After watching the skyscraper slowly rise in the London sky from my Brixton flat, I finally made it to the top of the Shard tower, and was rewarded with some fabulous views of the capital.
Opened to the public on 1 February 2013 and standing 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) high, the 72-storey Shard is the tallest building in the European Union.
Visitors are allowed in to access the viewing gallery and the open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor.
At a height of 244.3 metres (802 ft), this is the viewing platform open to the public in the UK.
The lift has a groovy ceiling video animation that plays as you whizz up the building.
Like the old WTC Twin Towers in New York, the journey to the top involves swapping to a smaller lift as you get near the top.
The view from the top is truly spectacular.
A view of the Strata Tower, topped out with its famously non-moving wind turbines.
The posh folks in the penthouse suites apparently at the top didn’t like the noise, so there goes that particular eco initiative.
Looking over south London.
The controversial Walkie Talkie tower reaching completion in the City of London, with the stunning Gherkin to the right.
Tower Bridge next to City Hall.
On the lower observation deck.
Canary Wharf in the distance.
The open air observation deck where you can enjoy a wonderful panorama of London, only slighted spoiled by some hideous cod-religious music that constantly drones away.
The 1677 Monument tower – see photo feature here.
Brixton from The Shard!
The distinctive block of flats with the zig zag pattern (centre, behind the white tower blocks on Barrington Road) is the Southwyck House (aka the Barrier Block).
Telecom Tower with the Wembley arch in the distance.
Looking up to the top of the tower.
St George’s tower at Vauxhall.
Posing for photos.
Bridges across the Thames, with the slender Millennium Bridge near the top (forever nicknamed the Wobbly bridge after its inauspicious opening).
These hi tech viewers let you view the scene at different times of the day as well as zoom in and have buildings and landmarks labelled.
A snap for the album.
A final view of The Shard from Borough High Street.