How to Visit View From The Shard for Free

Updated: Februar 11, 2024
 By Margaret

This post covers how much it costs to visit The View from The Shard inside the tallest building in the U.K., including tips on how to save money on tickets and how to get "free" entry.

As a local tour guide and resident of London who has visited the city’s observation decks, I relied on my first-hand knowledge to write this post.

I've also included some opinions from members of our popular London Travel Tips Facebook group.

The group has over 160k members and comprises locals, frequent travelers to the UK, and first-time visitors to London.

You don't need to become a member to read the posts, comments, and recommendations.

So, check out our group once you've finished reading this post!


Tickets are not free but there are ways you can avoid paying full price to enjoy the views.

By going to one of the bars and restaurants in the Shard, you won't have to pay for tickets. You will, of course, be paying for food and/or drinks.

On select dates, the London Days Out program offers a Buy One, Get One Free deal, making the second ticket free.

Also, when you purchase a London Pass, you receive free admission to The View from The Shard.

See the “Ways to Save” section below.


A visit to the View from The Shard will be required to purchase timed tickets.

You must arrive at the time you choose, you can stay as long as you wish.

It is highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid missing out. You also get "skip-the-line" privileges.


Standard Tickets

  • Access to Indoor platforms (levels 68/69)
  • Access to open-air sky deck (level 72)
  • 4 digital photos
  • a panoramic guide
  • £28.50 per person (4 and up) | Free Infant (3 and under)
  • Note: Tickets are £4 more on Saturdays
  • Add a glass of Moet & Chandon champagne for £15
  • Purchase tickets here.


Here are some ways that can help you save money on your visit to The View from The Shard.

Tourist Passes

Several tourist attraction passes offer reduced-price options to visit The View from the Shard.

You might want to consider purchasing a tourist pass if you plan on seeing more than one attraction in London.

You can save 50% or more on tickets to The View from The Shard by using either the Go City London Explorer Pass or the London Turbo Pass.

Alternatively, visitors who use the London Pass can get free admission to The View from The Shard in addition to covering the costs of several extra activities and attractions like these:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Thames River Cruise
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • HMS Belfast
  • London Zoo
  • And more!

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.

Military Tickets

If you are in the UK's Armed Forces, Emergency Services, or NHS, you can receive reduced-price tickets if you have a Blue Light Card

Blue Light Card families also receive unlimited complimentary tea, coffee, and juice. You'll also enjoy family activities like face painting, balloon modeling, and more.

Combo Packages

Interested in more than one activity? Consider one of the following combo deals that can save you between 5% and 10%.

Offered combos change periodically but there are always great attractions to add on to your tickets to The View from The Shard.

Money-Saving Websites

There are a few different websites like Groupon that offer deals on local activities like View From The Shard.

In addition to any current deals, it sometimes offers an extra 10% - 25% off or more. Look at the top of the Groupon page to see if there are any additional sales.

Two for One Tickets

On select dates, you can get offers 2-for-1 tickets to over 150 top attractions, restaurants, theatres, exhibitions and more when you travel by train to London. 

This amazing money-saving program, London Days Out, is offered by Britsih Rail. You can learn more from our post on 2-for-1 ticket deals in London.

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


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

Of course, you'll be paying for food and/or drink, but entry to the Shard will be free. 

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 metres above ground level, this restaurant and lounge offer 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.


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

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.

Hours (times change seasonally)

  • June-August
    • Daily 10:00-22:00
  • September
    • Sundays-Thursday 12:00- 20:00; Fridays-Saturdays 10:00-22:00
  • October-March
    • Sundays-Thursday 11:00-19:00; Fridays-Saturdays 10:00-22:00
  • April- May
    • Sundays-Thursday, 13:00 - 21:00; Fridays-Saturdays 10:00-22:00

Many guests try to visit The View from The ShardShard during sunset so that they can get a fantastic 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, The View from The Shard is 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 11 am - 2 pm for a quieter 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.

We recommend purchasing tickets for at least 30 minutes before the time that you want to enjoy the view.

Visitors recommend preparing to spend at least 1 hour at The View from The Shard, but you may want to set aside at least 2 hours if you plan to relax or eat at one of the many restaurants.

If you’re looking to get tickets, there are several tourist passes and combo tickets that can save you money off tickets 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 ways to save money on tickets.

Security Information

As with the most popular attractions, some items are not allowed at The View from 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 View from 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. Guide dogs will be provided with a water bowl if requested.

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. 

NOTE: Guests are no longer required to wear a mask to enter the venue and they have been given the "Good to Go" badge by Visit England.

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, note that several hop-on-hop-off bus services make stops near London Bridge and the Shard.

This is a great way to save money on transportation to and from the building.

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


The Shard from below. Image Source: Pixabay user rmac8oppo under CC0 Creative Commons license.

When you arrive at The View from 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.

Once you have entered and passed through security, you will then be asked to take a photograph. This photo is taken against a 'green screen' and the photographer encourages guests to look excited or to point off into the distance.

These photos are then superimposed on a London skyline background and are available to purchase as you leave.

After photos, visitors are then directed down a long hallway - featuring a map of London underfoot - to the first lift.

This lift takes visitors to the 33rd floor where they disembark and are directed to a second lift that takes them up to the 69th floor, and the first viewing deck called The View.

The top observation deck is approximately 244 metres (800 ft) high, nearly 90 metres (295 ft) making it the second tallest viewing deck in London (second only to Horizon 22 which is only 10 metres higher).

Unlike other observation decks, The View from The Shard provides a 360-degree view of London without any obstructions. On a clear day, one can see up to 40 miles away!

If you want to explore further, make your way up to the open-air Skydeck on Level 72. This is a spectacular space that is open to the elements.

Here you are surrounded by the top-most glass panes of The View from The Shard and can look directly up into the sky. The Skydeck is also covered in fake grass, giving it a garden feel.

If you visit during a less-buy time, you will find many guests lounging on the grass, enjoying the view, as well as a few drinks.

On both levels, visitors can purchase food and drink at the bar. Prices are high (a glass of wine is over £10), however, so budget accordingly!

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.

Once you decide to leave, you simply reverse the process to return to the ground floor. There's a gift shop near the entrance and exit if you would like to purchase a souvenir.

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 View from 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.

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 (Not currently available)

Go to the View from the Shard during both day and night at a lower price than each would separately. These tickets must be used in one day and you must wait at least 2 hours between each visit.

Virtual Reality Experience (Not currently available)

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 (Not currently available)

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


There are several ways to get a good view of London, and many tourists are curious about whether or not a visit to The View from 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.

Second Highest Observation Deck 

The View from the Shard is higher than any other observation deck in London, but for Horizon 22 which is only 10 metres higher.

The top observation deck is approximately 84 metres (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 View from The Shard is your best option.

Additional Activities

In addition to both the closed deck and the open-air deck at The View from 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 View 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 for free or close to free, The View from The Shard isn’t your only option. You can also visit the Sky Garden for free.

Although it isn’t as high, you can also visit the Monument for only £5 per person. This location also has the advantage of being somewhat historic. 

Read about other places with great views of London.


Here are some thoughts on the View from the Shard from members of our London Travel Tips group on Facebook.

Overall, the comments were positive. 

One question that comes up a lot is one you may be wondering yourself. “How does the Shard compare to the London Eye and the Skygarden?” 

Opinions varied.

A few people were not impressed with the Shard.

Some members of our Facebook group had some tips to share to keep costs down.

For more thoughts on the Shard, take a look at our London Travel Tips Facebook group. You don't have to join the group to read posts and comments. 

You can search for advice on just about any London topic. Why not even ask some questions yourself?!


About The Author


An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: Februar 11th, 2024
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