Among the most famous attractions in London is an observation wheel known as the London Eye. Another name for it is the "Millennium Wheel". This was inaugurated in 2000 and for several years was the largest Ferris wheel in the world.
Although today it is no longer the largest, it is still a Ferris wheel visited by millions of people every year. The views from the London Eye are very varied, when you go up to one of its glass cabins you can see the Thames River, buildings and emblematic areas of the whole city. Here I will tell you about what you can see from this great wheel.
1. The River Thames is the first thing that catches the eye
When the Ferris wheel starts to turn, the first thing you see is the great river Thames, this is the most important river in England. Also, you have the opportunity to see how the different kinds of boats navigate on it and you can even book a cruise on the Thames and in fact you can even buy tickets that combine the ascent to the London Eye with a cruise on the Thames.
In the River Thames there are more than 90 species of wild birds, why do I mention this fact? Because of the proximity between the river and the London Eye, it is likely that while you are in one of the cabins you will have the opportunity to see some, or even several, of these species.
When you are at the top of the wheel you can see a lot of buildings in the city, find out what they are and find them in the cityscape. If the day is clear, you can see up to a distance of 40 meters, so it is best to take advantage of this panoramic view.
2. Don't forget to look at the Westminster Bridge
This bridge is one of the oldest and most recognized in England and is very close to the Millennium Wheel. Thanks to how close it is, it is one of the first things you see when you start to rise inside the Ferris wheel. It is easy to see it, as it is 353 meters long and has 7 iron arches.
The construction of Westminster Bridge took place in 1862 and from the London Eye you get an excellent view of it. In addition to vehicles, you see people walking, from citizens to tourists who want to take a picture.
3. The Palace of Westminster from the heights
Very close to the Bridge and the River Thames is the Palace of Westminster, it is impossible not to see it when you are in one of the cabins of the Ferris wheel. As you go up it is possible to see the imposing structure of this building, its style is Victorian Gothic.
The Palace is also known as Houses of Parliament, because it houses the British Parliament and, therefore, the two Houses of Parliament. For a few years, this palace served as the residence of British royalty, but in 1834, much of the building was destroyed in a major fire.
Due to the fire, the structure you see today is only a small part of the original construction. From the London Eye you can see the luxurious facade of the Palace of Westminster and how sections of it are reflected in the River Thames. If you have already taken your tickets for Westminster Abbey you will know that it is just a few meters away from this palace.
4. One of the most famous clock towers in the world
What comes to your mind when you hear or talk about London? Maybe you think of it being one of the countries with a royal family or of Big Ben. The clock is located next to the Palace of Westminster and is one of the most famous symbols, not only of the city, but of England. You have the opportunity to see it when you buy tickets to go up the London Eye.
The tower has a height of 106 meters and on all its faces are installed large clocks. Inside this construction there is also a bell that weighs approximately 14 tons. The clocks have a diameter of 7 meters, so from the Millennium Wheel cabin you can see the time of the city.
5. See one of London's most iconic landmarks
In St. Paul's Churchyard is located St. Paul's Cathedral, the original construction was made between 1087 and 1314. Its structure is in the shape of a cross. Right in the middle of the cross, is the dome of this religious building, this is the one you can see from the London Eye.
The original Cathedral was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. After this disaster that affected the entire population and a large number of buildings in the city, it was rebuilt. From that moment on, the dome became an icon of London and remains so today.
From the Ferris wheel you can appreciate the great dome, which is second only to St. Peter's Basilica (Rome) in size. St. Paul's Cathedral in London also has elaborate stone sculptures.
6. Get an excellent view of a modern building
Once the cabin has climbed high enough, it is possible to see one of the most modern buildings in the city. The Shard's observation deck was opened in 2012 and has since managed to stand out in the city for its innovative design. The height of the building is an impressive 310 meters, in its 87 floors there are restaurants, apartments, the observation deck and a hotel.
The Shard is covered by approximately 11,000 panes of glass, so on days when the sun is strongest, it is likely that the reflection of light will not allow you to admire it in detail. Don't worry, you'll still be able to see its pointed shape in the London cityscape.
7. Admire the financial district of the city
Among the sights from the London Eye is London's Financial District, better known as The City. Thirty percent of the buildings in one of London' s major neighborhoods were built in the last few years. Therefore, from the Millennium Wheel you see the modern buildings, many of which are covered with glass.
The most emblematic buildings of The City are: the Gherkin Building, Lloyd's of London, Leadenhall Building and Tower 42. Something interesting about the Financial District is that its buildings with futuristic appearances contrast with ancient elements, such as churches, a Roman amphitheater and Smithfield Market.
8. A building in the shape of a Walkie Talkie
The Fenchurch Building was designed by Rafael Viñoly, this building has a peculiar shape, as its height increases, its structure widens. This has caused many Londoners and tourists to give the nickname "Walkie Talkie" to this building.
Although you do not see the same shape, you will surely recognize it when you are in the heights of the London Eye, because it is easy to differentiate it from other buildings. A recommendation I give you to find it is to look for the building that reflects more sunlight. Its shape makes the light is channeled more than in other structures in London.
Inside Fenchurch is located the botanical garden: Sky Garden. In addition, in the building there are restaurants, a bar and a cafeteria. When you enjoy the view from the London Eye, don't forget to look at the Walkie Talkie shaped building.
9. A building inaugurated in 2000
Like the London Eye, the last bridge built over the River Thames was also inaugurated at the beginning of the millennium. Therefore, it receives the name "Millennium Bridge", this is a pedestrian and suspension bridge. It is 325 meters long and although it was designed more than 20 years ago, its appearance is characterized by being modern.
The Millennium Wheel is close to the River Thames, so you have the opportunity to see the Millennium Bridge even when the day is not clear.
10. The residence of the Royal Family
Allowing you to have a panoramic view at a height of 135 meters, from the London Eye you can see Buckingham Palace. This is located about 2 kilometers from the Millennium Wheel, so it is possible to see the large structure where the Queen of England lives.
The Palace was built in 1703 and has a neoclassical design, from the heights you not only see this emblematic building, but also the green areas near it. Now that you know what are the views from the London Eye that stand out the most, I will tell you about other important facts about this London attraction.
The London Eye cabins
The doubts that arise the most in people who go for the first time to the Millennium Wheel is: What to expect from it? How are the cabins? Obviously, they are safe, but not only that, but every point of their design contributes to an optimal experience for each person who goes up.
The cabins are acclimatized and have a capacity for 25 people, but currently that number does not go up because of the measures implemented by Covid 19. Even when the 25 people go up in each cabin, it is possible to move around the cabin without any problems and enjoy the view to the fullest.
Inside there are seats for those who prefer not to stand for the entire ride. In addition, you will find touch screens that inform you about the buildings that surround you and can be seen from the London Eye. On the other hand, so that you have a tangible memory of your visit, it is possible to take pictures from the booths, but do not disturb other people.
Is it possible to go on the London Eye at night?
Yes, during the summer in London, the London Eye schedule allows you to get on the London Eye when the sun has already gone down. Most of the year, the London Eye closes at 18:00, this does not allow you to admire the city at night. However, in June, July and August it remains open from 10:00 to 20:30.
What do you see from the Millennium Wheel at night? The buildings whose lighting allows you to see them at night are the following:
- The Shard: when it gets dark, the skyscraper is illuminated, one of the things that stands out most in the views from the London Eye at night is the tip of this building, as it is the most illuminated of its structure.
- The Houses of Parliament: the palace has lights around it that illuminate its facade and allow it to be visible from above.
- Big Ben: like the Houses of Parliament, the tower structure is illuminated at night, but not only that. All the faces of the clock are illuminated so that people nearby and those who climb the London Eye can see the time clearly.
- The dome of St. Paul's Cathedral: although its illumination is not as outstanding as the previous buildings, it is still possible to see this dome if you go up to the London Ferris wheel at night.
- Waterloo Bridge: another of the bridges that crosses the River Thames and is close to the London Eye is the Waterloo Bridge. This is also illuminated at night and is visible when you go up to a London Eye booth.
The buildings named above are not the only ones that stand out in the London nightscape. The London Eye is one of the brightest spots in the capital, so if you go up at night, it is normal that the Ferris wheel is illuminated, usually, in red.
The information I have given you in this article will be useful when planning your visit to this attraction. I hope you enjoy your trip to London and the views from the London Eye.