Highest skyscraper in Western Europe 'The Shard' opens for public viewing

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 02, 2013 11:00 hrs

As the tallest skyscraper in Western Europe, the Shard offers breath-taking views of London, but some of our pockets might hurt while taking a view of the city with the costly entry fee.

The 2-billion-pound building's viewing platforms were opened to the public on Friday, but with tickets costing 24.95 pounds for an adult and 18.95 pounds for a child, it's not just a fear of heights that might make visitors think twice.

The 1,016ft (309m) Shard's platforms were officially opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Daily Mail reported.

"It's like something prodding up through the frail integuments of the planet like an intergalactic spear," he said, as he cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

He also went on top say that it looked like the tip of a cocktail stick emerging through the skin of a super-colossal pickled onion, and seemed as though it's growing.

"It looks as though subterranean forces are pushing it up so it will reach your [the designers'] vision of 400m which, of course, air traffic controllers refused to allow you to do," he added.

Visitors to the attraction - on floors 68, 69 and 72 - are whisked up in two high-speed lifts in around 60 seconds.

On a clear day, visitors enjoy a 360-degree view of the capital's skyline to up to 40 miles from a platform almost twice the height of any other in the city.

With the help of specially-designed telescopes, they should be able to pick out London's landmarks in the streets below.

Those using the telescopes will, by focusing on a particular landmark, receive audible information about it.

The outdoor viewing platform on Level 72 - 800ft (244m) up - and the 360-degree indoor viewing area on Level 69 - 776ft (236.5m) up - create the 'View from the Shard'.

Lifts travelling at six metres a second whizz you up to the platforms where you peer through the floor-to-ceiling windows made of reinforced - but only 12mm-thick - glass.

The platforms are the only places where it is possible to see all of London at once, with the 40-mile views taking in the Tower of London, St Paul's, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium and The Oval. (ANI)

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