It's touted as holding the highest vantage point from any building in Western Europe, with a viewing platform at a vertigo-inducing 244 metres up, and has already transformed London's city skyline with its iconic, towering peak.

But the clever architects who designed the View from The Shard, due to open to the public next month, forgot to take into account one thing - the lousy English weather.

Just like the tip of the 309 metre glass-panelled tower on most misty mornings, we had our heads in the clouds when we visited on a dreary winter dawn - instead of experiencing a spectacular 40 mile view across the city.

the shard drizzle

The View from The Shard offers 40 mile views across the capital, except for when it's raining


Zooming up to the 72nd floor in a lift travelling at six metres per second, visitors willing to fork out a minimum of £25 (the price goes up to £29.95 for those turning up on the day - and for the really desperate who want to get into a sold out slot - £100) are promised a unique 360 degree view of the capital, from the Olympic Stadium to the Houses of Parliament to Wimbledon.

The prices have done little to deter people from the attraction -with the first two days already sold out.

However at 8am on a drizzly Wednesday morning - an hour, to be fair, before the attraction will ever be open to tourists - the first view was a grey reflection of myself in the angular, rain spattered windows.

As the fog reluctantly shifted its grey cloak from the top of the building, a clearer picture of the capital emerged - tiny trains snaking across the city, boats and barges pushing up the Thames, commuters rushing across bridges like ants, while the vast green belt of London, topped by the Crystal Palace transmitter, emerged to the south.

The upper platform of the viewing area is cleverly designed to allow visitors to go out in the open air, without feeling like they need to cling on for dear life.

The corners of the deck are sheltered with huge panes of triangular glass, but have no ceiling, allowing the building to "breathe", according to its makers, and visitors a view up to the skyscraper's striking peak.

the shard

What the view should look like at sunrise

Renzo Piano, the architect behind the Shard, said the space was intended to allow people to "experience London in a different way and feel that they have discovered the spirit of the building.

"Level 72 is a wonderful example of this: in the open air on the highest habitable floor, you are surrounded by the shards of glass as well as the sights, sounds, elements and atmosphere of the city below. On top of the city, but also within it," he said in a statement.

The £2bn attraction is hoping to take around one million visitors a year once it opens its doors on 1 February - with up to 250 people allowed into each booking slot, running daily from 9am until 10pm.

Those unlucky enough to go up on a foggy day are allowed to come back free of charge, to see the view in all its glory.

Tickets cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 children if pre-booked online. Visitors are recommended to visit the Met Office website before booking.

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  • The View from The Shard

    Sunrise seen from The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • The View from The Shard

    Sunrise seen from The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • The View from The Shard

    The 'loo with a view' on the 68th floor of The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • The View from The Shard

    Sunrise seen from The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • The View from The Shard

    Sunrise seen from The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • The View from The Shard

    Sunrise seen from The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • PA Picture Review of the Year 2012

    Sunlight reflects off The Shard in central London as construction continues on the building.

  • The View from The Shard

    The 'loo with a view' on the 68th floor of The Shard in London as the The View from The Shard attraction is due to open to the public.

  • Winter weather December 12th

    General view of the Shard building as temperatures struggle to reach 2 degrees in the capital, London.

  • The Shard skyscraper is seen through early morning fog from a bridge over the river Thames just after sunrise in London, Wednesday, Dec.12, 2012. At London's Heathrow Airport about 150 flights have been canceled and delays are expected with more than 20 flights at London City Airport have been canceled as fog affects arrivals .(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • The Shard skyscraper is seen through early morning fog from a bridge over the river Thames just after sunrise in London, Wednesday, Dec.12, 2012. At London's Heathrow Airport about 150 flights have been canceled and delays are expected with more than 20 flights at London City Airport have been canceled as fog affects arrivals .(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Construction of the Shard building, London, nears completion

    England, London, London Bridge Quarter, Construction of the Shard building, designed by Renzo Piano, nearing completion.

  • Shard opened

    A laser show projected from the Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, seen from Parliament Hill, marking the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013 and following the official inauguration of the skyscraper earlier today.

  • Shard opened

    A laser show projected from the Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, seen from Parliament Hill, marking the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013 and following the official inauguration of the skyscraper earlier today.

  • Shard opened

    A laser show projected from the Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, seen from Parliament Hill, marking the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013 and following the official inauguration of the skyscraper earlier today.

  • The Shard - London

    STANDALONE PHOTO. The moon rises behind the recently completed structure of the Shard building in London.

  • Shard used to lure Chinese visitors

    File photo dated 01/11/12 of The Shard in London, Britain's highest and newest tourist attraction which is being used this week to lure more Chinese visitors to the UK.

  • Shard used to lure Chinese visitors

    Embargoed to 0001 Monday November 19. File photo dated 01/11/12 of The Shard in London, BritainÕs highest and newest tourist attraction which is being used this week to lure more Chinese visitors to the UK.

  • The Shard

    Construction workers work at the top of the Shard building, in central London.

  • Shard used to lure Chinese visitors

    File photo dated 01/11/2012 of a general view of the Shard building, London, as Britain's highest and newest tourist attraction is being used this week to lure more Chinese visitors to the UK.

  • City Views - London

    Aerial view of central London, showing the Shard, Tower Bridge, the River Thames. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

  • City Views - London

    A general view of The Shard and the City of London

  • City Views - London

    A view of (right to left) the Houses of Parliament, The Shard and the London Eye from the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London.

  • City Views - London

    General view of the Shard building, London

  • City Views - London

    A view of (right to left) the Houses of Parliament, The Shard and the London Eye from the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London.

  • City Views - London

    General view of the Shard building, London

  • City Views - London

    General view of the Shard building, London

  • Autumn weather October 23rd

    Window cleaners working on the Shard building shrouded in fog, in central London.

  • The View from the Shard attraction

    A view across London of Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf in the east, from the new visitor attraction 'The View from the Shard', due to open at the Shard, in south London from February 2013.

  • The View from the Shard attraction

    A visitor uses a digital telescope, as she looks out across London, from the new visitor attraction 'The View from the Shard', due to open at the Shard, in south London from February 2013.

  • The View from the Shard attraction

    A view looking east across London of the Tower Bridge, from the new visitor attraction 'The View from the Shard', due to open at the Shard, in south London from February 2013.

  • The View from the Shard attraction

    A visitor uses her camera phone as she looks out across London, from the new visitor attraction 'The View from the Shard', due to open at the Shard, in south London from February 2013.

  • General Views of London

    General view of the city of London and the Shard taken from Millbank tower.

  • General Views of London

    General view of the city of London and the Shard taken from Millbank tower.

  • General Views of London

    General view of the city of London and the Shard taken from Millbank tower.

  • General Views of London

    General view of the city of London and the Shard taken from Millbank tower.

  • Charity abseil down Shard

    The Duke of York (top of picture) as he abseils down from the top of the Shard in central London for charity. The 52-year-old royal is one of around 40 people to lower themselves down Europe's tallest building for educational charity The Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

  • Charity abseil down Shard

    Ffion Hague, the wife of Foreign Secretary William Hague abseils down the Shard in central London for charity. She is one of around 40 people to lower themselves down Europe's tallest building for educational charity The Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

  • Charity abseil down Shard

    The Duke of York abseils down the Shard in central London for charity. The 52-year-old royal is one of around 40 people to lower themselves down Europe's tallest building for educational charity The Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

  • London city stock

    A general view of the London skyline from Canary Wharf, including The Shard and Tower Bridge.

  • London city stock

    A general view of the London skyline from Canary Wharf, including The Shard and Tower Bridge.

  • Sunset at Tower Bridge

    General view of Tower Bridge, carrying the Olympic Rings, and the Shard building (left) at dusk, in central London.

  • City Views - London

    Aerial view of central London, showing the Shard (foreground), and the City financial district, including the Swiss Re Tower, also known as the Gherkin (left). PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

  • City Views - London

    Aerial view of central London, showing the Shard (foreground), Tower Bridge, the River Thames, and Canary Wharf (background). PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

  • City Views - London

    Aerial view of the London skyline, showing the Shard (left) and the City financial district of London, including the Swiss Re Tower (right). PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 12, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

  • Shard opened

    A laser show projected from the Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, seen from Parliament Hill, marking the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013 and following the official inauguration of the skyscraper earlier today.

  • Shard opened

    A laser show projected from the Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, seen from Parliament Hill, marking the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013 and following the official inauguration of the skyscraper earlier today.

  • Shard opened

    A laser show projected from the Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, seen from Parliament Hill, marking the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013 and following the official inauguration of the skyscraper earlier today.

  • Shard opened

    A view of St Paul's Cathedral in London from the 69th floor of the Shard, during the official inauguration of the Shard in London.

  • Shard opened

    A view across London from the 69th floor of the Shard, during the official inauguration of the Shard in London.

  • Shard opened

    A view across London from the 69th floor of the Shard, during the official inauguration of the Shard in London.