Silent Discos have been growing steadily in popularity in recent years. To an outsider, they admittedly do look rather bizarre to see people singing and dancing to no audible music. I’ve been to a festival with a Silent Disco before which I didn’t partake in and it was quite weird to watch the participants and trying to guess which song they were listening to. I have long wanted to go up The Shard since I watched the inauguration laser light show of the building back in July 2012, but had held off due to the ticket price. However, when I heard there was an event taking place – a Silent Disco – I leaped at the chance to buy tickets, so finally visited this week.
In conjunction with Time Out, The View From The Shard – the viewing platforms on the 69th and 72nd floor – are hosting Silent Discos on selected dates monthly. Priced at £37.50, tickets include access to the floors over four hours and a pair of wireless headphones, which can pick up three different DJs and their mixes, depending on your taste. Upon arrival at reception, we put our coats in the cloakroom and were whizzed up to the 68th floor via two lifts, with a break halfway up the building. I had totally forgotten from the publicity at the time of The View From The Shard’s opening that the toilets have floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the City of London. I must admit I felt a sort of stage fright about using the facilities against a window – something I am sure many visitors feel a bit apprehensive about – until you remind yourself no one can see you at that height.
The main focus of the action was on the enclosed 69th floor viewing gallery. The three DJs were linked to three colours blue, green or red, so you could switch your wireless headphones to which one you wanted to listen to. Personally, I was a Team Blue girl – listening to dance anthems and old school soul and hip-hop, but did flirt with Team Green often throughout the evening. Whatever your music taste, there was definitely something for everyone. The clientele was a mix of 20 and 30somethings, mostly groups of friends, but some couples. There were several bars dotted around, with themed cocktails and champagne besides the usual spirits, wines and beers. We opted for £7 Mile High Cocktails (Vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry, lime topped with sparkling water and garnished with orange), which was refreshing and tasty. When I first arrived, I was a bit distracted by the view as it was my first time at The Shard. However, after taking in the sights at the 69th and open air platform on level 72 (which was rather freezing I must admit!), I was ready to ‘disco’. My apprehension about dancing to music through headphones soon vanished and soon my friend and I were singing along and dancing our feet off to the familiar tracks.
Music, dancing and drinking aside, the event is also an opportunity to enjoy the stunning 360 degree views of London at a height of up to 800ft, which are of course available all year round. The 69th floor includes interactive touchscreen telescopes so you can zoom in to your favourite landmarks. During the disco, we ended up finding a spot overlooking Tower Bridge and St Paul’s – a unique view for the average London dancefloor! Despite being at such a heady height, I must admit it didn’t actually feel as high as I expected. I thought the streets below would be even tinier, but you could easily identify buses, etc. Overall, my friend and I had a really good night out. There was a great atmosphere, really fun and friendly. The combination of dancing, great music, cocktails and the best view in London made for a unique and entertaining night out. Get tickets if you can!
- The View From The Shard. Tickets to regular viewing platform £24.95 in advance, £29.95 walk up price. Silent Disco tickets £37.50, available through Time Out London. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit The View From The Shard website.
When you’re in the area of The Shard, why not visit Borough Market?
Having grown up in London, the capital’s Zoo in Regent’s Park was an iconic destination during my childhood and holds many good memories. The bustling metropolis couldn’t be a less likely place to see tigers, lions, giraffes, etc. During adulthood, I only made one trip to London Zoo and was rather overwhelmed by the amount of families and school trips. As much as I love children, it was frustrating not being able to get anywhere near the animals due to the sheer volume of little people in between. So this is where London Zoo Lates comes in. The ZSL have clearly recognised this and every summer (June to July) for the past couple of years have opened their doors after-hours on Friday nights for adults only. There are limited tickets available, so make sure you snap them up early next summer.
Two friends and I went one warm summer evening – the night of the Olympics Opening Ceremony actually – and the atmosphere was buzzing. London was pretty hyped up anyway, but the combination of world food, entertainment, wild animals and alcohol seemed to make for a winning combination, giving the evening a festival-like feeling.
I was pleasantly surprised by the affordable prices of the alcohol and soon after arrival my friends and I were strolling through the aquarium with a bottle of cider in hand – quite surreal at first I have to admit. Bars were dotted around the zoo, but also included a Pimms Bar and Real Ale Bar. For food, there was a huge selection of choices at the ‘International Street Food Festival’ – I opted for a falafel and halloumi wrap and crepe with chocolate and strawberry for afters – yummy!
As well as getting an opportunity to enjoy the zoo without screaming children, there is also plenty of opportunity for guests to actually revert to childhood. Masks and animal costumes were available to buy, while there was a huge queue for face-painting (I confess I couldn’t quite bring myself to ride the tube home painted like a tiger – wimp!).
Just like in normal zoo opening hours, there were talks on various animals, including the Komodo dragons, Birds of Prey and, arguably one of the most popular spots in the zoo, Penguin Beach. There was also live music, a silent disco and stand-up comedy as well. In fact, I found there was actually too much to squeeze into the four hours it was open. Think I may have to go back next year!
- London Zoo Lates takes place every Friday night in June and July. Of course the zoo is open throughout the year as well. Located on Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), London NW1 4RY. Nearest tube: Camden Town (Northern Line) or Regent’s Park (Bakerloo Line).