Cubicles in the sky - the view from The Shard toilets
What a beautiful surprise as you open the cubicle door. Brilliantly, the toilets at The View from The Shard, the skydeck experience at the top of The Shard building in London, have been fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering visitors a unique way to take in the magnificent view. It's like you've just been handed your very own personal viewing pod, albeit one containing a toilet and a sink. There’s an electric, button operated, blind for anyone wanting a more traditional, less adrenalin fuelled, toilet experience. But leave it open and many of London's most iconic sights are visible beneath your feet, as you sit. From the Gherkin to the Tower of London, this is toilet-based sightseeing at its very very best.
Watch the electric blind in action here:
The Shard Building is on the south bank of the River Thames above London Bridge Station. The View from The Shard is on floors 68-72 - the toilets are floor 68:
This aerial footage London includes several fantastic shots of The Shard, now perhaps the most visually impressive feature of London's skyline:
And this animated film by Elbow Productions tells the story of how Italian architect Renzo Piano was inspired by history when designing The Shard - particularly by the church spires of London and the masts of sailing boats on the Thames:
Toilet based sightseeing?
An open-top bus is one way to see the sights of London. This is another!
It's exciting to see that the Tower of London is clearly visible from The Shard toilets. This famous landmark was originally built by William The Conqueror following his invasion of England in 1066 and is now a World Heritage Site.
It's always great to spot historic ships from toilets and HMS Belfast is no exception. This retired warship, now part of the Imperial War Museum, is visited by some 350,000 people each year. Originally launched in 1938, HMS Belfast played a key role in the D-Day Landings. It is now permanently moored on the Thames. Find out more on the Imperial War Museum website.
It’s become a defining part of London’s skyline and now it’s even visible from a toilet. 30 St Mary Axe - a.k.a. the Gherkin - is a commercial skyscraper which opened in 2004. It is informally known as the Gherkin on account of it looking like a gherkin.
Note the shadow of The Shard falling across the river in the photograph above. Other things in the world that cast great shadows include Mount Fuji, Japan:
And anyone standing at the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, at sunrise:
Other tall buildings with toilet views
It's a long and growing list. But perhaps top is the N Seoul Tower in the South Korean capital, Seoul. This is a photo of the gents, but FYI the ladies has a view from the sinks:
An incredible toilet rumour…
Could it be true?! While The Shard is the 96th tallest building in the world, there is talk of a loo (with a view) on the 155th floor of the world's very tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This might just be the world's highest toilet in a free-standing building, if not the highest above sea level.
As you can see in this promotional video, The View from the Shard was originally opened by then London Mayor Boris Johnson. He may or may not have used the toilet:
Seoul Tower was featured in A Loo with a View, by Luke Barclay (Virgin Books). Homepage image is by Alex Groundwater.