London is a city of inspiration and imagination. … The Shard was about the “intensification” of the city. I wanted to create a public space where people could visit the building to experience London in a different way and to feel that they have discovered the spirit of the building. … The higher up you go, so the functions change, and you need less floor space, until you get to the very top, and there, I just wanted the building to kind of mingle in the air. It’s important that it breathes up there – that it breathes in the clouds. RENZO PIANO, Pritzer Prize-winning Architect and The Shard Architect

The Shard is Renzo Piano’s glistening masterpiece at London Bridge. The View from the Shard is breathtaking, spectacular and addictive. At 310 metres, the Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and the second tallest building in Europe – Moscow Mercury City is the tallest at 338 metres. My first photographs of the Shard were taken at the nearby Great tower Street on my way to meet my photography student, Elizabeth, who chose the Shard for her third photography lesson with me. From the moment you enter the ground floor of the Shard, you know that you are in for a sensational experience. There are no time restrictions, so you can stay as long as you like. Our lesson was for three hours, so we had plenty of time to explore.

External Portrait of the Shard: Photographed from Great Tower Street, London

The corridor to the first of the super fast lifts is illuminated with televisual galleries featuring a mural of over a hundred famous Londoners and interesting texts. We had access to three different viewing platforms; Level 68, 69 and 72.

Level 68 is a teaser floor, with images of clouds on the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Level 69 allows 360o views for up to forty miles across the Thames basin. At this level, we were able to use high tech ‘tel:scopes’, which feature information on hundreds of the capital’s landmarks. They also allow a close-up focus of the scenes in a daylight, dusk or night-time view mode.

After our visit to level 69, it was time to take a deep breath, and head up a flight of stairs onto the final, open-air floor on Level 72. This is the Shard’s highest gallery. I haven’t got a head for heights, so it was time for courage. On this level, the sky is open and the view is both of London and up, up to the clouds. However, at this level, the building has narrowed noticeably and the wooden slatted viewing platform was quite small for such a grand building. The view on this open-air level stretches up to about forty miles, giving a very modern view of our city. I got to see the hustle and bustle of London below me and many of London’s great attractions. Westwards, you can see Westminster with the London eye resting beside the South Bank of the Thames, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Northwards, you can see the Gherkin and Alexandra Palace. Eastwards, you can see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, the Olympic Park and Canary Wharf. And Southwards, you can see the Oval cricket ground. The great thing about level 72, is that compared to level 69 below, there is only one pain of glass between you and the outside. This means that the closer you get to the glass, the lesser the reflections. However, because this floor is open above, the temperature is much lower than in the other floors. And if like me, you haven’t got a head for heights coupled with the constant gust of wind and drizzly rain that we had that afternoon, you will scamper like I did. After just five minutes, I left my fearless student Elizabeth to work on Level 72 for a bit longer, whilst I headed back to level 69, where you can have a glass of well-earned champagne to steady your nerves. Elizabeth joined me again in fifteen minutes to finish her lesson and after a brief visit to the Sky Boutique on Level 68, we ended the day with cakes and coffee, chatting into the night.

It was a lovely day! Please enjoy a selection of my photographs.

Come with me, ladies and gentlemen who are in any wise weary of London: come with me: and those that tire at all of the world we know: for we have new worlds here. LORD DUNSAY

External Portrait of the Shard: Photographed from Great Tower Street, London

Mural of famous Londoners

Rear Window

View from the Shard’s Level 69

My student and friend, Elizabeth

Sebastian joined us for the afternoon

 I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals. NOËL COWARD

High tech ‘tel:scopes’ feature information on hundreds of the capital’s landmarks

Try the Champagne. Mademoiselle, it’s quite good.

Some days simply require a glass of champagne. TAYLOR STERLING.

The weather is lovely in London at the moment. So I plan to visit level 72 again, hopefully this time for a bit longer.

Until next time,




  1. You are an amazing photographer. Hope I get to see u in action one day. Xxxx

    • Angel,

      Thanks so much for your comments. I hope to work with you one day. xxx


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