View From the Shard

Before heading to London, I conducted extensive research on what to eat, see, and do in the city. One of my “must-see” locations was on top of The Shard, a 1016 ft tower that is apparently the tallest building in the EU. It offered a 360-degree view of London, which I was not going to pass up!

I hoped to arrive in time to catch the sunset. But this was how light it was outside at around 7 pm on June 3:

View from the Shard London
The shot with the London Eye

I especially like this shot below because not only does it include Tower Bridge, but it also shows the Shard’s shadow!

The View from the Shard
Also spotted: Tower Bridge. Read my earlier blog post on it here!

Okaaay, still too light. So I decided to wait for an hour and get in some pics while I was at it:

I found out what this green turf was for after I already climbed the Shard – it’s for a rooftop garden! Sad that I missed this installation, but maybe you still have a chance to go see it this summer.
Trying to get both the foreground and background properly exposed was hell. Any tips on how to better do this (besides HDR)?

It wasn’t too bad of a wait because this top-level was open-air and I got to catch some cool summer breezes up there.

Looking Up the View from the Shard

Finally, I could not wait any longer and checked on my phone what time would set. 9 pm?! Well I wasn’t going to sit around for another hour, so one more round and I headed down. The pictures looked a bit rosier, I think…but I also didn’t expect so much reflection off the window glass. Sigh, so many things had gone unexpected that night.

The View from the Shard

The View from the Shard

Well there’s a lesson learned – always check, and do not assume, what time the sun will set (and along with that, what time museums and shops open & close, etc.). I did not take into account that this was summer, when it stays light out until 10 pm!

Rather than catching the sunset on the top of the Shard, I saw it from the bottom. See those pictures (of Big Ben lit up in its night-time glory) in this post!

Next time, I am determined to see an actual sunset from the top of the Shard, and perhaps enjoy a glass of bubbly while I’m at it. 😉

The Shard from Millennium Bridge London
Can’t believe I was at the top of that pointy building!

Have you ever been up the Shard or went to its restaurants or bars? How was your experience?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. See a 360-degree view of New York City here.


  • Awesome views! Love the one photograph with the Shard’s shadow in it! Oh man sorry you couldn’t catch the sunset! I had a similar experience in Salzburg. I wanted to get some night shots of the city and my phone said the sun was going to set at 7:30 but it wasn’t the “blue hour” until an hour later!

  • Wonderful views!! When I first visited NYC I managed to go up the Empire State Building right when the sun set. I planned to do the same this year but didn’t find tickets!

    • Thanks! I personally recommend seeing NYC from the Top of the Rock, because the Empire State Building will be in your pictures!

  • literally on top of the world!!

  • Wow, what a beautiful view! I’ve been too cheap to go to the top of the Shard, so I appreciated seeing the view from your lens!

    • Thanks! I was totally on “tourist mode” over there, so that was how I justified the steep price. Otherwise, I wouldn’t pay 30 pounds to go up if I were a local!

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  • Kim

    I wanted to try a glass of bubbly while I was there 😉 butttt it was way out of budget hehe. It’s pretty neat that you got the shadow of the shard in that photo!

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