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Published July 17th 2013
Visit the tallest building in Western Europe
As if London didn't already have enough iconic tourist attractions, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, Tower Bridge and the Gherkin to name a few, it now has another new urban masterpiece!
The story of the Shard began back in 2000 in a restaurant in Berlin where architect Renzo Piano sketched the first design on the back of a menu. However the journey to develop the Shard into the grand design it is today was not a smooth one. Government intervention and financial problems were just a few of the issues encountered along the way before this multi million pound structure formally opened on 5 July 2012. Complaints that this "eye-sore" would disrupt the views of other London landmarks, such as St Pauls Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster were many.
This building stands tall at 310m, making it the highest building in Western Europe. It is dwarfed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the 828m structure famed for being the tallest building in the world.
The Shard is a modern, glass skyscraper designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano which rises dramatically skywards above the scores of old, historic buildings of London. It is undeniably an incredible piece of work.
The Shard houses office space, a five-star hotel, the highest residential apartments in the UK, restaurants and public viewing galleries.
You couldn't possibly visit London without seeing the Shard. Even if you don't want to visit this attraction, its top is clearly visible from all over London.
You will feel a rush of exhilaration as the lifts whizz you up to the top of this spectacular building. The Shard has a total of 72 floors. It is claimed that from the top floor viewing platform you are able to see France on a clear day.
Looking down from the top of the Shard, London looks like a miniature town. The cars look like toys, the people look like ants scurrying around and the Thames looks like a little trickle that you could dip your big toe into.
View of Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf from the Shard
Love it or hate it, the Shard has undoubtedly claimed its place on the London skyline. It has also gained a stake in London's tourist industry. With the entry fee at £25 a ticket (£18 for children); it is sure to be a commercial magnet.
The Shard's Height Relative To Other Buildings:
The Shard - 310 metres;
The Pinnacle - 288 metres;
One Canada Square (Canary Wharf) - 235 metres;
Heron Tower - 230 metres;
The "Cheese Grater" - 225 metres;
30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin) - 180 metres;
The "Walkie Talkie" - 177 metres;
St Pauls Cathedral - 111 metres.