Two lifts take visitors up to level 69 in a moment, where indoor galleries and funny little computers help to identify landmarks, and there is even a bar for those who can't bear being at this height without any booze. Then a few short flights of steps continue to level 72, where some panels of glass are absent, making it feel a bit like being outside.
Your author has flown over London in helicopters and aeroplanes, and been to a number of other London heights like the London Eye, the top of the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben), the dome of St Paul's and the Arcelormittal Orbit, but nowhere has competed with the Shard for understanding London's geography, with views across the vast Thames valley from the North Downs to the Chilterns, and all the way down the winding industrial Thames to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Sure, it's a lot of cash to go up there and it's full of gawping grockles, but on a special occasion, and for those with a love of London, it's really worth it.
For more, see http://www.theviewfromtheshard.com/en/