Planning a Visit to London's The Shard

London is a city that boasts a whole array of iconic landmarks, and one of the most striking is The Shard. This architectural marvel is a must-visit attraction for locals and tourists alike.

In this article, we’ll share all the information you need to plan a visit to The Shard, from its location to the best activities and dining options when you get there.

What is The Shard?

A view of the Shard from below against a blue sky
The Shard is a towering skyscraper that has redefined the London skyline since its completion in 2012. This impressive structure stands at 310 metres (1,016 feet), making it the tallest building in the United Kingdom.

It stands alone in a relatively low-rise part of town, as most of London’s skyscrapers are in the financial quarter.

Italian architect Renzo Piano, famous for the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York City, designed the building. It has 72 floors comprising working offices, the luxurious Shangri-La hotel, and an array of restaurants.

Where is The Shard?

The Shard is located in the London Bridge area, making it easily accessible from various parts of the city.

Nearest tube station to The Shard

The nearest tube station to The Shard is London Bridge. The Jubilee and Northern lines serve this station. At the exit, follow the signs that say ‘The Shard’ or ‘Joiner Street’.

Nearest train station to The Shard

If you're arriving by train, the nearest station to The Shard is London Bridge Railway Station. This station connects you to various parts of the city and beyond and is within walking distance of the building.

What to do at The Shard

Woman looking at the sunset view of London's skyline from The Shard
Most people head to The Shard for the fantastic views, but that’s not all the attraction offers. You can also enjoy its many restaurants and bars or even stay the night in its luxury hotel.

Admire the views

The Shard is home to The View from the Shard, London's highest viewing platform. These are on floors 68, 69, and 72. Don’t worry, there’s a lift! It takes a mere 60 seconds to get to the top.

From here, you’ll have epic panoramic views of the city and witness famous landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the London Eye, and more. On clear days, you can see for up to 40 miles into the distance.

If you’re willing to brave the elements, the 72nd-floor observation deck is outdoors. Here, you can feel the breeze on your face and know that the only thing higher is the sky itself.

Enjoy a delicious meal or tipple

Once you've finished checking out the views, the Shard’s restaurants and bars are well worth a visit.

Dining in the Shard is also a good way to visit the Shard in London for free. You’ll be paying for your food and drink, of course. But you won’t have to buy a ticket to enter the building.

On the ground floor of The Shard, you’ll find Bar 31. This is a friendly spot next to London Bridge station where you can enjoy light bites and a convivial atmosphere.

For sophisticated urban casual dining, head to Oblix, which takes inspiration from the New York skyline. The Sky Lounge is another place to refuel and relax on the 34th floor.

Aqua Shard, on the 31st floor, serves contemporary British cuisine and is a great place for dinner or a late lunch. It’s also an excellent option if you’re looking for afternoon tea at the Shard, London.

If you’re keen on Asian food, you’ll be spoilt for choice. On level 33, you’ll find Hutong. This fine dining restaurant serves the delicious and diverse cuisines of Northern China with beautiful traditional interiors. TING Lounge, on floor 34, serves seasonal modern British cuisine with an Asian twist.

On the 52nd floor, there’s a cocktail bar called GŎNG. It’s the highest hotel bar in London and offers the perfect location for sunset and late-night cocktails with a view.

Stay the night

For those searching for a spot of opulence, why not book a stay in the Shard’s London hotel? Starting on level 34, the elegant Shangri-La occupies 18 floors of the skyscraper and is guaranteed to impress.

Its 202 rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, offering spectacular city views. The 17 extra-special suites are among the finest in the city and even come with personal butler service. Guests can also enjoy London’s highest hotel infinity pool.

Getting tickets to The Shard

View of South London from The Shard at night
To enjoy the views from The Shard, you'll need to book tickets. Various options are available, including standard admission and packages that combine entrance with other experiences in London.

Standard London’s The Shard tickets include time slot access to the viewing galleries on levels 68, 69, and 72, a panoramic guide, and four digital photos from your visit. You can also add a glass of champagne for £16 per person.

If you’re concerned about the fickle British weather, fear not. All tickets are covered under the ‘View Guarantee’. If you can’t see at least three of the five London landmarks due to low visibility, you’ll get a complimentary return voucher, which remains valid for at least 3 months.

Start planning your trip to the Shard today

Ready to visit The Shard? Get started by booking your train to London. There are plenty of ways to save on your tickets when you travel with Avanti.

Booking in advance is the best way to get a good discount, and it’ll guarantee you a seat on the train. You can also save by purchasing a Railcard. This can sometimes get you up to 50% off the original price.

Travelling at off-peak times is another sure-fire way to reduce the cost of your fare.

If you bring the whole family, you can purchase family or child tickets. Families of two to five people can save up to 60% on rail tickets. With a child ticket, you can save 50% on their travel.

London Euston Station