500px Photo ID: 92698707 - An early morning shot of the sun rising over the east of london with some of the big landmarks in front of the orange sky.www.facebook.com/maxrobeynsphotography

Maxime Robeyns / 500px

Puncturing the skies above London, the dramatic splinter-like form of the Shard has become an icon of the city and is one of the tallest buildings in Europe. The scene from the 244m-high viewing platforms on floors 69 and 72 is like none other in town, but it comes at an equally lofty price; book online in advance for a potential discount. Premium tickets come with a good-weather guarantee, meaning you might be able to return for free.

To take in the view for less, visit one of the building's restaurants or bars; you'll pay half the viewing-platform ticket price for a cocktail at Aqua Shard, where the views are still spectacular.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Bank attractions

3. Borough Market

0.15 MILES

For a thousand years, a market has existed at the southern end of London Bridge, making this still-busy ancient gathering point a superb spectacle…

4. Hay's Galleria

0.16 MILES

This beautiful shopping arcade was an enclosed dock in the 19th century. The wharf handled all sorts of goods, although perishable foodstuff was the main…

5. Southwark Cathedral

0.16 MILES

Southwark Cathedral, a mostly Victorian construction but with a history dating back many centuries earlier, was the nearest church to what was once the…

6. Gibbon's Rent

0.19 MILES

Buried between soaring blocks of flats, this tiny alley has been transformed by locals into a secret garden lined with potted plants. A small wooden…

7. Golden Hinde

0.22 MILES

Step aboard this replica of privateer Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde, the warship that circumnavigated the globe in 1577–1580. Kids will love exploring…

8. HMS Belfast

0.26 MILES

HMS Belfast is a magnet for kids of all ages. This large, light cruiser – launched in 1938 – served in WWII, helping to sink the Nazi battleship Sand…