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The Best Thing In London? The London Eye

Last Updated 09/04/2022.

As a Londoner of intermittent, but long, standing I have been known to advise visitors that the one very best thing they should do during their time in London, is to ride the London Eye. Yesterday was my 4th, highly enjoyable, visit.

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London is, of course, it’s own tourist attraction, the city is a global must-visit packed with history, culture and incredible buildings.

But of the modern, custom-built London attractions, the London Eye is arguably the best.

The London Eye

The London Eye is one of the best and most popular tourist attractions in London England. I love the London Eye, and so do many millions of other people.

The London Eye is ranked #5 in terms of visitor numbers for London 2014.

So what makes the London Eye so great?

The London Eye is Just a Great Big Ferris Wheel, Right?

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The structure itself is tremendously impressive, it’s huge, solid and shiny, like some alien construction dramatically placed in one of the most visually stunning parts of London.

This huge wheel dominating London’s ancient skyline makes wonderful photos, even if you don’t get to ride.

Pod on The London Eye. World Travel Family blog

Each pod of the wheel holds around 28 people.

Boarding and exiting are easy, there’s no push and shove and wheelchair access is possible.

One rotation takes about 30 minutes, the pace is very slow giving riders plenty of time to take in the views.

At the highest point of the Eye’s rotation you will be 135m above the ground and will be able to see for about 40KM. It’s a stunning view of London.

What makes riding the London Eye fascinating for me is seeing how tiny central London is, and so green.

All the big attractions are right there before you, framed by trees and parklands.

Buckingham Palace from the London Eye. World Travel Family

Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade are right there, seemingly a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament.

The London landmark my kids were most keen to see was The Shard, this magnificent building was used in an episode of Doctor Who, as was The Eye.

Important connections to their favourite TV show make visiting The London Eye and The Shard far more entertaining for them.

The Shard from The London Eye. World Travel family

 

What’s New at The Eye?

New Samsung Tablets on The London Eye

Your ticket now (at time of writing, this could change) includes free admission to a 4D movie experience featuring the London Eye. It’s good, very good actually.

We have been to a few of these 4D presentations all over the world, this one is great. I won’t give away the surprises, but make sure you don’t miss it.

If you are looking for a hotel in London, start your search here.  

Each pod now had a Samsung touch screen information points that made finding London’s various landmarks from the air fun and easy.

The kids are pulled like magnets to anything electronic, so these were a big hit.

Tips for Visiting The London Eye.

The London Eye is on the glorious South Bank of the Thames, almost opposite the Houses of Parliament and right next to The Sea Life London Aquarium.

The London Eye gets incredibly busy, particularly on sunny days during July and August school holidays. No surprises there, with the Eye being in the top 5 attractions in London.

We have visited at quiet times in the past and walked straight on but yesterday, one of the busiest days of the year, was another story.

On busy days we would highly recommend buying a Fast Track Ticket, for a little extra you can bypass the boarding queue which, yesterday, was enormous, in excess of 45 minutes.

Before joining the boarding queue you will need to pick up your pre-booked tickets.

We waited 30 minutes in that line. Pre-booking tickets online is quicker and cheaper than buying them on the day.

All riders on The London Eye have an allocated time slot, this time is pre-selected online.

For more information on opening times and ticketing, visit the EDF London Eye website. They will have the latest information and opening times. Our review covers our personal experience on the day we visited, things may have changed.

I love all of London, I like just walking, looking, exploring, and visiting parks and museums but as attractions go, I think The London Eye is my favourite. But, of course, I haven’t done them all, yet.

What for you is the best thing in London?

The London Eye v The Shard

Both the London Eye and The View From The Shard offer incredible views of London but they are different views. If possible you should visit both attractions. We think The London Eye is better. The Shard triggered far more vertigo in me than The Eye. Both are in South London, south of The Thames, you can see the river from both, but The Shard is further east than The Eye.

The London Eye v Other Giant Wheels Around The World

There are now many giant wheels around the world. There is one at Niagara Falls, in Dubai, and in Brisbane Australia, for instance. These giant wheelsaren’t thrill rides, the view is the experience. If you are keen to take in a particular view from on high, we think it’s worth visiting them all.

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Liz

Friday 9th of June 2017

this is a really nice article. The view from the London Eye is stunning.

Lillian

Sunday 12th of July 2015

We're thinking about buying advance tickets online but I'm wondering how disappointing it would be to end up with a cloudy or rainy day. Any advice? Thanks!

alyson@worldtravelfamily

Sunday 12th of July 2015

Hmmm....don't know. At this time of year there will be queues, long ones! So it could be a good idea. I think you'll still see for miles even if it's rainy.

Suzi Hansborough

Monday 4th of August 2014

I have the same fear Heidi mentioned. THAT has been my singular hold-up on visiting....but after seeing the pictures you posted...WOW. I may have to give it a go on the next trip. My favorite...walking around the streets I've read about so many times. Oh, and the food, Greek in Notting Hill Gate, some Persian, and then there is tea. After all that walking, it's nice to enjoy an afternoon tea. I miss London.

Rhonda Albom

Sunday 3rd of August 2014

Curious, what is the fourth dimension in 4D? If I had read this before we traveled, we might have visited the London Eye. Maybe next time.

alyson@worldtravelfamily

Sunday 3rd of August 2014

Im not telling you Rhonda it would spoil the surprise! We've been to lots at Disney, Legoland etc, great fun. It's only a short film, but good.

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy

Sunday 3rd of August 2014

What a cool attraction. This puts our ferris wheel in Chicago to shame :)

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