The Shard London skyline

Did You Know? Top Facts About The Shard

Dominating the London skyline, The Shard is one of the most recognised buildings in the world.

Since opening in February 2013, The Shard has quickly become one of London's most popular attractions. The View from The Shard is the city's highest vantage point, with unparalleled panoramic views of the London skyline. But, do you know exactly how tall The Shard is? Or how many glass panels make up the exterior?

Read on to find out some of our favourite facts about The Shard.

View of The Shard and The Gherkin

What is The Shard?

The Shard is a 72-story skyscraper modelled after a shard of glass, located in Southwark, London. Designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, The Shard is part of The Shard Quarter development and has become one of London's most iconic landmarks since its completion. Visitors can enjoy 360-degree views of the city from the indoor viewing gallery on the 69th floor, or the open-air Skydeck on the 72nd floor.

How tall is The Shard?

The Shard is 306 metres tall. However, if you measure all the way up to the tip, it's 310 metres, easily making it Western Europe's tallest building. The viewing platform at The View from The Shard ascends to 244 metres, offering unparalleled views over London that stretch for up to 40 miles.

Is The Shard the tallest building in the world?

Now, if you were asking if The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, the answer would be yes. Alas, The Shard is not the tallest building in the world. It stands at an impressive height of 309.6 metres (1,016 feet).

But how does The Shard measure up to other tall buildings around the world? While it may not be the tallest building in the world (that honour goes to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at a towering 828 metres or 2,716 feet), The Shard still holds its own.

In fact, it is the fourth tallest building in Europe and the 96th tallest building in the world!

The Shard from below

How many glass pieces is The Shard made out of?

Seeing as The Shard was designed to represent a shard of glass, it's only natural that it's made of glass - 11,000 panels of it, to be precise. The total area of the glass facade adds up to 56,000 sq. metres, the equivalent of eight football pitches! 

What is The Shard designed to represent?

In addition to its impressive height, The Shard is also known for its unique design. The building features a distinctive glass facade that reflects the changing colours of the sky and surrounding cityscape, creating a stunning visual effect.

The Shard and London Skyline

What are the other names for The Shard?

The Shard wasn't always known by this name. It was previously called the London Bridge Tower. Nowadays, alternative names for the building are Shard of Glass and Shard London Bridge, but almost everyone refers to the structure as The Shard.

What's inside the Shard?

The View from The Shard is spread across the 68th, 69th and 72nd floors, featuring an indoor viewing gallery and interactive exhibits tell the story of the Shard's construction and design.

The open-air Skydeck on the 72nd floor features state-of-the-art telescopes that provide close-up views of the city's famous landmarks, including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London (not the same thing!), St. Paul's Cathedral, and the London Eye. Feel the wind in your hair and take in the sights and sounds of the city from above.

The Shard is also home to a variety of restaurants, bars, offices, and even a hotel, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike

How fast is the lift at The Shard?

The average lift speed in The Shard is 6 metres per second. This makes it a smooth and speedy journey to the top. You might even feel your ears pop! It's the same speed as the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock in New York.

Tower Bridge and The Shard in the London skyline

Who's Romeo the fox?

Back in 2011 while The Shard was under construction, a fox was found living on the 72nd floor. The animal, nicknamed Romeo by the staff, entered through one of the stairwells. He then made his way up the building, surviving on scraps of food left by the neighbouring buildings. It took the council two weeks to safely capture and release Romeo onto the streets of Bermondsey. 

Romeo is now a mascot of The Shard and miniature plush versions of him can be bought at the gift shop, with proceeds supporting a local charity.

Five quick-fire facts about The Shard in London

  1. The Shard stands at 309.6 metres tall and has 95 storeys, making it the tallest building in the UK and the fourth tallest in Europe.
  2. The Shard has 11,000 glass panels and 44 lifts. 
  3. The builders of the Shard were environmentally conscious, and 95% of the building materials used were recycled. 
  4. The Shard has its own combined heat and power plant (CHP) to meet the building's energy needs. 
  5. The Shard's public gallery, The View from The Shard, is located on the 72nd floor and offers unparalleled panoramas of London.

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So, whether you're looking to take in the breathtaking views from the observation deck, enjoy a meal at one of the building's many restaurants, or simply admire its striking architecture from afar, The Shard is definitely worth a stop on your London itinerary.

Planning your London trip? With The London Pass®, you can explore big-name landmarks, local hotspots and epic tours, all on one pass, all for one price. Not only that, but you'll enjoy savings of up to 50%, compared to buying individual attraction tickets.

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