View from the Shard....and View from The Loo!!
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Hearing Aid, Wheelchair, Powerchair, Mobility Scooter, Hidden Impairment
The 72nd floor of The Shard gives panoramic views of London. You need to book tickets in advance online (see more in access details). And it's airport-style security as you enter. It's very well organised and you are guided onto a series of lifts (you transfer from one lift to another at level 33), taking you to the top surprisingly quickly, but yet hardly noticeably. It is very important you visit the toilets on level 68, whether you need to go or not......! You can wander freely round levels 69 and 72. Both are enclosed spaces with floor-ceiling windows at all sides. There is no time restrictions put on how long you can be there, and certainly you don't feel rushed. There is a bar and ice cream for sale at the viewing levels. There is a souvenir shop before you exit at the ground floor. I went on a sunny day, and could see for miles across the whole of London.
Transport & Parking
I walked to the venue, so can't comment much on transport. However the Shard is in Central London so there are lots of options. London Bridge is the nearest underground.
Tickets must be bought online, if needing a carer, you only buy one ticket for yourself, your carer doesn't need a ticket. On the day you must take proof of needing a carer, you don't queue but go directly to bookings desk. If dont have access needs, you join a queue outside Shard, but as they take groups of people in at a time, the queue did move fairly quickly. Their website gives access details, including measurements of lift/doorways. For manual wheelchairs it seems fine, but if you have large power wheelchair or scooter, it would be worth checking this. The have hearing loops through all main areas of building, and pens+paper at info desks/tills. There is a separate accessible lift from the main lifts. Staff guide you throughout your journey through the building. In the building there are smooth tiled floors throughout. The 72nd floor has a grass 'carpets' but this is quite flat and wouldn't cause difficulty if in wheelchair
I have to give this 5 stars for the view alone!! There are toilets at entrance level. However, I recommend visiting the toilets on floor 68, as these are known as 'the loo with a view' There are a row of standard toilets, each of which has floor to ceiling windows giving amazing views over London. (There is an electronic blind you can put down if you are feeling shy). I was really pleased to find there is an accessible toilet at the end of this row, also giving the views. It also is done in the same style as all the other toilets. The hallway to get to the toilet is fairly narrow, particularly if other people are standing waiting- again might be a problem for a bigger chair/scooter.
I had to postpone my planned visit to The Shard several times due to the Pandemic, and staff couldn't have been more helpful. Each time I received an email back almost instantly, and they changed my booking without any difficulties. On my visit, staff guide you through each part of the building, and are efficient but friendly. On the viewing levels, there were staff available if you needed them. Staff also were happy to help take people's photos, although this was not an organised service.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
There are hand gels throughout, and they had reduced the number of people going in the lifts at a time. There were quite a lot of people, I chose to keep my mask on most of the time.