Did You Know? Top Facts About The Shard

By Vanessa Teo

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.

Experience everything London has to offer with The London Pass®

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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Top Ten Best Views In London

Get your camera ready because we've got the ultimate guide to the top spots with the best views in London! There are so many ways for you to view and appreciate London, whether that be a panoramic bird’s eye view from a romantic restaurant or bar, a scenic hilltop, or from some of the best London attractions and landmarks. There’s a variety of options available to you, so whether you’re a photography enthusiast or you simply want to take casual snap happy photos to share with your friends and family on Instagram, we have put together a list of our favourite London hotspots. Primrose Hill Featuring in many romantic comedies, if you haven’t yet paid a visit it’s likely you’re already familiar with the iconic spot that looks down upon the city. Despite having to climb the hill to get to the prime spot, it is more than worth it when you can sit and enjoy the panoramic view of the London skyline. After a day of exploring the hustle and bustle of the city, grab some picnic food and make your way up to the top, the view is the perfect sunset backdrop. Insider tip: The London Zoo is right at the bottom of the hill just on the top corner of Regents Park, why not make a day of it while you’re in the area and stop off there with the family? It’s free for all London Pass holders. Tower Bridge - The Glass Floor Get a spectacular bird’s eye view of the bustling city below, capture London life from 42 meters above the River Thames by looking through the glass floor, if you’re lucky enough you may even get the chance to watch the bascules rise from beneath your feet! This is a unique perspective of the city and is a great opportunity to get some once in a lifetime photos. Insider Tip: London Pass holders can get fast track entry to the Tower Bridge Exhibition, time to get that VIP feeling. Thames River Boat Cruise A Thames River Cruise is a great way to witness London’s most famous riverside attractions and sights. Whether you decide to jump up on the top deck for an open-air experience, depending on the London weather of course, or head on down to the lower saloons where you’re encompassed by panoramic windows, you’ll be exposed to the best views of London. Have your cameras at the ready, as you’ll be meandering past some of the oldest and most impressive buildings and landmarks, such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, Houses of Parliament and much more. The London River Cruise is the best way to experience multiple views of the city from the relaxing comfort of the all-weather boats. Insider tip: With the London Pass you can enjoy the hop on hop off Thames River Boat Cruise for free. King Henry’s Mound Situated on the highest peak in Richmond Park is King Henry’s mound, not only is the park a London suburb that needs to be visited in its own right, but this little spot provides an uninterrupted view straight back into central London. The telescope acts as a porthole pointing directly at St Paul’s Cathedral, the view has been preserved with the help of a tree-framed sightline from the mound, framing the dome perfectly. The iconic view has been protected, so buildings aren’t allowed to obstruct it. Insider tip: Seeing as you’re in the area, why not have a short walk over to Kew Gardens, all London Pass holders can enter for free. The Shard – The View from the Top You can’t visit London and not experience London’s highest vantage point in the city, right? The Shard is one of London’s most premium attractions and newest landmarks, the view from the top enables you to see as far as 40 miles away. What better way to view the whole of the city in all its glory. Insider tip: Be sure to plan ahead, the best times to go are either early morning for sunset or later at sunrise. That way you’ll get some exceptionally stunning photos of the London skyline, the perfect way to make your friends and family that little bit more jealous that they aren’t there with you! Free entry to The View from The Shard for London Pass holders! Emirates Air Line Not only is the Emirates Air Line cable car a method of transport to get to and from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks, but it offers stunning views of the river Thames, an undisturbed view of the O2 Arena and surrounding areas as you glide steadily across the river... giving you enough time to get those selfies in of course. Please note: For the ultimate convenience factor you can use your Oyster card to pay for the trip. Insider tip: Seeing as you’re in the area why not use your London Pass and get into the Greenwich Royal Observatory for free. Greenwich Park – The Point If you’re looking for one of the best natural views of the city then the point in Greenwich is the place to head. The Royal Park provides naturally beautiful views across the curving river to the city, stunning greenery juxtaposed up against the cities architecture provides you with an endless array of photo opportunities. London Eye Come and visit the most iconic London attraction to not only witness the London skyline but to become a part of it. Jump into one of the pods and slowly become more and more exposed to the sights you know and love, including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Shard, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and much more. The giant Ferris wheel provides you with a recognizable view across London, the perfect backdrop to a romantic selfie or two. Sky Garden Submerse yourself in an exquisite makeshift garden that towers above the bustle of the city below, settle in and enjoy a spot of lunch or take advantage of the bar whilst you enjoy the London Skyline as the perfect backdrop. If you’re looking for a bar with a view in London then this isn’t one to miss. Tate Modern Viewing Tower The Tate Modern viewing level is a must-do when visiting London, not only for the art exhibitions and events, but at the top of the Blavatnik Building you’ll find an open-air terrace, boasting stunning views of the London Skyline. As you walk around the terrace you’ll be exposed to a 360-degree view looking directly over the Thames and the Millennium Bridge, on a clear day you can see as far as Canary Wharf and Wembley. The pièce de résistance is that you come face to face with St Paul’s Cathedral, with a clear, unobstructed view it is one of the best spots to snap London’s most iconic historical landmark. Insider tip: Fancy making the most out of your time at the Tate Modern? The London Pass offers a free audio guide for all London Pass holders.
Vanessa Teo

The Top Royal Weddings from History

With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's highly-anticipated royal wedding coming up on 19 May, it's easy to see why the world is gripped by wedding fever. We've decided to take a trip down memory lane and learn more about some of the most iconic royal weddings. From Lady Diana Spencer's wedding to her son Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2011 nuptials, check out our guide to some of the best royal weddings from history Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly Where: Palace of Monaco When: 18 April 1956 It sounds like something straight out of a 50s Hollywood movie - American actress Grace Kelly was swept off her feet by Prince Rainier of Monaco and they were married just eight months later. Grace Kelly was a vision in vintage lace and silk, wearing a dress that took MGM costume designers over six weeks to craft, and they were married by the Bishop of Monaco at St Nicholas Cathedral. Instead of opting for a horse-drawn carriage like their British royal counterparts, they decided to hop in a convertible Rolls Royce to greet the public as newlyweds. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Where: Westminster Abbey When: November 1947 Netflix aficionados and fans of The Crown, this one goes out to you. Queen Elizabeth - who was actually a princess at the time - married her distant cousin Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are said to have received over 2500 gifts, as well as 10000 global telegrams. While everything went smoothly at the ceremony, Elizabeth actually snapped her tiara right before the wedding and the royal jeweller had to be called in to fix it at the last minute. Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong Jones Where: Westminster Abbey When: May 1960 Although Princess Margaret and Captain Peter Townsend's affair is now heavily romanticised, it’s Margaret’s wedding that changed everything. It was the first ever televised wedding, drawing millions of eyeballs to her nuptials around the world, and public interest was at an all time high given that she was marrying a non-royal named Anthony Armstrong Jones, a photographer. Dressed in what was once hailed the ‘simplest royal wedding gown in history’, the marriage unfortunately didn’t last. Prince William and Kate Middleton Where: Westminster Abbey When: April 2011 When Prince William and his university sweetheart Kate Middleton were married, all of London came to a standstill. The couple were married in Westminster Abbey and it was just as grand as you'd expect it to be, complete with a royal procession, A-list celebrities and an uncharacteristically joyful Queen Elizabeth. The sight of Kate Middleton sweeping past in her unforgettable lacy Alexander McQueen dress launched the wedding dreams of thousand young women, forever setting the bar for wedding dress fashion. After the ceremony, the couple retired to Buckingham Palace and many of the day's most iconic photographs were snapped as they stepped out onto one of its balconies to wave at the public. Diana Spencer and Prince Charles Where: St Paul's Cathedral When: July 1981 Although Diana and Charles didn't have the happiest of marriages, their wedding day was a landmark occasion. They were married in St Paul's Cathedral in a traditional and was widely hailed as 'the wedding of the century', attracting over one billion viewers across the world. While the wedding was largely traditional, one major change the couple made was a massive step forwards: they both decided to remove the word 'obey' from Diana's vows, breaking with tradition. The couple were married for over a decade, then separated in 1992 before their divorce was finalised in 1996. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Where: Windsor Castle When: May 2018 Although this wedding hasn't happened yet, we're betting it's going to go down in history. There's a lot of excitement for Harry and Meghan's nuptials as Harry is largely viewed as one of the most progressive members of the royal family, setting an example for the modern monarchy. They will be married in Windsor Castle in May and are expected to attract an eclectic crowd, from politicians through to Meghan's own Hollywood friends. Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock Where: Monaco Palace When: 2011 Kate and Will weren’t the only royals to captivate the primetime. In the same year, Prince Albert II of Monaco married Olympian Charlene Wittstock (who was rumoured to have tried to run away a few days before the wedding). Luckily, she stuck around to marry her beau in a three day shindig that cost a jaw-dropping $70 million and attracted the likes of Naomi Campbell. Did we mention they paid for The Eagles to perform? King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Jetsum Pema Where: Bhutan When: 2011 Another 2011 marriage (was something in the water?), this time on the other side of the world. King Jigme, also known as Bhutan’s Dragon King, married Jestun Pema in a lavish three day ceremony that featured performances by over 500 people spanning several hours. His wife took to the spotlight well, signing autographs after the nuptials, and the King seemed smitten and said: ‘It doesn’t matter when you get married, as long as it is to the right person. I am certain I am married to the right person.’ Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and Crown Princess Salama Where: Abu Dhabi When: 1981 Go big or go home appears to be something Sheikh Mohammed really took to heart. The royal really splashed out on his ceremony and even built a 20,000 seat stadium specifically to host the seven days of celebrations, costing a lavish $100,000. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Where: Chapel Royal, St James’ Palace When: 1840 Casting our minds way back to the 1840s, Queen Victoria’s wedding to her cousin Prince Albert was an absolute trend-setter. Rather than the colourful wedding dresses that were the norm at the time, she broke with tradition and opted for a big white dress, paired with a lace veil and orange blossom hair accessory. Sound familiar? Well, her wedding had such an impact that she wound up kickstarting the whole wedding white dress tradition.
Megan Hills

Flash Sale: 30% Off + Win Tickets to The Lion King Musical

Complement the ultimate sightseeing experience with an award-winning show. When you place an order between 00.01 January 26th to 23.59 January 31st, you’ll get an incredible 30% off the price of your pass and be automatically entered into a giveaway. If you win, you and a friend will get to watch Disney’s award-winning show, The Lion King, in London’s iconic West End. What is The London Pass? The London Pass is a sightseeing pass that gives you complete access to over 80+ attractions, experiences and tours in the city. That means you can go to any included attraction without paying anything extra. For example, you can immerse yourself in London’s rich history at the Tower of London, enjoy Tower Bridge and end your day with a trip to the Shard – spot your hotel from the top! You’ll access all of these amazing experiences without reaching for your wallet once to pay for entry. And with a travel option also available, you’ll save money while enjoying a truly effortless sightseeing experience. How do I save money in London? The London Pass’ attraction page breaks down the savings you’ll make on city attractions – opt for the Oyster card to save you time on having to buy one when you arrive. With 30% off during our flash sale, you’ll enjoy even more money off that can be put towards experiencing the city. Once you purchase your pass, you’ll also enjoy offers on shows, dining and other great experiences in the city. Download The London Pass app and it’ll flag up money-saving opportunities (while generally being a pretty savvy tour guide in your pocket). Could The London Pass get any better? Yes. Yes, it can. Because when you buy before the 31st you’ll also be automatically entered into our giveaway to be in with a chance of winning two tickets to watch Disney’s The Lion King in London’s bustling West End – home to a dazzling array of shops, some of the best restaurants in the world and, of course, its globally hailed theatre district. What’s The Lion King show about (no spoilers)? Set in the Pride Lands of Africa, the story follows the lion prince Simba’s journey from cub to maturity. This musical adaptation of Hamlet has won global acclaim for its ingenious use of human-driven, choreographed props, stunning set pieces and the original, evocative score many of us know and love from the original film. Catching this multi-award-winning show during your trip is sure to make it one to remember.
Suz Pathmanathan

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