The glistening glass top of The Shard can be seen from all over London, but what’s inside the latest city landmark? Good news for visitors – the now-iconic London skyscraper is home to various restaurants, bars and a hotel, so its unbeatable views of the capital are well within reach.

What’s in this guide?

How to get to The Shard

The building stands out among the London skyline day and night, with its pointed glass top reflecting the sun and bright light shows after dark. You can see it, but just how do you get there?

Like all of London, The Shard is easy to access using public transport. National Rail services stop at London Bridge train station, a couple of minutes’ walk from the landmark.

If you’re travelling by underground train (tube), the closest station to The Shard is also called London Bridge, on the Northern (black) and Jubilee (grey) lines.

What to see and do at The Shard

Want to visit The Shard while you’re in London? There are plenty of reasons to go, from spectacular views of the capital to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

95 floors

The unique building is 95 stories tall. There are 26 levels of offices and three floors of restaurants. Plus, the 19-floor Shangri-La hotel and 13 levels of private apartments. Not to mention London’s highest public viewpoint.

Shangri-La Hotel

Booking a stay at the Shangri-La hotel is one of the best ways to soak up The Shard. Boasting a choice of standard guest rooms and Signature Suites, Shangri-La at The Shard is an unbeatable choice for weekends or more extended stays in London.

The hotel starts on level 34, 125 metres above street level. There are 18 floors of rooms available, all with unbeatable views of the city below. What better way to start a day in London than waking up to its famous landmarks at your feet? Shakespeare’s Globe, the Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames are all easy to spot from this unique hotel. Did we mention it’s home to London’s highest infinity pool?

All guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can let the light in and bask in unobstructed views of the city. Beds are draped in luxury linens, while marble bathrooms and heated floors are just two more reasons to book a stay here.

Shangri-La’s Signature Suites also include personal butler service! The most prestigious suite in the Shard comes in at a cool £10,000 a night. If that’s a little over budget, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to visit the building.

The Viewing Gallery

The Shard is one of the highest buildings in Europe, perfectly placed in London’s bustling heart. It should be no surprise that there are some unbeatable views on offer. The Shard’s Viewing Gallery is almost twice as high as any other in the city, spread across floors 68, 69 and 72. On a clear day, you can see around 40 miles into the distance when you visit The View from The Shard.

Getting to the gallery is an experience in itself; The Shard’s high-speed elevators take you from the ground to level 68 in just 60 seconds!

When you arrive at The View from The Shard, you’ll have a few choices. You could just enjoy the breathtaking scenery and head back down. Or enjoy a glass of champagne and savour your location. On level 72, the open-air sky deck lets you bask in the sunshine on warm days, taking in the sounds and sights of the city below.

You’ll need to book tickets in advance and choose an option that includes entry only, a glass of champagne and a digital photo package or access for the whole family. Ticket prices start at £25.

Bars and restaurants in The Shard

Another excellent way to visit The Shard is by booking a table at one of its exquisite bars or restaurants. There are seven drinking and dining destinations inside the landmark building, so you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks with unbeatable panoramas as your backdrop.

TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant

TĪNG specialises in seasonal British cuisine with an Asian twist. The space boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can enjoy views of London all around no matter what time you make your reservation. Carefully crafted cocktails help cement this restaurant as one of the best in London for celebratory meals.


On level 33 of The Shard, HUTONG is an atmospheric restaurant with décor inspired by Northern China. It’s based on the beloved Hong Kong restaurant of the same name. HUTONG serves authentic dishes in a memorable setting, complete with red lanterns and carved wooden ‘moon gates’.

Dishes are based on those served in China’s imperial palaces – the menu captures the subtlety and surprise of Northern cooking. Favourites include Red Landern soft-shell crab and crispy lamb ribs. Not to mention roasted Peking duck, considered by many to be the best in London.

The cocktail selection is inspired by traditional Chinese medicine ingredients, a perfect way to end your meal.

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard is a contemporary British restaurant inside The Shard, serving lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and drinks in Western-Europe’s tallest building. Enjoy 360-degree views of London whenever you visit – Aqua Shard is situated on level 31.


Oblix is a sophisticated, contemporary restaurant offering views across Central London. It’s split into Oblix East and Oblix West; the first offers flavours from around the world in innovative, modern dishes, award-winning cocktails and afternoon tea. The latter is a refined dining space to relax and enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner.

Sky Lounge

On level 34 in the Shangri-La Hotel, the elegant Sky Lounge is a relaxed setting for light bites, brunch or drinks overlooking London. Why not enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and spectacular views over champagne cocktails? It’s a perfect way to toast a special occasion.

Bar 31

If you don’t want to eat but fancy visiting The Shard for a drink, Bar 31 is your perfect pick. There are plenty of local beers and spirits available, as well as an excellent wine and champagne list.


GŎNG is the highest hotel bar in Europe, part of Shangri-La inside The Shard. This luxurious spot draws on Chinese architecture and interiors, creating an atmospheric setting with spectacular London views as the backdrop.

The space is split into intimate parts, including cocktail and champagne bars and a swimming pool. Whether you’re planning sunset cocktails or late-night drinks, GŎNG won’t disappoint.

The Shard architecture

The history of The Shard starts with Irvine Stellar, its developer and joint-owner. He envisioned creating a striking vertical city in London, bringing together retail, offices, hotel rooms, apartments, restaurants and a public viewing gallery.

Stellar bought Southwark Towers in 1998 and set about planning a new building to capture the city’s imagination. He met with award-winning architect Renzo Piano, who started sketching his initial ideas over lunch the same day!

Piano’s inspiration

Renzo Piano was inspired by the spires of London churches and the masts of tall ships. He designed The Shard to reflect these images, a spire-like structure towering out of the River Thames.

The pyramid shape of the building was considered when planning each floor, with office spaces occupying the lower, larger levels directly connected to London Bridge station. Private residences sit at the top, below the public viewing galleries, where the building is narrow enough to allow floor-to-ceiling windows on every side.

The top floors of The Shard, which house the UK’s highest public viewing galleries, are an impressive 240 metres above street level. The glass and steel spire stretches up to the building’s highest point, 310 metres above the ground.

Finding the funds

Before it could be built, The Shard underwent a lengthy planning process and public enquiry. The global economic crash meant the project’s finances slipped away by the time this was completed.

Thankfully, in 2008, the State of Qatar came to the rescue, joining in partnership with Stellar to fund their shared vision.

Building The Shard

Building The Shard was not without difficulties; the construction team overcame severe weather and below-zero temperatures. Not to mention the Thames overflowing while building work was underway.

A top-down method was used, whereby the foundations were dug while the building’s core was built up. It’s the first time this method has been used in the UK. During one impressive 36-hour period, the construction team poured 5,400 cubic meters of concrete – that’s 700 lorry loads!


The years of hard work paid off in 2008 when The Shard was completed and officially opened by the Prime Minister of Qatar.

The Shard opening times and tickets

Because The Shard encompasses offices, apartments, a hotel and several bars and restaurants, it’s technically open 24-hours a day. But visitors are only allowed inside during specific times and to visit one of the facilities inside.

The View from The Shard

The View from The Shard is the building’s public viewing gallery, open at various times between 10:00 and 23:00 year-round. To book, choose a date and time online. If your date arrives and the weather is too misty or rainy, you can change your selection for free!

Ticket prices start at £25, with family options, champagne visits and deluxe packages available for a higher price.

Restaurants and bars opening times

  • TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant – breakfast 07:00 to 10:30, lunch 12:00 to 14:30, afternoon tea 12:00 to 16:00, dinner 17:00 to 10:30
  • HUTONG – 12:00 to 22:30 daily
  • Aqua Shard – lunch 12:00 to 14:30 Monday to Friday, afternoon tea 12:15 to 16:15 daily, dinner 18:00 to 22:30 daily
  • Oblix – 16:00 to 23:00 Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 to 16:00 for Saturday and Sunday brunch
  • Sky Lounge – 14:00 to 22:00 Friday and Saturday, 12:00 to 17:00 for Sunday brunch
  • Bar 31 – 16:00 to 22:00 Wednesday to Thursday, 12:00 to 23:00 Friday to Saturday, 14:00 to 21:00 Sunday
  • GŎNG – 16:00 to 23:00 Monday to Wednesday, 12:00 to 23:30 Thursday to Sunday

Taking the train to London?

You can easily reach London by train from within the UK, as well as other major European cities, thanks to the many high-speed rail connections available.

If you're already in the UK and heading into London, you can get from Edinburgh to London in 4h, from Manchester to London in 2h 3m, from Glasgow to London in 4h 28m and from Liverpool to London in m. Some of the most popular international routes include Paris to London (2h 17m), Brussels to London (2h 1m) and Amsterdam to London (4h 42m).

Need more information about travelling to London by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to London.