While picturing the great city of London, many people invision the giant ferris wheel rotating proudly besides the Thames River (for the Americans in the room, that’s pronounced “Tems”…*said with mild sarcasm). An iconic part of the city and a great way to get a birds eye view, the London Eye can either attract or deter visitors. For those that shy away from visiting the 443′ tall ride, visiting this attraction feels too touristy, requires waiting in a long line with screaming children, or is too far from the ground. While all of those things may be true, the Eye is truly a great way to see the city from above. While I personally think the best way to see London is from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye is worth it just for the experience.
SOME FUN FACTS
- The London Eye is Europe’s tallest Ferris Wheel
- 3.75 million people visit the Eye annually
- Similar to Paris’ Eiffel Tower, the Eye wasn’t meant to be a permanent part of the London skyline. The original plans had the Eye standing on Lambeth’s Council for only five years.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Expect to pay between £20-40 depending on your age and the time of year (packages are also available for purchase which will increase the price). To buy tickets, visit the London Eye website here. There is a student discount available (which I took advantage of in order to save over 40%). When you buy the ticket online, select the student ticket. Upon collection of your ticket, you will need to have a valid student ID with you (I had a UK student ID, ask before you go if a US ID will work…some places in the UK do not accept US student IDs).
Opening times vary so be sure to check before you go. It typically opens between 10 or 11 and closes around 18:00-20:30. The Eye takes 30 minutes to complete a full rotation. You will have to collect your tickets if you purchased online (highly recommend) and then you will have to wait in a security/ride que. Even after ordering my ticket online, it took about 30 minutes to collect my ticket and wait in line before getting in the pod. View the hours of operation schedule here.
EXPERIENCE: WHAT TO EXPECT
After you make it into the pod, expect to be in the glass bubble with about 25 other people (unless you book a private capsule). The pod is very spacious (about twice the size of an SUV). The floor is not see-through, so don’t worry about that. The surrounding walls are all glass, but there is a large bench in the middle to sit on if you’re feeling woozy. The ride is slow and smooth. Have your camera ready!
If you were apprehensive to ride the London Eye before this post, I hope I eased some of your fears! It’s really cool to see the city of London from a different perspective.
Thanks for reading!