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Thursday August 15, 2013 by Marietjie Snyman

Elsa and I were treated to a visit to the Shard last Thursday by our boss Alex W (yes, isn’t she amazing!). We liked it so much that we wanted to share our experience with you all!

When we were told that we were going I think we both found it very hard not to jump up and down with excitement! And we were not left disappointed. With the excitement “building” we left our office in Shepherds Bush at around 4pm for the short journey there. On the tube Elsa and I had a laugh talking all the way, which looking back was probably a sign of nerves. Arriving at London Bridge, we exited the station to be greeted by…The mighty Shard.

For those of you that didn’t already know, the beast’s construction began in March 2009 with practical completion in November 2012. It was however, only opened to the public on the 1st of February 2013. Stands 310 metres high it’s currently the tallest building in the European Union.

Upon arrival we were met by a very welcome air conditioner (a unit that is). Ticket scanned for entry we were on our way. We were then shown through security but don’t confuse this with going through security at the airport. It all went very quickly and the staff were super efficient.

Typically we were then asked to pose and give a cheesy smile as the photographer snapped away! For those that have seen my Facebook page, they’ll know: this never ends well.

Anyway, next stop…the top!  So we’re ushered screaming towards a lift, with our first thoughts being: oh my gosh it’s really dark in here….


The doors then closed after us, trapping us in the tiny metal tube! …and we all caught ourselves staring at the lift usher for assurance. None forthcoming. The whole lift then lit up with images of falling leaves and scenery…kaleidoscopic lifts - very cool and a welcome relief!! The usher then explained: “we’re taking you all the way to the 33rd floor. From the 33rd floor you’ll take a second lift to the 68th floor.”


As you’re travelling heavenwards our ears both popped…and then we just knew! We’re sky high!

Getting out of the lift on the 68th floor we had one flight of stairs to climb before reaching the first viewing deck. As we stepped trembling onto the deck Elsa and I just looked at each other and smiled. The view takes your breath away. 360 degrees of London stretching 40miles! We didn’t know where to look first so we calmed ourselves and quietly started walking around the viewing deck taking photos and pointing out different landmarks to each other.

You then have the option to climb a further 3 flights of stairs to reach floor 72. At this point there was no hesitation; (yeah, right) Elsa and I wanted to go all the way! Reaching the 72th floor youexperience a breezefresh air and you can hear the sounds of London around you. We found ourselves staring down at people rushing around on the ground and just taking in the “craziness” of London and what was happening below us. Good times.

So it was time to descend…and once you’re back on the 68th floor you’re shown back into your“cannonball” lift carriages. As the lift started descending the lift usher turned to everyone in the lift and said:  “Did everyone enjoy your visit today? You’ve chosen the perfect day as we’ve had no rain so far”.

Reaching terra firma we actually felt disappointed that is was all over!  After a quick look in the gift shop we found the photos they’d taken when we arrived. You can guess the rest.


One thing worth mentioning is The Shard’s staff – they were so welcoming and friendly. On leaving we could see that they were treating every visitor with the same enthusiasm that they had done at 9am that morning.

We highly recommend visiting The Shard! It’s a truly unique experience.

Handy tips:

*Check the weather before booking (okay we know it’s unpredictable but its still worth checking)

*Book your ticket online – this avoids possible disappointment and queuing for a ticket.

*Take minimal items with you as this will insure going through security with no problems.

*If you are wary/terrified of heights – maybe stay downstairs and find a coffee shop while you wait for friends, Alex W.

For more information see: http://www.theviewfromtheshard.com/

Lastly, Thank You to our Boss, vertiginous Alex Wood – we truly enjoyed this treat, even though we know you wouldn’t!

Follow us on Twitter: @ElsaWangsten & @MarietjiePAS


Posted by Marietjie Snyman

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