Nothing beats the thrill of sleeping, and swimming, high above London at Shangri-La The Shard. Siobhan Grogan and her kids took to skies recently at one of the city’s most famous buildings and found out it was well worth the climb.
London is chockful of attractions kids will love. But for an extra treat they’ll never forget, a stay in the clouds at Shangri-La The Shard, London is a real thrill for the whole family. Spanning floors 34 to 52 of the iconic triangular-shaped building, it’s no surprise that it has the best view in the whole city, and you don’t even need to get out of bed to see it.
Shangri-La The Shard is at the heart of all London’s family attractions
There’s no chance the kids will be bored here. Located in London Bridge moments away from the River Thames, Shangri-La The Shard, London is within ten minutes’ walk of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The London Dungeon and HMS Belfast: a historic warship with nine decks that kids can spend hours discovering.
We also strolled over Tower Bridge to peek through the glass floor at the river below, then carried on to the Tower of London. Here my children loved joining a tour with a British Beefeater, hearing gruesome historical tales and seeing the Crown Jewels.
On our second day, we grabbed lunch from busy Borough Market’s stalls, before walking along the Thames to the London Eye. I’d advise you to build in a bit of time for the walk, as pausing to watch street performers and feast on churros and ice cream from food vans can slow you down.
With a few more hours in hand, we’d have been up for Shrek’s Adventure! London or SEA LIFE London Aquarium or even a boat ride to the Royal Observatory Greenwich. They’re all within easy reach of Shangri-La The Shard, so next time, for sure.
No need to ask, every room has a view!
Though each room is slightly different at Shangri-La The Shard, London, due to the unique shape of the building, they all have a panoramic view of the city.
Ours looked over Tower Bridge and the Monument to the Great Fire of London, but the view stretches for up to 40 miles towards Kent and Surrey. Best of all, every room comes with floor-to-ceiling windows and binoculars, so kids can spend hours zooming in on buildings and boats below.
There’s plenty to appeal to adults besides the jaw-dropping vista too. Rooms are neutral but stylish, with heavenly body-contouring beds, a Nespresso machine, exclusive products from Jo Loves by Jo Malone and a vast, black marble bathroom with a rainfall shower and even heated loo seats – kids love these!
Several rooms also have a freestanding bath by the window for soaking while the sun sets, but ask at reception if you’re keen to bag one. They’ll even provide mini-bathrobes for the youngest guests. And interconnecting family rooms are available, while some of the priciest suites come with two bedrooms or a fully-equipped kitchenette.
Asian-inspired fine dining, and kids’ menus too
Food is available almost all-day at TING on the hotel’s 35th floor: a godsend if you return with exhausted little explorers after a long day of sightseeing.
The adjacent lounge is a little more informal and ideal for families as the sofas and armchairs mean kids can sprawl in comfort while you sneak in an aperitif. And again, the spectacular view serves as a mesmerising distraction during dinner, especially as the sun goes down and London’s lights flicker on.
The menu has a fine-dining flair and a distinct Asian influence, with dishes including salmon wonton tart with avocado and wasabi, and Char Siu monkfish with peanut dressing.
Even the children’s menu is more interesting than most, and offers chicken Caesar salad and vegetarian egg noodles alongside fish and chips and a cheeseburger. Just be sure they save room for the build-your-own ice cream sundaes afterwards. The hotel can also arrange private babysitting if you’d rather dine in peace, or just want to check out the lively cocktail bar on the 52nd floor.
Does Shangri-La The Shard have London’s most unusual swimming pool?
You may be high in the clouds but we were astounded to discover that the hotel has its own swimming pool on the 52nd floor, though you must pre-book a slot to use it.
It’s the highest hotel pool in Western Europe so expect more of those sweeping views over the city. And although it’s not the biggest or warmest pool, kids will still be excited to splash around while eyeballing St. Paul’s Cathedral and even the arch of Wembley Stadium in the distance. A dip in your local swimming baths will never feel quite the same again.
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn commission when you click on them. This does not influence our editorial standards. We only recommend products and services we believe will enhance your family travel experience.