UK & World News
The Shard: View Unveiled Ahead Of Opening
Steep entry prices seem not to have deterred tourists who want to see London from near the top of the UK's highest building, which opens to visitors next month.
Tickets to view the capital from 800ft (244m) up on the 1,016ft (310m) high The Shard in south London are as much as £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children.
Yet the opening day for the attraction known as The View From The Shard - February 1 - is sold out as is the second day, February 2.
For their money, visitors to The Shard, which towers over London Bridge station, get a panoramic view of the capital.
They take two lifts to get to level 68 for 40-mile views and then they can go up as far as the 72nd floor where viewing area is partly in the open.
In the viewing areas visitors will be able to look, for free, through special telescopes known as Tell: scopes.
These are particularly useful if visibility is poor as they show not only a live "as it is" image but, at the push of a button, what a clear-day view would be as well as a sunset view and a night view.
Those using the telescopes will, by focusing on a particular landmark, receive audible information about it.
Those who want to see night views for themselves will be able to take advantage of the fact that The View, which opens at 9am, will stay open until 10pm each day.
Tickets are pre-booked although there will be some facility for visitors who turn up on the day.
Organisers say there should not be queues, but to amuse those waiting to go through security, special, cheeky, murals have been created.
Showing 140 famous Londoners in playful juxtapositions, the murals depict the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a Pearly King and Queen, London Mayor Boris Johnson shining the shoes of a top-hatted former mayor Ken Livingstone and the Queen - with corgi - riding on a scooter.
The Shard is part of a £2bn redevelopment of the London Bridge area. The glassy, triangular-shaped building has 600,000sq ft of offices, three floors of restaurants and a 200-room Shangri-La hotel which is due to open this summer.
There are also 10 luxury apartments which are expected to sell for as much as £50m each and which are expected to be let out.
The View From The Shard chief executive Andy Nyberg said: "This is the only place you can see the whole of London at once and, as such, is a natural starting point for exploring the UK's capital."