London Eye is now sponsored by EDF Energy rather than British Airways but it remains a great way to view London. We walked from Westminster which meant that we could take in the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben en route.
We booked on line which gives you a 20% discount but also means you don't have to queue to buy tickets. A family of four ticket costs just over £50. There is still a queue for ticket holders. The 'pre-flight' information said to allow 30 minutes but in fact the queue moved quickly and we were through in 20 minutes despite it being a gloriously sunny and clear Sunday morning. There were also entertainers on hand to make queuing time go quicker.
The flight takes about half an hour and does give spectacular views of London in all its glory. We bought a panorama guide for £1; not really necessary as there are screens in the capsule which identify all the landmarks but it makes a nice momento of the day. You can of course get a photo of yourself on the capsule or there's another opportunity for an official photo at the 4D experience. However at £20 a shot, we decided to take our own photos!
The 4D experience is in the ticket booking hall and if you're not in a hurry is worth taking the 10-15 minutes to see it. A cute 3D film with the added fourth dimension of smoke and bubbles.
The British Airways London Eye is the tallest structure in London and looks just like a large Ferris Wheel. It is called the British Airways London Eye because British Airways have sponsored this attraction since 1996.
The London Eye is situated pretty much in the middle of London on the South Bank of the River Thames. The London Eye is actually about a 3 minute walk from Westminster tube station and Waterloo main station so I would say this attraction is extremely easy to get to whatever your mode of transport.
There are several ways in which to get tickets. You can buy them online, and collect them from the ticket office, or you can book them on the day at the ticket office. You can also book through the automated 24 hour booking line. The ticket office is located inside the County Hall and to the left of the entrance to the London Eye ride. I always find the queue here, although sometimes long, does move quickly. Quick tip, if you book online at least 24 hours before you go, you get a discount and can actually pre-book the time of your flight which is convenient for people on a timescale as it saves you waiting around once you get there.
A trip on the London Eye is referred to as a flight and I assume this is something to do with is being sponsored by British Airways. The London Eye is made up from capsules, with each capsule holding about 25 so you will more than likely be in the capsule with other people not in your party. These capsules can also be hired out for special events such as weddings.
Once inside the capsule, you will notice that in the middle there is a large bench which seats around 15 people, meaning that you have the option to either sit or stand during your flight. The entire sides of the capsule are made from glass so there is plenty of room for all the passengers to take advantage of the views.
The complete flight lasts around 40 minutes which surprised me the first time I went on it as I assumed it would only be a short trip. The wheel does move slowly, but it is odd because it doesnt actually feel like you are moving. Once you are about halfway up on one side of the wheel, you can begin to take in the lovely views across London; the views from the very top are stunning. From inside the capsule, you can view many of Londons main attractions which include places like Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament including the Big Ben Tower, Westminster Abbey, St Pauls Cathedral, The River Thames, The Gherkin Office block, County Hall, St Thomas Hospital and the Serpentine River in St James Park just to name a few.
There are some great chances to take photos across the City of London and personally one of my favourite views was of the River Thames. My only grumble was that the glass surrounding the capsule was a little bit grubby and the marks show up in your photographs. Also, if you take the flight on a cloudy day, your flash will activate and you will just get glare from the glass.
At the end of the flight, just before you get out of the capsule there is a camera which takes your photo as you go past. There is an announcement just before you get to the photograph spot. These photos are then offered out to you as you exit. They charge £8 a photo which is fairly reasonable.
Would I recommend it?
I would definitely recommend this attraction to anyone visiting London. I must admit that I didnt think I would be that impressed by the views, but once we were at the top it was great fun pointing out all the other attractions you can see, and just taking the time to view the City of London from up above.
The experience is unique and one I would highly recommend.
On my first visit to London I was made to go on the London eye because my anty had always wanted to go on it.
When we got their we went to buy tickets which meant standing in a long queue. We bought the tickets which were quite expensive and then joined the queue to get on.
Waiting to get on felt like ages as the queue felt like it went on for miles.
When we got in the capsule there wasn't enough seats for everyone so a lot of people were either really squashed or stood up. From then on was the longest most boring half an hour of my life. The wheel went around so slow it just as well have been stopped.
The view included people standing in front of us, grass, buildings and water. All of which I could have seen on the plane home.
Hours later (or so it felt) we were near the bottom. As the doors opened everyone pushed and shoved there way out the door whilst it was still moving.
When we finally got off we had to rush to the hotel as it took so long we missed out on food and barely got to Mamma Mia on time.
Won't be going on that again.
We live close to London and I think we take it for granted sometimes, so last month I decided to take the family for a 'tourist day' in London to see the sights! Our first stop was the London Eye...
==About the London Eye==
The London Eye is a giant big wheel/ferris wheel that was constructed in 1999 and first opened to the public in 2000. It is the biggest wheel in the world and is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames. The London Eye is 135 metres (443 feet) tall and 120 metres (394 feet) wide. It is a very popular tourist attraction and pulls in 3.5 million people every year. The London Eye has previously been called the British Airways London Eye, The Merlin Entertainments London Eye but since January 2011 is called the EDF Energy London Eye following a 3 year sponsorship deal with EDF Energy. The Eye is beautifully lit up by LED lights at night.
We got off the underground at Waterloo which I think is the closest station to the London Eye (Charing Cross is also close). There were signs to the Eye so we knew where to go and it was only a few minutes walk away.
You can't miss the Eye, it's huge! We tried to take some photos but some stupidly placed trees were in the way, you can probably get a better photo from the other side of the river or from the Westminster Bridge. The London Eye is right next to the London Aquarium, Westminster Bridge and The Houses of Parliament. We visited in the half term holidays and it was very busy.
I had used Avios (formally Airmiles) to pay for our London Eye experience. Before we could board the Eye, we had to visit the ticket office opposite. We swapped our Avios vouchers for London Eye tickets - the queue was fairly long but went down quickly. Standard ticket prices are normally £18.90 for adults, £9.90 for children (4-15 years), £15.00 for seniors, £57.60 for a family of 4 and free for under 4 year olds. You can save 10% on single tickets and 20% on family tickets if you book online prior to your visit. Higher priced Flexi tickets, Fast Track tickets, Combination tickets and Champagne Experience etc are also available. In my opinion ticket prices are quite expensive, especially if you have a whole family to pay for. The London Eye is open all year round but it's best to check the website before planning a visit.
Inside of the ticket office building is a 4D experience which was included in the price of our tickets. We decided to give it a miss and we thought our daughter would get bored, although afterwards I was informed that the 4D experience is quite enjoyable - typical! It is also worth picking up a London Eye 360 View Guidebook (£1.00) which is full of interesting information and can be used to pin point landmarks, plus keep as a souvenir.
The queue for the London Eye was very big, we were dreading it. However we only ended up queueing for about 20-30 minutes and it seemed to go very quickly as the queue was constantly moving. There was also a lady selling snacks and drinks in the queue which helped! We also had to go through some security checks as we got close to the front of the queue.
The London Eye has 32 'capsules' (which represent the 32 boroughs of London) which comfortably fit about 25 people inside each. The capsules are completely clear (although there are some panels on floor if you'd prefer to stand on those!) to give you a full 360 view over London. They are air conditioned and have a bench in the middle for those wanting to sit down. The Eye moves very slowly and each ride (one whole spin) takes about 30 minutes - plenty of time to soak up the views and also allows visitors to enter and exit the capsules without the wheel having to stop.
At first I did feel a bit ill! It's best to look outwards rather than downwards if you're not fond of heights! However I got over my fear pretty quickly as I was busy spotting landmarks and taking photos etc. The views are stunning, we could see really far over London. Apparently on clear days you can see as far as Windsor Castle! We visited on a dry but cloudy day. Landmarks which we spotted without the help of the guidebook included Buckingham Palace, Battersea Power Station and London Bridge. The capsule had an electronic guidebook but we didn't use it as our guidebook was helpful enough. I didn't know how my young daughter would react but she really enjoyed herself and absolutely loved seeing Big Ben up close! Although the wheel took quite a long time to go round, it went really fast as we were so preoccupied.
On the way down (not far from the bottom) is where you automatically get your photo taken. Although only a small part of the capsule fits in to the photo, so if you want to be in the photo you have to make sure you're in the 'photo area' which is mapped out on the floor inside the capsule! We decided not to purchase our photo as there were so many strangers in it, although we did manage to take lots of photos inside the capsule so weren't too disappointed. After you exit the capsule you are greeted by a London Eye gift shop with all the London Eye essentials!
Overall we all had a lovely visit to the London Eye. It was great to be in the heart of London and see the city from a completley different perspective. We have some great photos and memories from our visit. I would recommend the London Eye to others, however I doubt it's something that we will do again... not in the foreseeable future anyway - it's more of a 'one time' thing, especially for the price charged!
**THE LONDON EYE***
The London eye is just a short walk from London Waterloo station. It opened in March 2000 and has since then become an iconic landmark. The eye just looks like a giant Ferris wheel with clear pod's on the outer edge enabling you to see the beautiful views of London as you go round. Many people I know have been on the London eye but for me this was going to be my first time on it and I'm not a huge fan of heights so was feeling rather nervous. The eye is the tallest observation wheel in the world with a height of 135 metres which weighs over 2000 metric tonnes. The eye looks beautiful at night, when it's lit up in beautiful blue lights and can be seen from great distances.
***HOW TO GET THERE***
You can get to the London eye my train, tube, bus, coach, car or boat. All their directions are located on their website which is www.londoneye.com . I caught the train from my local town straight to London Waterloo, and the eye was just a short walk from there, so there was no need to get a tube or any other public transport.
I had a combination ticket which was purchased during a visit to Madame Tussauds, and also included the London Eye and the London Aquarium. You can book tickets online which will save you approximately £2.00. For an adult it will cost you £16.74, which is for a standard ticket. This does not include any queue jump. To buy a fast track ticket it will cost approximately £25.65, which means you get to bypass the majority of the queues. It's well worth buying your tickets in advance as there are often long queues to purchase tickets.
***THE 4D EXPERIENCE***
Included in your ticket for the London eye is the 4D experience. This is optional, and you don't have to watch this short film. You are asked to take a pair of black glasses from the box and then form an orderly queue in three separate lines. When enough people are ready to watch the experience a door opens and you are taken into a room with a large screen. There are no seats, how-ever there is a metal bar which runs along which you can perch on and rest your back against the glass panelling. The 4d experience is amazing and I would highly recommend taking advantage of the free viewing with your ticket. It's a spectacular 3d film with in theatre effects such as bubbles, wind and mist to add to the dimension. Although this film lasted only a few minutes it was brilliant and I would have happily seen it again.
We didn't have to queue for long before waiting to go onto the eye. They do a bag search and frisk search on everyone, before you queue for the wheel. We queued for a total of about 3-4 minutes to get onto the eye. This is probably because we visited the eye during a school week which made it less busy. You are asked to form 2 separate queues ready to go jump into the capsule. The wheel itself moves all the time, unless there is a disabled customer then it will stop briefly to allow them on and off. You are asked to walk up to the capsule and get in it, whilst it's moving. As it doesn't move very fast this is easy to do. The doors are sealed/locked and then the wheel will slowly take your capsule up into the air. The capsule itself holds approximately 20 people and is a lot bigger than I imagined. There is a seating area in the middle how-ever; it's not big enough to seat everyone. Although I'm scared of heights I felt safer gripping onto the bars on the side of the capsule as I felt a lot safer. As the wheel got higher, everything below seemed to be getting smaller and the people below on the ground were soon small dots. It took me a little while to let go of the bar round the edge of the capsule, but then I just looked out at the views and enjoyed taking pictures. I did move around the capsule so I could see different buildings around London. You can see Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral the old Post Office Tower and more. The ride takes about 35 minutes to complete a whole circuit, and as you get towards the end you can stand in the allocated section in the capsule and it will take your picture which you can collect after-wards for a price. It was easy to get off the wheel and as soon as you walk off, you go to the small shop which is where you can view your photo. You can purchase this in a photograph, key ring or fridge magnet. Prices do vary for these. You can also get other memorabilia from here as well, to say that you have visited and been on the London Eye.
Although I was quite scared of going on this to start off with, I actually really enjoyed it. Luckily when I went on the eye it was only a little cloudy, so the views were quite good. I don't think I would go on here again, unless it was a summer evening when the sun was setting. I think this is a one-time experience really and once you've been on it once, there's nothing new to see. I would recommend other's going on this. Just so you can say that you've been on it and so you can get some beautiful pictures as well. The only down-side to the eye is, if you feel ill or sick, you can't get off of the ride so you do have to be sure that you really want to go on the ride and that you feel fine before you go on. There's nothing worse than being stuck high up in the air in a capsule with strangers, when you are feeling ill. I give the London Eye 3 out of 5 stars because it's a nice experience which lasts just long enough and the 4D experience before-hand is also really good. I won't give it anymore stars than that as it's a one-time experience thing.
(review may also appear on ciao)
What ever you do, dont go on the london eye! not only is it an eye sore in london, it has ruined my life for the past 6yrs! I will never go on it again and never recommend it!
The whole "trip" takes about 20mins to go round, it's great for seeing london from high up, no good if you suffer from vertigo! The queue to get on was quite long but it moved quickly, so not much waiting around!
It's not that cheap to go on either, I can't remember how much it was but everyone i was with didn't enjoy the trip.
I reason i hate it is that, since only on it i have become claustroprobic, someone i was with in the dome thing has a panic attack and was sick and we couldnt get out as we were at the top..... so since i've got off it its ruined my life!
I guess its good to experience once (in my life not) and great for tourists, and i would guess its more busy in the summer months. but not an experience i wish to repeat.
On a visit to London last year, a friend and I decided we'd go on the London eye. As I'm a student, I was ready to hand over my NUS card to get discount off, but unfortunately it wasn't accepted. The cost of the 'flight' was around £19 which included a 4D video experience.
Once we had paid we went to queue at the viewing room. The wait wasn't too long until we were able to go in. Unfortunately there was no seating, which was a little annoying, because after trapsing around London all day your feet are aching. The viewing was quite good. You were given your 3D glasses, and then the door was closed and it began. There were things like bubbles on the screen which was actually foam floating around the room; it was rather quite good for a 4D viewing, just for the experience.
After, we were sent to queue outside for the London eye. The queue was a little long, but we went in term time so it wasn't an unacceptable amount of time to queue. There were the usual tourists though, but you've got to expect that when you're in London, especially considering we were tourists too.
On boarding the capsule, it was a little scary as the capsule itself doesn't stop to let people on or off, it just continues moving very slowly at the speed it goes round. This is a little disconcerting, but we managed to get on anyway. You can pay to have a private capsule, but at the cost of around £19, it's not really worth it unless you're in it to pop the question or something like that. So we were in the capsule with a number of people, which wasn't too bad, although you couldn't always get a picture without someones arm in it. The plus side to having people in the capsule with you is that they ask you to take a photo of them, so then you can expect them to take a photo of you and your party. The added number of people meant that not everyone could be seated on the central seat which was slightly annoying, as once again, achey legs from walking around meant you kind of wanted to sit down.
The view from the London eye gets better as you go up. Towards the bottom you can only see the things in close proximity like the river, Big Ben, etc, but as you get higher you can see quite a lot of London itself. As I don't live in London or know much about it I didn't really know where places were, however, I did spot E4's giant Udderbelly festival. It was quite nice.
Once the wheel comes to the end of it's cycle, you are prompted that they are going to take a photo of your pod. I can't remember how much the photo was, but to be honest, I didn't think it was worth it.
Overall, I was a little disappointed with the London eye experience. I thought it was going to be really great, but it wasn't. I think it's one of those things you just have to do to say that you've done it. I won't be doing it again, especially for £19. Perhaps if it was only £10, I might go on again.
The London Eye is situated along London's South Bank by the Thames. The nearest train station is Waterloo, where you can also get the tube on the Jubilee, Northern and Bakerloo lines.
It was built in 1999 for the new millennium, as part of a big architectural project that included the Millenium Dome (now called The O2 after being bought out by the giant mobile phone corporation).
Obviously, it's basically a ferris wheel, and was the biggest in the world until 2006 when the Star of Nanchang, a monster, was built in China. The London Eye is 443 feet tall.
There are 32 capsules around the wheel which carry 25 people each. For your money, (about £19 standard) you get one revolution of the wheel, which takes about 30 minutes. You get some great, panoramic views of London.
A standard trip means you're with 24 other passengers who tend to be strangers from the queue, unless you're prepared to pay almost twice the amount for your own private capsule.
I went on the London Eye in the early afternoon of my 24th birthday on the 6th May this year. I got it as part of a deal, which included a trip to the London Aquarium. So I got it a few pounds cheaper but it was still expensive. I'd been living in London for over a year, and having never gone on it before, I decided it was time to pop my London Eye cherry.
The queue was horrendous. It took at least 30 minutes, the same amount of time as the rotation of the wheel. We were herded around zig-zag barriers like cattle and then similarly shoved onto the capsule. I was half-expecting for one of the staff to approach us with a red-hot poker for branding.
I was with my boyfriend at the time so it was a little romantic but the romance was kind of hampered by the 23 other people in the capsule including children and foreign tourists.
The views were incredible. The height is amazing; people on the ground are like little dots and it's great to see the boats going by on the river, like tiny paper boats.
As we were nearing ground level again, our picture was taken by the wheel. We had ample warning of this via the tannoy system so were able to pose.
At the end of our rotation, we went to look at our photo. They expected us to pay £4 for a copy. We decided against it and to be content with the snaps we got on our mobile phones!
It's definitely something everyone's got to try when they're in London for a while. It's a good experience but it's definitely not worth £19, even with the photo included in the price. I think it's just a rip-off device for getting tourists' money. And I wouldn't go on it again. The big wheel at my local funfair only costs £2. So I think about a fiver is reasonable for the London Eye. The Aquarium on the other hand, is worth £19 and I will be visiting it again and again.
I also think the way they call it a 'flight' is a bit of a con. It's not an aeroplane. Now, a London Aeroplane is something I wouldn't mind trying...
Individual Price On the Day Online Prices from
Adults (16 Plus) £17.95 £10.00
Child (4-15 years) £9.50 £5.00
Child (Under 4) FREE FREE
Senior £14.30 £10.00
Family of Four** - £30.00
Flexi Standard Flight (if you aren't sure what time you want to go)
Prices Online Price
Adult (16 Plus) £18.90
Child (4-15 years) £11.25
Child (Under 4) FREE
Family of Four* £53.60
October to March
daily 10.00am - 8.00pm
daily 10.00am - 9.00pm
May and June
Sundays to Thursday
10.00am - 9.00pm
Friday and Saturday
10.00am - 9.30pm
July and August
daily 10.00am - 9.30pm
daily 10.00am - 9.00pm
This is one of London's most iconic landmark. After having read about it and heard about it, I finally got the chance to see it last Winter. It is one of the most stunning things ever, especially at night when all the lights are on, so I can only imagine what it would be like at Christmas. Truly magical.
A 'flight' on the London Eye lasts around half an hour with breathtaking views including the River Thames and Buckingham Palace. There are 31 capsules, each capsule holding up to around 20+ people.
For a standard flight, it is £17.95 for an adult and £9.50 for a child (4-15). Tickets purchased online are slightly cheaper. Children under the age of 4 can go free.
Fast track tickets are also avilable to purchase online to beat the queues, although the prices of these tickets are considerably higher.
Champagne flights are avilable for around £33 an adult. Children are also allowed on but are obviously not allowed to have any alcoholic drinks. Champagne flights are ideal for couples or special occasions.
If you are travelling from outside of London, then Waterloo station is within walking distance to the London Eye.
You can get your photo taken whilst you are inside the capsule on the London Eye so look out for the camera located on one side of the capsule. I totally missed it when I went so I didn't manage to get a picture. Well, not of my face anyway.
They do tell you when they take the photo, however, if your capsule is noisy, you may not hear it. Also, remember to look at the massive camera, not the CCTV looking thing to the right of it.
A must see and you should definitely incorporate this into your plans if you are visiting London.
The London Eye is one of the UK capital's most striking landmarks. It's a relatively new construction - only opening to the general public in 2000. Located across the Thames, away from the Houses of Parliament, it offers unparalled views over greater London.
With prices starting at £14.30, it's not the cheapest (and not as cheap as it's been either - when I visited it was only £11) - but this is not any ordinary ferris wheel!
There are 32 capsules, and each one can hold up to 25 people. So forget the notion of a regular ferris wheel that can only hold between 2-6 people per compartment - inside each capsule is a good amount of space, meaning you can move around, sit down, chat to friends, or take photographs largely unobstructed.
The views it offers are great. London may not be the most impressive city from the air, but it does have some world famous landmarks that are good to capture from such a height. The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, for example, are just across the river.
Naturally it depends on the weather. The one and only time I went up the London Eye, it was grey and overcast. Nonetheless I did get some great views and photographs.
The whole wheel moves at a very slow pace, and the overall ride lasts about 30 minutes. This means only one revolution, but in truth this is more than enough to see everything you'd want. It goes without saying though, that towards the start and end your view will get worse, so take advantage when your capsule does reach the top, as this will literally be the climax of the experience.
In conclusion I'd rate the London Eye as a decent tourist attraction. It's possible to go to London and not see it without missing out, but if you have some extra time and a little additonal money, by all means try it out - especially if it's either at night time, sunset, or on a bright clear day.
I went to this only a few days ago, having first gone on a 'big wheel' in Singapore. It was night time then, and the many high rise office towers complimented the 'mood lighting' of the tree lined avenue leading up to the attraction. Much is made of the 'flight' you are about to embark upon, everything was slick and the views were nice, but in essence what you have is a giant fair ground big wheel.
The London Eye was only ever supposed to be in place for a limited time. Erected in 1999 prior to the Millennium Celebrations, it subsequently proved to be enormously popular, and remains in place over 10 years later. I suspect this has a lot to do with its prime location on the banks of the River Thames, opposite the House of Parliament and Big Ben. It is owned currently by the Merlin Entertainments group, who also own the adjoining London Aquarium (amongst other major attractions). I suspect a lot of trade is generated from the 'multi - pass' options that allow you to combine Merlin Attractions and save money. This was how I came to be on the London eye this past Friday, as I hold a Merlin Entertainments Group annual pass. I think it is fair to say that I wouldn't have gone otherwise, as even though the price is around £8-10 (online, for a single 'flight' and per person), it had been in place for over 10 years before I got around to venturing on it. I was out to see the London Dungeon and the Aquarium, so took the opportunity to see the Eye whilst doing them both.
When you pitch up at the location, there is a long boulevard of trees framing the Ferris wheel, and you have the option to queue with your pre-paid ticket or purchase one at the ticket booth. You will be assailed with options to have a '4D experience' (cinema viewing and ride) as well as various other options like champagne flight, private trip, trip for two or fast track queuing. I and my partner joined the queue and within 15 minutes were at the security point. The weather was overcast and the hour was late, so the queue was mercifully short. I am told that on school holidays, weekends and during the summer months the queuing time can be off-putting , and I think my experience would have been horrendous had I been queuing for a long time. Luckily this was not the case, and just prior to the security check a staff member scanned our passes and our bags were then given a very cursory security check. I was asked by the security guard if I was carrying a pocket knife. Somewhat of a bizarre question given that this is an unusual item to be carrying in public, but I guess that with the 'knife culture' prevalent in London this is not as unusual a circumstance as I would expect. Directly after security you have a chance to buy some over priced last minute sweets, crisps and drinks and then it's 'how many are flying', before you are ushering into a moving pod and the experience begins.
There is a wooden bench in the centre and enough space for 12 or so people. Only a few of the elder passengers and people with small children sat down though, and everyone else aimed for the opposite side of the capsule. That is where the 'best' view is. To your roughly 9 o'clock is the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben - easily the most obvious attraction on view. All around you can see London sprawling into the distance, but I found it more interesting watching for aircraft and helicopters. Indeed, I was the first to spot a British Military Chinook as it came swooping past and did a quick circle of Big Ben before heading west.
The flight duration is about 30 minutes, but to be honest I was a tad bored after 10. There are only so many photos' you can get of the same view, despite my partners' attempt at taken hundreds! There is ample room in the capsule, but I found that everybody wants to be photographed in the same place, so there is a bit of gentle pushing and shoving, with 'excuse me' being the operative phrase. Just before the ride ends you are ushered into the right hand side 'corners' (or curvatures, to be accurate when describing a capsule) for the obligatory 'I was on the London Eye and paid a lot for my photograph' photograph. If you can be bothered, obviously. Then it's a 'welcome back' from the staff on the platform and you step off, turn right, and walk straight into the gift shop.
It is fair to say that I wouldn't have gone to see the London Eye if I hadn't been specifically in London to see the London Dungeon and the London Aquarium Sea Life Centre. I hadn't been to either before. But seeing as I had already paid £20 - something to see the Singapore flier and been only mildly impressed doing the 'largest big wheel in the world', I was less excited experiencing the 'biggest wheel in Europe'. But obviously I am not the core market here. I work in the travel sector and know that Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye are the most regularly stated attractions for tourists coming here, aside from Buckingham Palace. I doubt there are any Brits who go back to the London Eye for frequent 'flying', but I could be wrong. And as I have the Merlin annual pass I could well be doing it again before its expiry. But only if I am in the area. And I certainly won't be queuing for 1 hour as a colleague of mine told me he did a couple of years ago during summer.
Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen an overcast day to do it, but visibility was good nonetheless.
The Price list as of today for the standard flight is £17.88 (adult), £14.30 (child) if you pay on the day, but significant savings are to be had online and for group bookings. £10 anniversary flights are available, but only for specific timeslots.
Fast Track costs £27.88 for both adults and children and £22.30 online.
A champagne flight costs £33 and £26.40 online.
The Merlin Entertainments London Eye was built in 1999 and is the largest Ferris Wheel in Europe. We decided to try it out because I was interested in the view of London it would offer. We booked our tickets online at the hotel before we went and saved 20% on the usual ticket price, details of which I'll list below.
It's fairly to easy to get to London Eye. It is a 5 minute walk from Waterloo Station and is well signposted. Follow signs for South Bank when you leave the station. The ticket office can be found inside the County Hall.
Having arrived at the Eye, we were both very excited. We were told that the 'flight' (ride) was around 30 mins long. We wondered if this would be long enough to see everything. We queued for abut 25 mins and I'm told this was good for a Sunday.
Before we actually rode, we enjoyed the 4D Experience. I don't want to spoil anything for you but it was almost as good as the flight itself. It was unique to say the least.
The views from the pod were exceptional. For the whole 30 mins, we tried to pick out various landmarks and generally stared in awe.
The prices are, to me, the major negative. For a 30 minute standard flight, the prices are quite extortionate.
Latest prices taken from official website
On the Day Online Price Save
Adults (16 Plus) £17.88 £14.30 20%
Child (4-15 years) £9.50 £7.60 20%
Child (Under 4) FREE FREE -
Senior (60 Plus) £14.30 £11.40 20%
Disabled £14.30 - -
Family of Four** £49.28 £39.44 20%
For other kinds of tickets such as champagne flights or fast track, you can expect to pay even more.
For information of Disability access, visit http://www.londoneye.co.uk/VisitorInformation/DisabledGuests/Default.aspx
Would I recommend it? Maybe. The view is very good but the prices may just put you off.
As a surprise birthday treat for my husband, I decided I would book the London Eye as it was something both of us had never done before and we definitely wanted to give it a go.
There are various ticket options and as this was a special occasion I wanted to do something a bit different.
The ticket options range from the cheapest which is the standard ticket (approx £14 per adult) where you can either book online or turn up and pay on the day, to the most expensive which is a Private Capsule where champagne and canapés are served. It's usually about 20% cheaper to book tickets online
I had initially looked at a Private Capsule as they have an option called Cupid's Capsule, this is for a maximum of 2 adults and you receive a bottle of Champagne, I thought this would be lovely experience but the price of this was £299! As I had already arranged a few other things for us to do in London over the weekend I couldn't really justify the price of this so I opted for the Champagne Flight.
The cost of this to book online is £26.40 per person and includes a glass of champagne each, you can also book an additional glass for an extra £8 each, which of course I did as 1 glass of champagne is never enough!
With the Champagne Flight option you get to check-in a lot quicker and there's no real queuing. You really get the sense of feeling a bit special as you board before others on the Standard Flights and you have your own personal host who has a wicker picnic basket containing champagne and glasses. When we were on our flight there were only approx another dozen people, so I assume these are a lot these crowded than the Standard Flights. The host who is with you on the flight will serve your Champagne and will try and answer any questions you have about the Wheel itself or views from the wheel.
The flight takes approximately 30 minutes and you hardly feel as though you are moving at all, which was quite a relief as I did become slightly apprehensive just as I was about to board.
You have a 360 degree view from each capsule and on a good day apparently you can see as far a Windsor Castle, unfortunately this was not the case on the day we were there. It was slightly overcast but the views were still exceptional.
The London Eye is located on the South Bank just opposite the Houses of Parliament and is easy to get to from several tube stations including Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster.
For something a bit different to do when visiting London I would certainly recommend it.
I have been on the London Eye.
When I went on it, it cost about £10 and it took around 30 or so minutes to go around it.
It is a huge round wheel with pods what people go into to view London from the air, each pod is quite big and it holds about 15 people or so, and you can see for miles from the pods and you can freely walk around it inside, you are not in a seat, but there is a large bench inside to sit on if need to, although alot of people are in the pod with you, it is still roomy enough to view from, it is not crowded as you would imagine when you first see it.
There is a queing system, although if you go at the right time it is not too long and the queue soon goes because alot of people go into one pod at a time, and so the queue reducing very quickly.
It can be pre booked and so then you can go to a different pay desk, although I did not do this I think you have to book a time to arrive there, which helps them and yourself, It is a good way to beat the queues and I myself have done that with alot of London attractions as to save waiting around and getting tired, and it is handy if you have children too.
Children would find this exellent as it is not as frightening as you would think, it is not like a big wheel at the fair, it is totally different and well worth price for London, although 30 minutes does not seem long enough it actually does not feel that short, it tends to feel alot longer than that.
It is well organised too and there is no pushing inside the pods.
Well worth a visit if you live or are visiting London
The London Eye was formly owned/run by British Airways and therefore riding around this giant wheel in the sky is known as a 'flight'. Now however, it is owned by Merlin Entertainment and has thier silly purple logo stuck on both sides of each pod. I have been on the London Eye five times now and I can tell you, it never gets boring.
Before you go on your flight you have to obtain a ticket. This can be a frustrating process as queues are generally large, even when you have purchased your ticket online prior to turning up. During the summer months especially it can take well over 30 mins to queue. Once you have queued for your tickets you then have to queue for your flight. Again this can be a very long wait during the summer. You have to balance out the worth of going on a nice day and risking big queues or going on a cloudy day when queues are likely to be shorter but the view will not be so good.
Well if you managed to get through all that waiting around your next task is getting through security and then entering a pod. The Eye does not stop unless there are wheelchair users or people with similar needs taking a flight. So you have to jump on while it is moving and Merlin, unlike British Airways, seem to want to cram as many people as possible onto one pod so this can sometimes be a challenge, getting on before the pod moves so far round the doors close.
The London Eye was orginally supposed to take 30 minutes to rotate once but each time I go on it it seems to take less and less time. This week I was on it for only 25 mins. If they keep cutting the time down soon you'll go round so fast you'll blink and miss all the sights.
When purchasing tickets you can also purchase a booklet that gives you a map of the skyline so you know what you are looking at, but this is expensive so I never bother. Plus, most things are easily recognisable anyway. There are compass headings inside each pod so you can orientate yourself. There is also a bench in the centre for those, like me, who get wobbly legs when on high buildings. I can tell you now though that this is not at all scary for people who are afraid of heights. The only thing that makes me nervous is when people go near the doors!
Now for some useful and not so useful facts:
*The London Eye is open daily from 10.00am
*It is 135m high and is suspended over the River Thames
*The nearest tube station is Waterloo, but getting off at Westminster is just as easy and you get to walk past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
*There are 32 pods.
These pods are slowly being replaced as the Eye is now ten years old. They hope to have each one replaced in time for the 2012 Olympics. So if you go for a flight and you happen to see one in the river like we did, don't worry, it hasn't fallen off!
A new event this year, which is included in the price of your ticket, is the 4D Experience. This is a 10 minute 3D film with in-theatre effects. They blow wind, bubbles, snow etc at you. This is really quite a clever little film that lets you follow the path of a bird across London, and gives you a taste of the cosmopolitan multi-cultural nature of our capital city. I saw it with a bunch of school children who screamed when things jumped out of the screen and reach out thier hands trying to catch the flying bird. It was cool!
Adults:£17.88 Children: £9.50
BUT... If you go between 10th and 31st March this year you can fly for only £10 adult and £5 children. Hurry hurry!!