How to make the most of the London Eye

When visiting the London Eye, make sure you take some time visiting the London Pass website to see whether you’ll be saving money. It really depends on how many attractions you want to visit on that day. For budget travellers, the London Pass and 4 for 5 attractions can be expensive. It also depends on how long you’re here. Alternatively, check lastminute.com for last-minute deals.

You can get a 3 for the price of 4 or 4 for the price of 5 attractions in the Sea Life London Aquarium reception. I spent £60 for 4 for the price of 5 attractions. To some, that’s quite expensive. Going around the London Eye takes 30 minutes to go round, and a lot of people have mentioned that for 30 minutes, £31 per adult is quite expensive on the day, and £24.50 online, especially if you’re on a budget.

The attractions around here take an hour to visit, and there are more than 5 attractions in the Southbank. You can spend all day in the Southbank, so use your time wisely.

Get there early because there will always be a long queue, especially during school holidays.

History of the London Eye

The London Eye opened on 31 December 1999 to mark the start of the 2000 millennium by former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Originally called the Millennium Wheel, it was only supposed to be open temporarily, but the council granted them permission to keep it permanently. Previously called the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye stands at 135 metres tall, so you can see a bird’s eye view of London. There are 32 capsules, and it takes 30 minutes to go round. It is also the main area where New Year’s Eve’s fireworks happen, just before the clock strikes midnight. The London Eye has been a popular icon in films, music videos, television shows, bestselling novels, and soap operas. 

Although London can be very industrial with construction and road works, it’s hard to see some of the major attractions, however, you can view some of the major ones in half an hour. Not all major attractions, but you’re able to see them in Lego size view. With more than 3 million visitors going on the London Eye, it’s still the top 10 attractions to visit when coming to London.

Getting There

Getting to the London Eye is convenient and straightforward. There are several buses you can take, and you can get off at Westminster Underground Station (the Jubilee, the District and Circle Line). If you see Big Ben, it will be across the Westminster Bridge over the River Thames and walk down the Southbank. Westminster Bridge is not hard to find. You’ll see a few street performers (which are not worth it, they’ll rip you off) and a few rickshaws (also not worth it).

If you’re coming from Trafalgar Square, walk towards Whitehall, you’ll see Big Ben’s clock tower, just follow the clock tower. On your way there, you’ll see the Queen’s horse guards where you can get up close and personal with them. Be careful, some of them aren’t friendly, and they can bite. Don’t distract the guards either, they’re technically not there to be a tourist attraction, so be careful not to pull the reign. You’ll also pass 10 Downing Street, but you won’t be able to see the door as it’s inside a tall iron gate. There will be several protestors and police officers, nothing more.

The London Eye Experience

Before getting on the capsule, watch the 4D Experience where you can watch a 4D video of the London Eye, and 3D birds-eye view photographs of London. It wasn’t really my thing, so I skipped that.

Inside the capsule

As I stepped inside the capsule, there were other people standing inside with me. Around twenty five people can fit into one capsule but it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. There’s space for everyone to get on. The capsule moved slowly, and if you’re afraid of heights like me, the London Eye does make you feel safe. As soon as I got to the top, I didn’t feel frightened at all. I just enjoyed the view of different tourist attractions below me and felt I was in Legoland.

Inside the capsule, they’ll provide you with seating enough for around 6 – 10 people. There’s also a good photo spot to take pictures of the view for you and your family.

A quarter of the way up

A quarter of the way up, I felt I was already high enough to see the view of London, couldn’t think to imagine what it would be like when we got to the top. Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are the first two major attractions you will see. Walkers, including children playing in the playground, moved like ants below on the Southbank. London is very industrial so expect to see at least one building and road works as you go high up the wheel.

At the top of the London Eye

As you get to the top, you’ll be able to see more major attractions in miniature. There are a lot of bushes covering buildings, but you will be able to see Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and so many more as tiny versions of themselves.

A lot of people have mentioned that you’ll be able to see all of London from the top, but I disagree. If you look at the London map, from my experience, I could just see as far as Buckingham Palace and the surrounding parks. The rest of the view were covered by tall trees. As we slowly headed down, the tour of the London Eye came to an end and I felt glad I was on the ground.

Conclusion

The London Eye is in the top 10 attractions to visit and you can see some of the major attractions in London. It is an iconic symbol for London. I went on the London Eye twice, and although I can only see several major attractions like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, London’s view during the day can seem industrial. It’s better to go when it gets dark. The view was spectacular at night. The lights twinkled from buildings and reflected on the River Thames. Major attractions illuminated in the dark and headlights from vehicles moved like red laser torches.

So, if you decide to go on the London Eye, make sure you plan and use the advice above. Avoid school holidays. Keep in mind London can be industrial and expect to see road and construction work and you won’t be able to see all of London when you reach the top, not like what the internet says.

It’s advisable to go on the London Eye first since as it takes 30 minutes to go round and visit other attractions nearby, as the tours can take more than two hours like the Tower of London.

If you like more information on the London Eye, please feel free to contact me on Facebook, and check out other things to do in the Southbank. You can also take advantage of walking by the Southbank next to the River Thames. If you love walks, check out my post of walks around London.

Hope you enjoy the London Eye, but in the meantime, take care and be safe!

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