The Shard gives Londoners an eye in the sky

Londoners have the chance to view the capital from a new perspective today, as the eagerly awaited Shard observation deck is opened to the public.

The viewing platform sits 243m (800ft) up the 308m (1,016ft) skyscraper, which currently holds the title of the tallest building in western Europe, and was opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning.

Architect Renzo Piano – the man behind such projects as Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and The New York Times Building in New York City – was also present for the ceremony, although the much-vaulted 40-mile panoramas are likely to be hampered by rain and low-hanging cloud.

Luxurious throughout, only 10 apartments will be made available for private sale at the property, and are expected to fetch upwards of £50m per unit, whilst 4,800 people have already paid the admission price of £18.95 – £24.95 to scale the 87-storey tower before proceedings conclude this evening.

Representatives of The View from the Shard have been quick to state that no refunds can be issued, however visitors will be offered the chance to return on a later date should the adverse conditions remain.

Those that choose to make the climb will still be able to view the city by using specially adapted telescopes, coined ‘Tell: scopes’. These enable visitors to point the telescope at many of London’s iconic landmarks to reveal clear-weather, sunset and night-time pictures, as well as an interactive history of the property.

Specially adapted high-speed lifts will take visitors from the ground floor, past 600,000 sq ft of office space, a three-storey restaurant and 200 room Shangri-La hotel, to a viewing gallery on the 72nd in approximately 60 seconds.

Part of a controversial £2bn redevelopment plan for the locality, The Shard adjoins the major rail terminus London Bridge station and is visible from the South Downs to the Thames Estuary.

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