What never stops astonishing me in this vibrant and dynamic city is that everything is possible. People come to London from all over the world, exchange ideas, create business opportunities and creative ideas become reality – such as making one of the most popular tourist attractions available for private hire.
The View from the Shard was officially opened to the public on 1st February 2013 and last week it officially announced its opening as an event space available for corporate and private hire and hosted an official launch party to give the guests a taste what it is like to host events 800ft above London. For those of you who are less familiar with London, it is the latest landmark on London’s skyline and offers the best views over the city. It is also the tallest building not only in London but in Europe. The Shard accommodates offices, restaurants, bars, the luxurious Shangri-La hotel, residences, retail and The View from The Shard visitor attraction. The latest, spreading over level 69 and 72 is the highest you can get in the building of 87 levels in total.
The entrance is just next to London Bridge tube station and what is during daytime a top visitor attraction was now “privatised” for us. After an airport like security check-in I am in the venue, exposed to animated maps, screes and graphics storytelling the historic context of The Shard and its surrounding. Then I enter the lift which takes me first to level 33.
I change here, at the “Transfer zone” and led through an all-enveloping graffiti word map of London. If you have some minutes to spare before the transfer you can test your London knowledge as you go through! I later-on discover that the lift travels at six metres-per-second and makes the total lift journey time from Level 1 to level 68 only about 60 seconds.
When I finally arrive to the 69th floor it is already buzzing with excitement, The Diamond Boys band playing and entertaining the guests and the lovely catering team from The London Kitchen offering selection of drinks and canapés. I can’t resist my excitement and go directly to get a closer glimpse of the stunning view. On this level you get a 360 degree views for up to 40 miles (64km) over the major London landmarks such as the The Gherkin in the north, Tower of London and Tower Bridge in the east, Battersea Power Station in the south and The London Eye in the west, to mention a few. After this I go up to level 72, which is an open air viewing platform where I can hear city’s vibe below and have even more breath-taking views.
The evening follows by a talk from Duncan Welsh, events sales manager at The View from The Shard who reveals that this summer starting from June the venue will be transformed into a pop-up garden and will team up with department store Fortnum & Mason to offer picnic packages to customers. So far the venue offers Yoga classes on Saturday mornings and Silent Disco in the evenings.
The venue can accommodate up to 400 guests in summer and 300 in winter, depending on the setting of course. Because it is open to the public during the day, breakfast functions can take place until 9.30am and evening from 7pm.
That was an absolutely amazing and memorable experience and I can’t wait to be back and hopefully one day to host my own event there!