Recently I took a trip to London to experience The Shard and to take advantage of our Cultural Expansion Grant.

Having arrived early we had a few hours to play with and spotted a poster advertising a photography exhibition at the Science Museum’s Media Space Gallery called ‘Only in England’. The Exhibition showcased the work of Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr, and was a fascinating insight into the eccentricities of British life during the 1960’s and 70’s. We were lucky to catch it as the exhibition was about to move to the National Media Museum in Bradford where it will be exhibited until 29 June.

only in england

En-route to The Shard we ducked into Patty & Bun which has a reputation for serving some of London’s finest burgers. Almost put off by the rapidly forming queue, the food was well worth the wait and the atmosphere couldn’t be more laid-back: bare tables and tunes pumping from a laptop perched on the bar. A total contrast to where we were about to head.

Arriving at the London Bridge Quarter we were immediately engulfed by the sheer size and dominance of the structure towering above us. Vivid reflections in the glass of the late afternoon sun against a fantastic blue sky were breathtaking.

Being mid-week we avoided the crowds and the journey up to the 68th floor didn’t disappoint. Apart from a slight haze we had a perfect panoramic view of London. The evening rush hour was in full swing and people the size of ants were hurrying across bridges and swarming onto packed platforms. The trains snaked across the landscape and it felt like we were watching the sun set over a giant model village.  Making full use of the Champagne bar we soaked in the view and the fresh air from floor 72 which is open to the elements. Seeing the contrast of the London skyline as the lights came on and darkness descended made it an even more magical experience and well worth the visit.

(Don’t forget to check out the ‘loo with a view’ on floor 68!).

View from Shard