The London Eye has become, since its inauguration in 2000, a key attraction of London with more than 70 million visitors since then. This 'Millennium Wheel' is the tallest in Europe and, until 2006, in the world.
If you already know you want to climb aboard this marvel of design, I 100% recommend that you buy tickets online and in advance to save time and money. Keep reading to learn which are the cheapest options so you won't waste a minute trying to choose the one that suits you best. Here we go!
The cheapest option to ride the world's most famous Ferris wheel
Perfect if you want to enjoy the incredible views of London from one of the London Eye's cabins at the best possible price. It includes access to the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience and you can choose the time that suits you bestFrom $ 39 at Hellotickets
This is the cheapest option: this standard ticket for the London Eye can be booked here and now and guarantees you access to the London Eye at the best price. You'll make sure to get the cheapest option, as it is cheaper than buying it directly at the ticket office, and also quite relevant, you will skip the endless queues to get them at the ticket offices of the attraction. This ticket also gives you access to its immersive experience, the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience.
However, you should know that this option does not allow you to skip the queues to access the London Eye. Once you arrive at the foot of the Ferris wheel, you will have to wait for your turn to go up and you will have to pass through metal detectors at the checkpoint for security reasons (all visitors must go through the same measures).
At the exit of the attraction, you will be offered the chance to buy a souvenir photo taken during the Ferris wheel ride. As it usually happens in these cases, the price is quite steep, so its better to bring your camera or phone to capture the best pictures of the London skyline.
Why I like this option: it allows you to enjoy the same experience at a more affordable price.
Recommended if... you want to enjoy spectacular views of the city while including one of the most typical plans of the British capital in your itinerary.
Skip the queues for priority access to the London Eye
This is the best option if you don't want to waste a minute waiting for your turn to board. Priority boarding will save you a long wait at the foot of the attraction. It also includes access to the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience and a choice of timesFrom $ 48 at Hellotickets
The skip-the-line ticket to the London Eye gives you the option to reserve a time slot to better organize your trip and avoid the long queues that often form. This ticket gives you access, of course, to the multi-sensory experience offered by the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience and can be purchased from months before planning your trip to minutes before catching your flight to the UK.
The experience on board the Ferris wheel is the same for all ticket types, but this option suitable for the most impatient guarantees you priority access and no queues to your cabin. However, like all other passengers on board, you will have to go through a security check with a metal detector.
Why I like this option: Time is money when traveling and if budget is not an issue for you, it may be worth considering the option of priority access.
Recommended if... queues give you anxiety and depression or if you are traveling with children, so that they avoid the wait and the access is more pleasant.
Why it's worth going on 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 wasn't enough to see the London skyline in motion, inside the London Eye you can watch the 4D Cinema Experience, an interactive short film that takes you on an inspiring journey of discovery through a London that comes to life through multi-sensory special effects, such as wind and fog, during the projection.
Vicky's Top Traveller Tip
If you are interested in enjoying the 4D London Eye experience before the Ferris wheel ride, please arrive 30 minutes early.
London Eye opening times
The London Eye is open every day of the year except Christmas (December 25) and annual maintenance days, which is usually in January.
However, the schedules vary between seasons and may even change within the months of the same season, so it's better to check the official website before you plan your visit.
Useful information about the London Eye
- The wheel cabins do not have walks inside but they do have them in the entrance hall.
- There is a shop at the exit where you can buy gifts and souvenirs of the experience.
- In addition, if you give advance notice, the attraction has facilities for travelers with reduced mobility.
- Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 at the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience immersive projection.
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 services of public transport of the city.
You can get there from Waterloo tube station (the nearest) or from the Embankment, Charing Cross, and Westminster stations.
The nearest stations are Waterloo (5 minutes walk) and Charing Cross (15 minutes walk).
The bus lines 77, 211 and 381 will take you very close to the London Eye, although you can also reach it through one of the dozens of stops that make the tour bus if you have a London Pass or with the RV1 route that connects the wheel with the Tate Modern and Covent Garden.
Many services stop at the London Eye Pier (O2, Bankside, Embankment, Blackfriars, London Bridge, Tower, Canary Wharf, Hilton Docklands, Masthouse Terrace, Greenwich, Royal Arsenal Woolwich, 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 you 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 Pass, these are very convenient for visits of at least 4 days in the capital, as they include 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 London Explorer Pass. 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 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 entertainment super fun 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 numbers
3.5 million tourists visit the London Eye a year. If the figure doesn't tell you anything, perhaps knowing that its average volume of spectators is 10,000 a day and that it is greater than that of 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 clear day, you will be able to see as far as 24 miles away. If you look closely, you can even see Windsor Castle from the London Eye.
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 very complete experience.
You can not miss one of the emblems of the city, Big Ben, roughly 1,700 feet from the London Eye, where you will discover that its name is actually the one of 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, where the government formulates its legislation.
Food options for lunch or dinner
London has some great restaurants, although most of them tend to be somewhat expensive. For your lunch break, here are three recommended restaurants near the London Eye area.
To eat typical English dishes, try 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, stop by Roux at Parliament, and to enjoy quality food and good service aboard a boat go to 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 menu price before you sit down to avoid a nasty surprise.
Back to the itinerary, another attraction very close to the area is the impressive Westminster Abbey which, just 2,100 feet from the London Eye, presents some of the best examples of London's medieval architecture. You can read in this article about Westminster Abbey Tickets how to go inside.
Between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, you can take a break in the beautiful natural environment of St. James Park (2,400 feet from the London Eye).
St. James Park and Buckingham Palace
This former royal hunting ground is the largest 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. Its layout is part of the route in memory of the late Princess Diana and has served as a backdrop for popular 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 celebrated, as it is the meeting place for Londoners to celebrate New Year's Eve, sporting triumphs, and even royal weddings.
Thames River Cruises
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 cruise on the river, from which you can see the contrasts offered by the London Skyline and even reach the Greenwich meridian by boat. Here's a post on Thames River Cruises to help you plan this experience.
Frequently asked questions
How long will I have to queue for the London Eye?
As little as 30 minutes and as long as 2 hours during a rush of visitors, especially during English school holidays.
What is the best time to go to the London Eye?
Generally you will want to avoid going between 11:00 and 15:00, and it's probably a good idea to ride the London Eye at the beginning and end of their opening hours. Also, take into account that the London Eye closes during two weeks in January for yearly maintenance.
What can I do after my London Eye visit?
Some attractions near the London Eye that you can visit are the Sea Life London Aquarium, Big Ben and the London Dungeons. Also, you can go for a walk along the Embankment and the Jubilee Gardens.