The London Eye is a 135-metre high Ferris wheel located on the south bank of the Thames, just opposite Big Ben and the British Parliament building. It has become London’s most popular attraction, which usually means that a “flight” requires advance booking and often a queue. However, the experience (a ride, lasting about 30 minutes) is well worth it. It is one of the most visited attractions in London, receiving around 3.5 million visitors a year. Not to be missed, there are 360 degree panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, and it is possible to see up to 40 km away on a clear day!
The 32 vignettes, representing the 32 districts of London, have a capacity of 25 people each and take a full tour in about 30 minutes. Each capsule is suspended so that it is always vertical and the movement is so slow that it hardly feels like it is spinning. Inside each capsule there are shelves with an interactive guide that provides photos and information about the attractions and buildings you see.
The London Eye ticket includes a 4D movie, with aerial images of London (in 3D) and some special effects. The film is less than 5 minutes long and can be viewed before your “flight” on the Ferris wheel.
The London Eye originated from a design submitted by David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects in 1993 as part of a competition, sponsored by the Sunday Times and the Architectural Foundation of Great Britain, to create a new landmark to commemorate the millennium in London. Although no winner was declared, Marks and Barfield undertook the development of the project and found the site where the wheel now stands. Much of the funding was provided by British Airways. Construction began in 1998, and the wheel was mounted on the river in a horizontal position before being raised. The London Eye, as it was then known, was ceremonially “opened” by Prime Minister Tony Blairem on 31 December 1999, but did not welcome its first paying passenger until 9 March 2000. It was originally scheduled to be dismantled after five years, but was kept in place due to its continued popularity. In 2006, a decorative LED lighting system was installed to make the wheel more visible at night.
There is a counter and specially designed machines, usually without queues. It is recommended that you arrive 10 minutes early to collect your ticket.
If you have an appointment, you should arrive 30 minutes early, or 45 minutes if you wish to watch the film in 4D.
In the summer, on sunny weekends, public holidays and British school holidays, there may be a queue, but as tickets are sold by appointment, the wait is never more than 30-40 minutes.
Also be aware that the wait to enter the attraction is in an open area, so if it’s too cold or too hot, you’ll be in a bit of pain.
The ticket price is £24.5 27.5 euros, $33.3 on the website.
At the box office £31, €35, $42
How to get to the London Eye
In the heart of London, it is very easy to get to the London Eye. You can get off at Westminster tube station and cross the Westminster Bridge, or go to Waterloo station, already on the south bank of the Thames, and from there take a short walk to the attraction.
Nearest tube stations: Westminster, Embankment, Waterloo, Charing Cross. By bus 211, 77 and 381
Opening times: In winter the London Eye is open from 10am to 8.30pm, in summer until 9.30pm.
Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7PB