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The View From The Shard Offers A Spectacular Experience, Just Don't Go On A Cloudy Day (PICTURES)

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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.

Also on The Huffington Post

The Shard Viewing Platform
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