Piercing the sky like a gigantic shard of glass, the London Shard is every bit as spectacular as it sounds. This architectural wonder, designed by Renzo Piano, is not only one of the city’s most iconic structures—it also boasts the highest observation deck in London.
For most visitors, the star attraction is the view from The Shard’s open-air Skydeck, which affords a spectacular vista of London landmarks such as the Tower of London, Big Ben, the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and even (on a clear day) the distant Windsor Castle. Visitors can opt for a day or evening visit, splurge to add Champagne, or combine skip-the-line entrance with a ride on the London Eye, a sightseeing cruise along the River Thames, or a walking tour of Central London.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visits are timed, so it’s best to book ahead.
- For security reasons, all guests are required to pass through metal detectors and have their bags scanned before entering the building.
- Free Wi-Fi is available on-site.
- The Shard is fully wheelchair accessible and concession tickets are available.
How to Get to The Shard
The Shard is located in Southwark in central London, a short stroll from the London Bridge and Borough Market. The closest tube station is London Bridge, served by the Jubilee and Northern lines.
When to Get There
The Shard is open all year round, and thanks to the London Landmarks Guarantee—if you can’t spot at least three of the city’s top landmarks, you can revisit for free in better weather—there’s no bad time to visit. Those hoping to avoid the crowds are best off visiting outside of peak summer season or opting for an early morning weekday time slot. For the most atmospheric views, consider an evening visit to admire the illuminated London skyline.
The Shard by Numbers
Standing a dizzying 1,016 feet (309.6 meters) high, The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and features a shimmering façade made from some 11,000 panes of glass, with 44 lifts and 306 flights of stairs. At 800 feet (244 meters) high, the observation deck is twice as high as any other London viewpoint, and the 360-degree panoramic views stretch up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) away on a clear day.