing tickets.


Best Time to Visit

Several visitors indicate that any time is a good time to see the view from the Shard, but there are times when this attraction can get pretty crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, it will be important to consider when to make your trip. The first factor to review is their opening hours.

Summer Hours

  • Daily from 10 am – 10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)

Winter Hours

  • Thu-Sat from 10 am – 10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)
  • Sun-Wed from 10 am – 7 pm (last entry at 6 pm)

Many guests try to visit the Shard during sunset so that they can get a really great view of London as the lights begin to turn on below. As a result, the hours of 4 pm – 6 pm can be a pretty busy time to visit, but it is also highly recommended for those who don’t mind the crowds.

Whether or not you choose to come during the sunset hours, make sure to find out when the sun sets before visiting.

 

The least busy times for View From The Shard. Image Source: Google.
 

As with most of the big attractions in this city, you can expect the Shard to be less crowded during the morning and evening hours.

Several reviewers, though, indicate that a trip at night isn’t the best option because it can be more difficult to see all of the landmarks after dark. Considering this, we recommend planning your trip between 10 am – 2 pm for a more quiet experience.

This location is very popular during weekends, so it will be important to consider a weekday trip instead if you can.

 

These are the most popular times to visit the View From The Shard. Image Source: Google.
 

However, if you can only make it on the weekend, then we recommend avoiding the hours of 2 pm until 7 pm, particularly on Saturdays.

Tickets for this observation deck are timed, but you are welcome to stay as long as you wish. All visitors will be required to pass through a security check before heading to the top, so we recommend purchasing tickets for at least 30 minutes before the time that you actually want to enjoy the view.

Visitors recommend preparing to spend at least 1 hour at the Shard, but you may want to set aside at least 2 hours if you plan on relaxing here or maybe eat at one of the many restaurants.

If you’re looking to get tickets, there are several tourist passes and combo tickets which offer discounts on admission to View from the Shard. You can also save 20% simply by ordering your tickets ahead of time.

For more information on these savings, check out our sections on ticket details and discount & combo deals.


Security Information

As with most popular attractions, there are certain items that will not be allowed at the Shard. Confiscated items may not be returned after your visit, so try not to bring any of these things with you. In addition to obvious items such as weapons, the following objects are also prohibited:

  • Food/Drink
  • Pushchairs
  • Large Bags
  • Large Photographic Equipment

For tips on where to store your prohibited items inexpensively, check out our post on luggage storage

You are welcome to bring the following items:

  • Small cameras
  • Smartphones
  • Service Animals

Only food and drinks that are purchased at the Shard are allowed to be consumed on the premises. Although pushchairs are not allowed on the observation deck, there is an area to store them during your visit.

Wheelchairs are available on loan for disabled visitors who need them. Alternatively, chairs may also be provided to guests with medical concerns. No smoking of any kind is allowed inside the building. Phones and other devices must be kept as quiet as possible to ensure that other visitors are not disturbed. Guide dogs will be provided with a water bowl if requested.

How to Get Here

The Shard is located in Southwark, on the southern bank of the Thames.  The closest London Underground station is London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines).  It’s also just across the London Bridge from Monument (Circle and District lines).  We recommend using this link for directions to the Shard from anywhere in the London region.

 

Where is the Shard in London
TIP: If you plan on taking a bus tour, it’s important to note that several hop-on-hop-off bus services make stops near London Bridge and the Shard. This could be a great way to save money on transportation to and from the building.

Due to its relatively central location, the Shard is located nearby several popular London attractions including:

 


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TICKETS AND DISCOUNTS

Visitors who want to see the View from the Shard will be required to purchase timed tickets. Although you must arrive at the time specified on your ticket, you are allowed to stay as long as you wish. It is highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance, as you can save 20% per person.
The Shard from below. Image Source: Pixabay user rmac8oppo under CC0 Creative Commons license.

  • Advance Tickets: £24.95/Adults | £19.95/Kids
  • On-the-Day Tickets: £30.95/Adults | £24.95/Kids
  • Family Tickets (2 Adults + 2 Kids)
    • £64.95/Advance | £79.95/On-the-Day
  • Champagne Experience
    • £35.95/Advance | £44.95/On-the-Day
  • Day & Night Ticket
    • Advance: £34.95/Adults | £29.95/Kids
    • On-the-Day: £40.95/Adults | £34.95/Kids
  • Private Guided Tour w/ Entry: £40.95
  • VR Experience: £10 extra per person
  • Disabled visitors can bring one care assistant for free
  • Click here to purchase your tickets.

Discounts & Combo Deals

There are a few different ways to save money on tickets to see the Shard. These discounts are particularly helpful if you plan on doing several things while in London. Click here for more information about London tourist passes.

Tourist PassesiVenture Card

Several attraction passes offer discounts for the View from the Shard. Tourists may want to consider this option if they plan on seeing more than just one landmark while visiting London.

You can save 20% or more on tickets to the Shard by using either the iVenture Card or the London City Pass.

Alternatively, visitors who use the London Pass can get 2 glasses of champagne for £20 at the Skydeck bar and 20% off at the gift shop. 

Click here for more information about London tourist passes.

TIP: The Shard is very close to sites such as London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Admission and events at each location are included with these tourist passes.


Viator

If you’re interested in the Champagne Experience, Viator has an excellent deal. They offer this specialty ticket for only £25.49, which is a discount of over £10. This is almost 30% off the original ticket price and is close to the same price as a regular ticket.

If you plan on getting a drink at the bar, save yourself some money and purchase your ticket here instead.

The Original London Tour

The Original London Bus tour can be combined with several different attractions including The Shard. This combo ticket will only cost £58.95 per person and it includes the champagne experience and a free hop-on, hop-off bus tour around London. Alternatively, you can also get just the bus tour and ticket to View From the Shard for only £49.95.

+++Don’t forget to check out our pay-what-you-like walking tours of London!+++

 


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WHAT TO EXPECT

The View from the Shard is a fairly new observation deck which provides wonderful views of London. In addition to an indoor platform, they also have an open-air Skydeck which ensures unobstructed views of the city.

Visitors looking for more can also take a private guided tour, enjoy a silent disco or take advantage of a virtual reality experience. Professional photos are also available for those who want to commemorate their trip.

When you arrive at the Shard, you will need to make your way to the booking hall on Level 1. This is where ticketing will take place and you will be required to pass through a security checkpoint. Although there can sometimes be a line for this, most visitors report that it isn’t usually a problem.

After making your way through security, you can go straight up to the first viewing deck. Level 69 is the indoor viewing deck at The Shard.

If you want unobstructed views, make your way up to the Skydeck on Level 72. The top observation deck is approximately 244 meters (800 ft) high, nearly 90 meters (295 ft) higher than the Sky Garden. Visitors can purchase food and drink at the Skydeck bar.

Pick up souvenirs at the gift shop located on Level 68.

TIP: If you want to enjoy a drink with your view, consider visiting the Oblix bar on Level 32 instead. You can ask for a seat near the window and enjoy the views from above while sipping on a cocktail. There is no admission price for this bar.


Enhance Your Experience

The ground floor of the Shard. Image Source: Pixabay user Jacshenderson under CCO Creative Commons license.While you’re at the Shard, you’ll have a few different opportunities to upgrade your ticket. This is an excellent idea if you plan on doing more than just enjoying the view. Make sure to check our ticket prices section for information on the cost of these additional options.

Virtual Reality Experience 

The View from the Shard offers two VR experiences for visitors on the open air deck. ‘Vertigo’ will let you test your balancing skills while ‘The Slide’ will have you moving at up to 100 mph.

Private Guided Tour 

Receive a special 45-minute tour of the Shard and London below for between 2-6 visitors. This is a great way to discover the city from a different perspective.

Champagne Experience 

Enjoy a glass of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne as you take in the fantastic view. An excellent alternative is to get a drink of your choice at the Skydeck bar.

Day & Night Ticket 

See the View from the Shard during both day and night at a discounted price. These tickets must be used in one day and you must wait at least 2 hours between each visit.

 


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WHY CHOOSE THE SHARD?

There are several ways to get a good view of London, and many tourists are curious about whether or not a visit to the Shard is worth the price of admission. With that in mind, let’s discuss a few reasons why you might want to consider this observation deck. We’ll also provide a few alternatives for visitors who aren’t entirely sold on the attraction.

Highest Observation Deck 

The View from the Shard is higher than any other observation deck in London. The top observation deck is approximately 84 meters (275 ft) higher than the Sky Garden (which is free by the way).

If you’re looking to get the best view of London from above, the Shard is your best option.

Additional Activities

In addition to both the closed deck and the open air deck at the Shard, you can also check out their VR Experience or take a private guided tour. Some of the alternative options for a view won’t have the same opportunities.

Dinner With a View 

Did you know you can see London from the Shard without paying to visit the observation deck? They have several restaurants and bars which offer a similar view. If you’re planning on a special dinner with your significant other, this is a great option.

Check out our posts on restaurants with a view and bars with a view in London. Alternatively, you can also enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants/bars found at the Sky Garden.

Not The Only Option 

If you want to see the city from above, the Shard isn’t your only option. Although it isn’t as high, you can also visit the Monument for only £4 per person. This location also has the advantage of being somewhat historic. You can also visit the Sky Garden for free.

 


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RESTAURANTS AT THE SHARD

If you’d rather enjoy the view while having a nice meal or a creative drink, there are a total of five restaurants at the Shard to consider.

Aqua Shard – Located on the 31st floor, this restaurant provides a nice view of the city below and a three-story high atrium bar. Although tables must be reserved, no reservation is required to visit the bar.

Oblix – This restaurant on the 32nd floor offers different experiences depending on which side you visit. The west side offers a unique urban dining experience while the east side includes a lounge with DJs and live music. The east side of Oblix is also where you will find the bar which does not require reservations.

Hutong – You’ll find this restaurant on the 33rd floor. Hutong serves authentic and creative takes on classic Chinese cuisine. You will be required to reserve a table for this location, but you can visit their Shanghai bar without making a reservation.

TĪNG – Found 128 meters above ground level, this restaurant and lounge offers British cuisine with an Asian twist. They also provide a theatrical approach to afternoon tea with an impressive selection of over 30 different types of tea.

GŎNG – Situated on the 52nd floor, this is the highest hotel bar in all of Western Europe. The Director’s Cut drink menu includes a selection of special concoctions inspired by the greatest film directors of all time. Both reservations and walk-ins are welcome, but seating is subject to availability.

 


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London Bus Main Image

Best London Hop On, Hop Off Buses and More

Posted by & filed under London.

This post compares and reviews the various London bus tours, including hop-on-hop-off and night bus tours, bus trips outside of London as well as do it yourself options.  A bus tour can be a great compliment to our free walking tours.

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Visiting London with Kids

Posted by & filed under London.

London is the perfect venue for a family visit. There are many options to keep the young, and young at heart, interested, educated and having a great time. Because some of the most popular attractions among the young ones (and adults too) are a bit pricey, we include tips and advice on how to get discounts or even pay nothing at all!  Many of our pay-what-you-wish tours are suitable for children, especially our food tours – they gobble them right up! 

Also, since you will likely be taking the Tube, take a look at our post about Navigating the London Underground. Did you know that children under 11 can travel FREE with a ticket holding adult? 

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London Night Tours

What to Do In London At Night

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This post covers things to do in London at night, including a top 10 list, as well as free things to do, family-friendly fun and what is going on tonight. This post also gives ideas for late night museums and art galleries and of course nightlife.   

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London Fish and Chips

Best Fish and Chips in London

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Ahhh, the great British tradition of fish and chips. As tour guides (and hungry Londoners) if we get one question more than any other, it has to be “where is the best fish and chips in London?” This is a question that we all enjoy getting – and the query that we love researching! The ever-increasing popularity of this classic dish is why we have compiled the most comprehensive guide to London’s fish and chips that has ever been written!

In the post below we are going to tell you absolutely everything you need to know about fish and chips. Starting with their storied past, we’ll then tell you exactly what you can expect on a fish and chips plate, and finish with a list of the best – and most unusual- places in London to eat this truly British classic. By the time you’ve finished this post, you’ll be a true expert and know how to find the most delicious, affordable and authentic fish and chips that London has to offer.

Top 5 Fish & Chips in London

What to put on Fish & Chips

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Guide to a London Tower – Tickets and Tours

Posted by & filed under London.

This post covers how to visit the Tower of London, including tips on tickets, discounts as well as an overview of what you could see.   You can skip this post and purchase tickets to the Tower of London and Crown Jewels here.

 

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