The View From The Shard: London's 2013 Top Attraction

  • The Shard, London

Resembling one of those crystal icicles clinging to Superman's Fortress of Solitude, London's latest landmark is 309.60 metres (1,016ft) of soaring glass and steel. We are talking about The Shard, Western Europe's tallest building, part of a wider £2billion regeneration programme that will create new commercial district in the heart of historic London, called the London Bridge Quarter.

A vertical town designed by italian architect Renzo Piano and owned by LBQ Limited (which has the State of Qatar as majority stakeholder) The Shard aims to be "the newest London landmark and beacon of the city of London resilience and expansion, even during tough economic times", as Sheik Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank, explains. The project, which includes also 'The Place' (a 428,000 sq ft office building) ,'The Shard Plaza' (a new public space) as well as new bus and train station, hopes to attract business and investments to the south of the river and is expected to provide permanent employment for 12,500+ people.

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On February 1st, the long awaited 'The View From The Shard' will open to the public. Highly tipped to be the Capital's 2013 top attraction, this experience offers the chance to reach the highest vantage point from any building in Western Europe. With a lift travelling six metres per second, visitors can reach The Shard's 68th floor in exactly 1 minute and from there walk up to Level 69, where it's possible to enjoy a breathtaking 40-miles, 360-degrees view of London.

Equipped with interactive telescopes able to identify over 200 famous landmarks, this amazing viewing platform is the perfect place to discover the Capital's most notorious features. On these hi-tech devices' screens it's possible to explore the city in real time, to learn about the most popular places of interest in 10 different languages, as well as to compare the current view with shots taken from the same angle but in different times of the day.

Visitors can also choose to walk up the extra set of stairs that leads to the 72th floor viewing gallery (244m/800ft), which is partially open air and allows those curious about the giant shards of glass that form the top of the building, to take a closer look. Beefed up security is expected in the toilet areas, after tabloid claims of panoramic romps being carried out in the cubicles.

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