The Shard is known for its panoramic views and glitzy restaurants, but there’s one spot that’s the Ferrari of sky-high dining in London – Aqua Shard. From the geniuses that brought you Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Nueva, Aqua Shard is innovative and inviting.
The best part about visiting Aqua Shard? It gives you access to the country’s tallest building without paying the entrance fee for The View from The Shard. Sure, you have to fork out a couple pennies for a fantastic cocktail and some top-notch food. But that’s a small price to pay for breathtaking views of London’s skyline.
The dark, foreboding interior sets the scene for top-notch dining and the view itself, well, it doesn’t get much better. Whether you’re forking out for a world-class brunch or treating yourself to a trendy dinner, the lavish interiors and 360-degree opulence will have you coming back for more.
What floor is Aqua Shard On?
You can find Aqua Shard Bar and Restaurant on the 31st floor of London’s iconic Shard building. At 309.6 metres tall, The Shard is officially the tallest building in western Europe. It’s become synonymous with your Sunday best, classy menus and sophisticated décor.
You don’t just pop into Aqua Shard – the whole experience is an occasion.
Is Aqua Shard a Michelin Star Restaurant?
The coveted Michelin star continues to elude Aqua Shard, but the rewards continue to roll in. In 2017 Aqua Shard took second place on Bookatable’s Top 50 Best Restaurants in London, pushing aside the likes of The Ritz and even Hutong at The Shard for the podium finish. In 2018 they took on OXO Tower Brasserie and walked away with the number 1 spot.
Aqua Shard’s favourite maître d’ David Boyd was also nominated in the inaugural GQ Food & Drink Awards in the best front-of-house category. This sky-high restaurant exudes excellence and Michelin-quality attention to detail – the star is undoubtedly not far off?
How expensive is Aqua Shard?
Look, if you’re dining out at The Shard, you’re looking to pay a pretty penny, but it’s all part of the top-class experience. The sample breakfast will cost you £29 per person, an average two-course lunch £31 per person with dinner coming in at about £35 for a main.
If you’re heading to Aqua Shard for dinner, you’ll likely spend about £70 per person, and that’s if you make the most of it with multiple courses and a cocktail or two. The three-course lunch menu at Aqua Shard comes in at £38 per person and by golly, is it worth every penny!
What to order at Aqua Shard?
Aqua Shard’s executive chef Dale Osbourne started in January 2016 and continues to take the menu to new heights. His Michelin background is littered with sparkling experience, and more importantly, he opened Dinner by Heston with Heston Blumenthal himself. Osbourne’s menu at Aqua Shard features Britain’s most exceptional seasonal fare with contemporary cooking and innovative flavour combinations.
My perfect dinner order calls for seafood at every turn. Starting with Cornish & King Crab followed by Gigha halibut or Brixham monkish and a generous side of Tiptoe Farm potato mash. Oh and perhaps some Sand carrots served with granola and Dorstine goat’s curd – two of my favourite things!
Top it off with the famous chocolate and toffee tart, and you’ve hit the nail on the head. While the seafood is seamless – the lamb wellington is also worth a go! Served with green herbs, black olive and gravy, it’s buttery perfection.
For an all-round unforgettable culinary experience, book the Chef’s Seasonal Tasting Menu. Four courses of perfectly executed British cuisine with a modern twist.
Can you enter the Aqua Shard Bar for free?
There is no payment required to get into the Shard bar. All you have to do is order at least one drink, at the atrium bar and you’re welcome to make yourself at home. If you’re hoping for a window seat, try to get there a little earlier – they’re in high demand.
Do you need to book at Aqua Shard Bar for drinks?
You don’t need to make a booking to enjoy some decadent cocktails at Aqua Shard Bar. In fact, the bar operates on a walk-in basis only and reservations aren’t taken. Keep in mind that walk-ins are subject to capacity.
If you’re set on getting a picture-perfect table near the window, you may find yourself waiting around for a bit. But trust me when I say that wherever you sit, you’ll have spectacular views.
Can you wear jeans for Aqua Shard?
The dress code is smart casual, but I would err on the side of caution. Men can get away with smart jeans paired with a shirt and dress shoes, and for the ladies, a formal pair of black jeans will pass. Absolutely no shorts, flip-flops, sports kit or sports shoes allowed. If in doubt, dress it up a little and leave your kicks at home.
Is Aqua Shard Halal?
Unfortunately, none of the meat or poultry on the menu is Halal. However, there is plenty of vegetarian and seafood options to keep you more than satisfied. The pearl barley risotto and line-caught sea bass are arguable the best dishes on the dinner menu!
For fine-dining Halal cuisine, take a look at our list of the best Halal restaurants in London.
How much is Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard?
Afternoon tea at Aqua Shard is an occasion, an institution of silliness and fun all at the whopping price of £42. Today they offer a Mary Poppins themed afternoon tea – a welcome blast from the past for many of us.
Throw in some champagne (why wouldn’t you?) and it’ll be £55 with Ruinart Rose Champagne taking it to £67. It’s not a cheap afternoon out, but then again, it’s not your usual cucumber sandwiches and Earl Grey is it?
For more on what to expect, have a look at our article on all of The Shard’s afternoon tea.
How to Get into Aqua Shard
There are a number of entrances to The Shard, so for the correct entrance, ask one of the helpful door staff. Once you are inside The Shard building, you’ll be directed to the dazzling lifts. You don’t need to press any buttons – it will automatically take you to the correct level at speeds of up to 6 metres a second. Enjoy your Willy Wonka moment as you zoom up the glass elevator to level 31.
Gaining access to Aqua Shard is like a fantastical leap into another world. One with dark, oak flooring and seamless windows as far as the eye can see.
Are children allowed in Aqua Shard?
The Shard restaurant allows children any time. The bar differs slightly with children only allowed before 6:00 pm with last entry at 5:00 pm. Aqua Shard runs a tight ship checking all patrons for ID on arrival on the ground floor and again on level 31. Don’t forget to bring yours along!
Whether it’s breakfast, dinner or a boozy brunch, Aqua Shard has some of London’s most fabulous views. The place really has a sense of occasion, making it the perfect spot to celebrate an anniversary, birthday or simply the fact that it’s the weekend.
On the hunt for more amazing places to dine? Have a look at our list of the best restaurants in London.