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London From Above
Member Name: MollyWH
Advantages: Excellent views of London, well priced
Disadvantages: The lines for queing can be long
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.
Summary: London From Above