Drone Filming/Photography - The Shard

Hi all,

Does anyone have any experience drone filming the Shard in London. I have a client who is keen for me to try and get 20+ shots of the Shard from different angles, wides and Med/CU shots. Just wondering if anyone has experience of doing this. We will also approach the Shard management as well for permissions - but just wondering if there are any good TOAL areas and any protocols that people have had to navigate (permissions, RAs, etc) that I could learn from. Also, any spots that are free to TOAL from and are safer for wider shots. Much appreciated.

Many thanks,

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I’m not saying it’s not impossible but your inside a restricted area and the shard is a lot higher than your allowed to fly 309m that’s over 1000ft. Don’t know if a drone is the best choice or their trying to do it the cheapest way. Someone here would know a lot more

The drone code allows over flight of tall buildings above our legal height. I’d assume permission to fly in the FRZ would need to be obtained from the relevant people as well.

A friend of mine works for the drone co and they often fly in London. it’s definitely possible with the right hoops to jump through first. :+1:t2:

Even to an excessive amount of 600ft?
I’d be interested to know how you get permission and planning to do this even for a commercial purpose.


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Hope your using a decent drone to complete with wind and gusts around structures and how do you deal with VLoS at that height, im keen to know as taking on a job like that surely it’s got to be a way of preventing everyone else doing it carelessly

I suppose when you think about it, they would rather a drone do the photo work nowadays in built up areas than an helicopter

Call the CAA and ask them :man_shrugging:t2:

Thanks for all the input everyone.

Lots of good info to take I to consideration.

First off, I wouldn’t be looking to overfly the Shard.

I just need to get several shots of it from a wide enough distance away that it’s all in frame.

Any closer up shots I just need to see a part of the building in the frame. So I could probably ou do it all under 400ft and maintaining VLOS.

Need to figure out how to go about getting permissions- any tips on that?



What is the purpose of the photos? If you are looking to get the entire building in then due to the size and shape you are looking more at a scene in which the shard features.

For the close up shots, how close are we talking? What is the smallest feature you want to photograph?

From whom? To do what? :thinking:

It’s video - and it’s for a production company making a documentary. We’ve filmed in the Shard so the client might actually have some contacts at the shard to help with this (am waiting to hear back from them).

You’re right, for wider shots I’d be looking to get a framing that included parts of London with the Shard in it. I’ve shot from Hermitage Gardens and you can get really wide framing with Shard, Thames, Tower of London and the City in the frame, but I’m keen to get a tad bit closer so that the building is mostly prominent with some London generic city in the back ground.

For close ups, I’d be happy with various angles that feature several floors and a bit of detail of the windows in the foreground and London in the background.

Hope that makes sense as a description.


I’d be flying a Mavic Mini 3 Pro (so sub 250g) with an A2CofC. Plus Commercial insurance. I think to start I’d need to reach out to Southwark Council as a first port of call. Also might need to notify the Shard (which I’m hoping our client has some access to). I can’t seem to find any public land near the Shard that will be ok for me to TOAL from that I could recce in the meantime. And if I can’t find anywhere public to TOAL near the Shard then I suppose I might have to look for access to some private land to TOAL from. But if anyone has ever done this around the Shard I’d be open to hearing your thoughts / tips and tricks.

Many Thanks,


I just had a look on the map to check out the surrounding area and found that one of our Club members had posted a flight report for September already :smiley:

I can’t seem to find any drone related policies on their web site, but I suspect like most other organisations, there’ll be a significant charge for a commercial flight. You might want to advise your client to get their wallet out :confused:

You don’t need to ask the Shard owners for permission to photograph or film their building, no more than you need to ask the King for permission to photograph Buckingham Palace with your mobile phone :blush:


Read this it may help.

I think for your wide shots there are enough options. Hermitage gardens North of the river and there are plenty of small parks to the South.

Your closer shots are going to be more difficult I think, as taking off from somewhere like Tabard Gardens means you will lose VLOS as you fly closer to the shard du to the surrounding buildings.

It might be worth scanning google maps and seeing if there are any suitable buildings with roof terraces. If you get in touch with the building operator you may be able to negotiate access which will give you an elevated site to TOAL and maintain VLOS and have little or no interruption from the public.

For example.


And of course you then have each London borough having their own set of rules which you need to look up and negotiate.

The tall structures rule only applies if “If the person or organisation responsible for a very tall structure over 105m asks you to carry out a task related to their structure”

So in this case, you can’t, sadly, fly over 400 ft. The Shard is just outside the restricted EGR158 area, so as long as you fly south of that zone (or get clearance to be in it, which takes a while) and take off from private land and you you can take off from publicly accessible private land unless you are asked to leave / or not to).

Southwark council by laws do outlaw take-off / landing from their open spaces

"30. No person shall cause any power-driven model aircraft to:

(a) take off or otherwise be released for flight or control the flight of such
an aircraft in the ground; or
(b) land in the ground without reasonable excuse."

Not sure about Southwark’s pavements though.

Drone code:

37. Flying over very tall structures

If the person or organisation responsible for a very tall structure over 105m asks you to carry out a task related to their structure, you’re allowed to fly higher than 120m (400ft). For example, if they ask you to take pictures for a survey.

You must never fly more than 15m above the structure.

Your drone or model aircraft must be within 50m of the structure horizontally when flying over 120m (400ft).

the original post said he was seeking permission from the structure owner.

hence my initial post.

Thanks all,

I feel like I’m getting closer to understanding what I can and can’t do and what I want to do. Just need to get some answers now from my client.

Will keep you all posted how I get on!



Good plan, but my point I was making is that you need more than the Shard’s permision, to fly over or very near it, the CAA requires to you have been asked by them “carry out a task related to their structure.”. So the permision has to be also that you’re asked to produce footage for them or do an inspection etc for them (if in theory you did want to fly over the shard).

I’m sure you get all this anyway, but many other people reading this thread (when I posted) would have assumed you’re just allowed to fly 15M above structures so hence making clear the complexities.