Tallest building eyes tourists’ millions

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Tongue-in-cheek illustrations including Margaret Thatcher riding a tandem bike with Karl Marx will greet visitors taking tours of The Shard – Europe’s tallest building.

Tourists visiting the 1,000ft high building in south London will also see film director Alfred Hitchcock fleeing from pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

Also on display will be King Charles I getting a makeover from Vidal Sassoon and Vivienne Westwood.

The View from The Shard attraction, taking visitors 800ft up the building, opens on February 1.

The cheeky illustrations are on the ground floor and also include George Orwell installing CCTV cameras and 18th century American pioneer Benjamin Franklin at a cash machine.

Visitors will be whisked up The Shard – part of a £2bn development next to London Bridge railway station – in two high-speed lifts. On the way up, they will hear an anthem from the London Symphony Orchestra.

From 800ft, the horizon is about 40 miles away – and visitors will able to use digital telescopes with large touchscreens to enhance the panoramic views.

Entry costs £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children.

A spokesman said that since ticket sales had been encouraging since they began in July and that the first two months after the open were likely to be sold out.

With visitors expected to stay about an hour, The Shard could welcome about a million people a year.

Managers said that if there’s no visibility at all from the top, visitors could come back later.

On low-visibility days, they can use the telescopes’ recordings to cut through the gloom.

The devices will show day or night views regardless of the time.

The building includes 600,000 sq ft of office space, restaurants, a 200-room, five-star hotel due to open next spring and 10 homes, rumoured to be selling for about £50m each.

A spokesman said the residences were likely to be valued “in tens of millions of pounds”.