View From The Shard In London: Pre-Opening Glimpses

View from the Shard, which comprises three observatory floors at the top of the Shard, London’s tallest building, is not yet open for business. The new tourist attraction will open on February 1, 2013. This week, in conjunction with World Travel Market 2012, View from the Shard has been open for advance viewing by travel media.

The 72nd floor, the View from the Shard’s top observation point, is 800 feet high, an altitude that makes it the highest vantage point of any building in Western Europe. Twelve interactive high-tech Tell:scopes telescopes will provide information about scores of London landmarks. The top floor of the View from the Shard is actually open air, allowing visitors unnervingly direct access to the elements.

Renzo Piano’s sharply edged building has been controversial from the start. Now 95 percent owned by Qatar‘s sovereign wealth fund, the building has caused great division among Londoners. In addition to the View from the Shard observatory levels, the building will accommodate restaurants, a Shangri-La hotel, residences (which, according to the Guardian, will be priced from £30 million [$48 million]) and many floors of office space.

The View from the Shard will not be cheap to visit. Adult tickets will cost £24.95 ($40); children’s tickets will run £18.95 ($30).

[Images: Alex Robertson Textor]