London Eye is one of the most notable features of the London skyline. The London Eye is situated right at the heart of London, on the South Bank of the Thames, almost opposite the Houses of Parliament and right next to The Sea Life London Aquarium. The attraction was originally sponsored by British Airways, so rides are called flights. Nowadays the sponsor is Coca-Cola, so its now called Coca Cola London Eye.
How to Get There
The nearest London Underground stations are Waterloo Underground station (about 5 minutes walking distance serviced by the Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo and city lines), Embankment (10-15 minutes walking distance serviced by both the Circle, District, Bakerloo and Northern lines), and Westminster (10 minutes walking distance serviced by both the Circle, District and Jubilee lines). Nearest National Rail station is Waterloo which is served by Southwestern line and Charing Cross Station served by Southeastern line.
Some Facts about London eye
The London Eye is one of the top attractions and most visited in London. It is one of London’s tallest viewing point at 135 meters above ground and Europe’s tallest observation wheel. The diameter of London eye is 120 meters. Its construction took 7 years and was completed in 1999. the wheel was officially opened on 31 December for the millennium. It then opened to the public in March 2000.
The London Eye has 32 air -conditioned passenger capsules that represent the 32 London boroughs. The capsules are numbered from 1 to 33 due to the missing number 13. Each capsule can hold up to 25 people and the London Eye can take up to 800 people per rotation. The capsules are large enough to walk around inside and there is seating arrangement in the center if you need it.
Inside London Eye
Now it’s time to get on the London eye itself. We went there during the peak summer season and we know before that the waiting time would be very long. So, we decided not to book advance ticket (which are available on discount) and instead we will buy Fast Track ticket at the ticket office. Inside the ticket office there was a separate line for Fast track tickets and I spend almost 15 minutes there to collect my tickets.
Before leaving the tickets office we went to see the 4D Cinema Experience, a 4-minute long 4D film about the London Eye which was entertaining. The 4D cinema experience is free with all the London Eye tickets.
With our fast track tickets, we skipped the huge line and join the fast track line. In next 20 minute we were inside our capsule. The London eye rotates constantly at a speed of around 26 cm per second, which is slow enough and gives you sufficient time to enter into the capsule.
The capsules are big and have also some seats available in the middle but we preferred to stand and take in the breathtaking view of London. It was not a very clear or sunny day but still me managed to spot many London’s famous landmarks and took many photos. Kids were excited seeing the nearby landmarks – Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey.
A complete rotation takes around 30 minutes and gives you enough time to admire the view of the surrounding. After a complete rotation get down from the capsule while it’s still moving.
Opening times and admission prices
Standard opening time
The London Eye opening times vary throughout the year, typically the attraction opens at 10:00 and closes between 18:00-20:30. Confirm their website for closing time before visiting.
Ticket office prices:
Child (3 – 15 Years): £24.00
There are many ticket options/experiences and type of tickets you can buy;
From ticket office
If you just turn up on the day of your visit to buy a ticket, it can easily be a 3-4 hour wait at peak times. First you have to queue to buy the ticket and again for the ride. Buying the ticket from the site ticket office is also costly (10%) than advance purchase from their website.
Advance Purchase Standard Tickets from London Eye website
You can purchase your tickets in advance directly from the London Eye website. While purchasing you have to select the date and time when you want to visit. You will get a 15-minute time window to gain entrance. Ticket includes entry to the 4D Cinema Experience. These tickets are cheaper than the tickets purchased at the site. Standard ticket for Adult cost £27.00 and for Child (3 – 15 Years): £22.00
Advance Purchase Fast Track Tickets from London Eye website
You can purchase a priority ticket for a premium, that can be almost 50% more than the price of the standard ticket. Ticket holders enter via a dedicated Fast Track entrance. Ticket includes entry to the 4D Cinema Experience. While purchasing you have to select the date and time when you want to visit. You will get a 15-minute time window to gain entrance.
Flexi Fast Track Tickets from London Eye website
Allow you to visit London Eye anytime during the day of your visit, so are perfect if you know what day you will be in London. Flexible ticket cost almost doubles the price of standard ticket.
Combination tickets combining London Eye with 4 other Major attractions in London
London Eye is owned by a company called Merlin who own and operate 5 major London attractions: Madame Tussaud’s, London Eye, London Dungeon, Shrek’s Adventure and Sea Life Aquarium.
Merlin’s website offers a very flexible combination tickets where you can combine from just two attractions to all five of them into one money saving pass valid for 90 days from the first visit. While purchasing this combination attraction pass you have to decide which attraction you want to visit first and the time slot. Remaining attractions can be visited in the next 90 days.
You may find it cheaper or better value to buy tickets to two or three attractions in one go. These can be purchase at Merlin’s website. There are many more featured flights and VIP experiences you can purchase form their website. In addition to the private capsules for yourself there are champagne/wine/chocolate experiences, you can have a capsule for your friend and family for £450.00 onward.
When to Go
Since most people with kids are restricted to school holidays, the London Eye gets incredibly busy, particularly during July and August school holidays. If you can avoid these months you will have a better experience.
I also feel the London Eye attraction is over hyped and there are many better things to see in London then this during peak season. You can skip this attraction instead go to some museum or do other activities. We found the crowd at London Eye and Madame Tussaud is more than the tower of London.