I have lived in South London for most of my life and have watched with interest as the Shard has gone up over the last couple of years. You can see it more or less from any hill around here, perched as it is next to London Bridge station just over the road from Guy’s Hospital. It has transformed the South London skyline. It was normal, then, that we paid a visit to it today as a Staycation Treat.
The Shard is not a pretty building, in my opinion, despite its impressiveness. I find it quite hostile in nature and maybe that was the desired effect of naming it after a piece of broken glass, looming over the cuddlier London skyscrapers like the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie building.
I feel obliged to give you a few Shard facts and figures from the guide book:
- The Shard is the tallest habitable structure in Western Europe at a height of 309.6 metres.
- The Shard is 95 storeys high but the highest habitable part is the 72nd storey viewing platform
- On a clear day (if that’s possible in London) one can see not forever but for 35 miles in each direction. Which probably explains why I couldn’t see @kingbagcarrier waving in Doncaster.
Borough Market was very quiet on this Monday morning
Funny, but the Shard doesn’t look that tall from here.
Here are Tower 42 (when it was the NatWest tower, was once the tallest building in Europe), the Walkie Talkie Building with Heron Tower emerging behind it, and the Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe) where we enjoyed a meal a couple of years ago.
Here is the London Eye on the left, with the Houses of Parliament to the left of it.
Can you see the Wembley Stadium arch in the background to the right?
I must have travelled over this railway junction hundreds of times. It comes from Cannon Street across the bridge on the right, and Charing Cross towards the left.
And a view over the river to the East. The Tower of London looks tiny over towards the left just in front of Tower Bridge. Canary Wharf is in the background on the right.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in the sunshine.
A view south towards the Crystal Palace transmitter on the highest point in South London. The North Downs rise behind it.
This is a little hazy but it’s a view towards Dulwich. I’m pretty sure that green spire is on the church of St. Barnabas, and Alleyn’s School is just in front of it. It’s better with binoculars, to be honest.
And here I’m looking down at Borough Market with Southwark Cathedral on the right.
Hey, just have a look at the two-tone tan! I’m so fashion-forward.
This isn’t what one would expect of central London, is it? A boat on the beach at Bankside.