It’s already home to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the London Eye, but now London has added one more impressive landmark to its roster of attractions. The Shard, a 310-metre glass tower, just opened to the public on February 1 and is now officially the tallest building in Western Europe and home to the UK’s highest open-air observation deck, 72 storeys up (245 metres).
To compare, Toronto’s CN Tower is 553 metres tall, dwarfing The Shard, but some may argue that The Shard has a lot more going for it architecturally (just don’t say this out loud in Toronto). The Shard was designed to represent “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London” and is covered in 11,000 panes of glass. The angled glass reflects the sky and sunlight and the idea is that the building will look different in different weather and seasons (though there’s not much a reflective window can do with fog).
Beyond the viewing deck, the building is home to offices, luxury residences, a hotel, shops, restaurants and a spa. A ticket to the viewing deck is £24.95 for adults.
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