Dramatic video captures the moment lightning strikes the Shard during torrential downpour

After days of glorious sunshine in Britain, this is the moment the heavens opened - when lightning struck The Shard in central London.

As storms arrived in the capital on Thursday afternoon thunder, lightning and lashing rain sent pedestrians running for cover.

And those with their eyes trained to the skies managed to witness a spectacular sight - the 306m building being struck by a bolt of lightning.

Video footage sees the dark sky rumbling above the European Union's tallest building before a burst of light hits the top.

A photo of the London skyline with a lightning bolt striking the Shard, has been shared hundreds of times on Twitter.

Users marvelled at the unusual sight of the skyscraper in the photo taken by Michael Hoskinson. The 'Walkie Talkie' building can be seen in the corner of the landscape image.

Other photographers used their camera phones to capture the sudden torrential downpour.

The lifeboat crew of the Tower RNLI also snapped the moment lightning struck across the capital.

But the dramatic storm was over in less than half an hour - and sunny skies were visible again in London.

Heavy rain has affected other parts of the country - Twitter user DanJC managed to snap the moment lightning struck Gloucester.

This weekend will be a bank holiday washout for much of the country - less than a week after Britain basked in the sunshine on the hottest day of the year so far.

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