How to See the View from the Shard
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.
Save up to 20% when you purchase tickets in advance!
- Tickets + Discounts
- Plan Your Visit
- What to Expect
- Why Choose the Shard?
- Things to Do in London
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 up to 20% per person. You also get “skip-the-line” privileges.
- Advance Tickets (get up to 20% off standard ticket prices)
- £27 Adults | £21 Children (age 4 – 15) | Free Infant (age 0- 3)
- Standard tickets
- £32 Adults | £21.25 Children (age 4 – 15) |Free Infant (age 0- 3)
- Disabled visitors can bring one care assistant for free
- Champagne Experience – Admission & glass of Champagne
- (must be age 16+)
- Day & Night Ticket – £12 extra per person
- VR Experience – £10 extra per person
- Private Guided Tour – £40.95
Here are some ways that can help you save money on your visit to the Shard.
Several tourist attraction passes offer discounts for 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.
Alternatively, visitors who use the London Pass can get free admission to 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.
If you’re interested in the Champagne Experience that includes admission to The View from the Shard and a glass of Champagne, Viator has an excellent deal.
They offer this specialty ticket for only £33.95, 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 offers a combo ticket that includes a hop-on, hop-off bus tour around London AND a ticket to the Shard.
By combining these attractions, you will save around 15% on the cost of your Shard tickets.
If you are in the UK’s Armed Forces, Emergency Services, or NHS, you can receive a discount if you have a Blue Light Card.
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.
++ Don’t forget to check out our pay-what-you-like walking tours of London! ++
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.
- Daily from 10 am – 10 pm (last entry at 9 pm)
- 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.
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 quieter experience.
This location is very popular during weekends, so it will be important to consider a weekday trip instead if you can.
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 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.
As with the 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:
- 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
- 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. 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.
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).
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 nearby several popular London attractions including:
- Tower Bridge
- Tower of London
- HMS Belfast
- Monument to the Great Fire
- Shakespeare’s Globe
- Tate Modern
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.
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 View provides a 360-degree view of London and there is no other structure in London even close to the height of the Shard, which means the views are clear, with no obstructions.
In fact, the top observation deck is approximately 244 meters (800 ft) high, nearly 90 meters (295 ft) higher than the Sky Garden – previously the highest public accessible viewing gallery in London. On a day with good weather, it’s possible to 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 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 make your way back down 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
Make sure to check our ticket prices section for information on the cost of these additional options.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not The Only Option
If you want to see the city from above, 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.
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.
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 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.