The London Eye has become, since its installation in 2000, a London landmark with more than 70 million visitors since then. This 'Millennium Wheel' is the tallest in Europe and, until 2006, in the world.
If you are already convinced to climb aboard this marvel of design, I recommend 100% that you buy tickets online and in advance to save time and money.
Why it's worth climbing the London Eye
The London Eye is a panoramic rotating observatory from which you can enjoy the best views of the city (360º) and from where you can take great pictures of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral or Buckingham Palace.
Also, if you are not a great lover of heights or you are traveling with small children, do not worry, I assure you that it is a completely safe experience and adapted for all audiences. The capsules are perfectly attached to its steel structure and do not sway as in a conventional Ferris wheel, allowing you to travel standing up.
About the 4D interactive experience
As if it were not enough to see the London skyline in motion, inside the London Eye you can watch the 4D Cinema Experience, an interactive short film that is an inspiring journey of discovery through a London that comes to life through multi-sensory special effects, such as wind or fog, during its projection.
Vicky's Top Traveller Tip
If you are interested in enjoying the 4D London Eye experience before the Ferris wheel ride, arrive 30 minutes early.
London Eye opening hours
The London Eye is open every day of the year except Christmas (December 25) and annual maintenance days, usually in January.
However, the schedules vary between seasons and may even change within the months of the same season, so we recommend that before planning your visit, consult their website to check them.
Useful information about the London Eye
- There are no toilets inside the cabins, but there are in the entrance hall.
- There is a store at the exit where you can buy gifts and souvenirs of the experience.
- Also, if you give advance notice, the attraction has facilities for passengers with reduced mobility.
- Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 in the immersive projection of the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience.
How to get to the London Eye
The London Eye, erected in the Riverside Building, in the County Hall Westminster Bridge Road, is located in the heart of London and between many other places you can visit, such as Westminster Bridge, so it is perfectly connected with the public transport services of the city.
You can get there from Waterloo tube station (the nearest) or from Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster stations.
The nearest stations are Waterloo (5 minutes walk) and Charing Cross (15 minutes walk).
Bus lines 77, 211 and 381 will leave you very close to the London Eye, but you can also reach it through one of the dozens of stops that make the tourist bus if you have a London Pass or with the RV1 route that connects the Ferris wheel with the Tate Modern and Covent Garden.
There are many services that stop at the London Eye Pier (O2, Bankside, Embankment, Blackfriars, London Bridge, Tower, Canary Wharf, Hilton Docklands, Masthouse Terrace, Greenwich, Royal Arsenal Wollwich, St. Katherine's or Westminster Pier).
If you are going to spend several days in the British capital, I recommend that you get your Oyster Card, a transport card that you can buy and recharge at any of its subway stations and that will give you access to all public lines in the most agile and economical way.
Other options to ride the Ferris wheel: the tourist passes
Another option and the one I recommend to visit the London Eye if you are going to spend several days in London is to purchase a tourist pass of the city.
As you can see in this other post about London PassLondon Eye, these are very convenient for visits of at least 4 days in the capital, as they include a much faster and cheaper access to its main attractions. Two of these passes include, among its many options, the entrance to the London Eye:
The London Explorer Pass
The Explorer Pass is the must-have pass in London. You can choose up to 7 attractions among the 31 that it offers in its list. Its main advantages are that you get fast-track access to some of the most important attractions in the city and that you can save up to 35% on the price of standard attraction tickets.
The London Pass
The London Pass is the best pass for family travel because it gives you quick and much cheaper access to 5 of the city's top leisure attractions. It offers access to a world of super fun entertainment to visit, in addition to the London Eye, the spectacular Madame Tussauds wax museum, Shrek's Adventure London, the thrilling interactive tours of the London Dungeon and the London Aquarium, SEA LIFE London.
The London Eye in figures
3.5 million tourists visit the London Eye every year. If that figure doesn't tell you anything, perhaps knowing that its average number of visitors is 10,000 per day and that it is larger than the Taj Mahal or the Pyramids of Giza, will help you to visualize its power of attraction.
The London Eye can carry up to 800 people on each of its rotating rides (25 passengers per capsule), but queues are guaranteed at almost any time of the year, especially if you travel on weekends, public holidays or during school vacations. Buying tickets online will save you all this time, which you can spend on making the most of your visit.
The Ferris wheel has 32 glazed and air-conditioned capsules (one for each London borough), but for superstitious reasons, they are numbered from 1 to 33, skipping the number 13.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
On a sunny day you will be able to see for 40 km around its views. Look closely and you'll see as far as Windsor Castle.
Complete your visit to the London Eye by discovering its surroundings
Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
The London Eye managed to turn the area where it is located, the South Bank district, into the focal point of the new millennium. There you can find other wonders of architecture and nature to make your sightseeing day a round day.
You can not miss one of the emblems of the city, Big Ben, and in which only 537 meters from the London Eye, you will discover that its name is actually the 14-ton bell that houses the clock of the Elizabeth Tower, erected over the Parliament.
The latter, also known as the Palace of Westminster, is another must-see as it houses the two chambers of the British Parliament, that is, where the government formulates its legislation.
Typical food options for lunch or dinner
Despite not being a country of great gastronomic tradition, London has good restaurants, although most of them tend to be somewhat expensive. In your stop to enjoy lunch I recommend three restaurants near the London Eye area.
In them you can eat typical English dishes, as in St Stephen's Tavern (on the sidewalk in front of Big Ben), to savor the exclusive food of a Michelin Star restaurant near the Parliament, the Roux at Parliament, to take quality food and good service aboard a boat, in the London Showboat, which you can get on from Westminster Bridge.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
Near the London Eye there are several restaurants: make sure you check the price of the menu before you sit down to avoid surprises on the bill.
Returning to our trip, another attraction very close to the area is the impressive Westminster Abbey which, just 639 meters from the London Eye, presents some of the best examples of London's medieval architecture. You can read in this article about London Westminster Abbey Tickets: how to buy and prices how to visit its interior.
Between this Abbey and Buckingham Palace you can take a break in the beautiful natural environment of St. James Park (735 m from the London Eye).
St. James Park and Buckingham Palace
This former royal hunting ground is the oldest park in London, one of the most beloved by Londoners and the ideal place to spend a morning or afternoon with the family, as it is full of cafes, waterfowl and original playgrounds. Part of the route in memory of the late Princess Diana runs along it and has served as a backdrop for well-known films such as Match Point, 28 Days Later and 101 Dalmatians.
Once you have replenished your energy, you can finish the day by visiting the nerve center of London, Trafalgar Square (778 m from the London Eye), a huge square where, in addition to other places of interest, is one of the most famous monuments of the capital: Admiral Nelson's Column.
Trafalgar Square is a hive of people and street performers every day, but especially on those in which major events are held, as it is the meeting place for Londoners to celebrate New Year's Eve, sporting triumphs and even royal weddings.
Since you are here, on the river, and so close to several piers from which depart the cruises that cross the Thames, it would be a good idea to complete your day in London with a relaxing river cruise, from which you can see the contrasts offered by the London Skyline and even reach the Greenwich meridian by boat. I leave here a post I made about Thames River Cruises in London in case you are interested in organizing the excursion.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it usually take to queue for the London Eye?
As little as 30 minutes and up to 2 hours during a surge of visitors, especially during English school vacations.
When is the best time to go to the London Eye?
In general, it is a good idea to avoid visiting between 11:00 and 15:00, and the best time to go up the London Eye is at the beginning and end of its opening hours. Note that the London Eye closes for two weeks in January for its annual tune-up.
What to do after visiting the London Eye?
Some places of interest near the London Eye worth visiting are the London Sea Life Aquarium, Big Ben and the London Dungeon. In addition, you can go for a walk along the Embankment and Jubilee Gardens.