It took the promise of not just one but two glasses of champagne to get me to ride the London Eye for the first time. Convinced that it was nothing more than an overgrown Ferris wheel, I was seriously nervous – despite the reassuring reports I heard from family and friends. If I was going to be 443 feet above London, frankly I wanted to be in a plane! I was particularly afraid of the moment when the capsules went over the top of the wheel, certain that I would be absolutely terrified. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The London Eye became a fixture on the capital’s landscape 15 years ago and it’s still as popular today as it was back then. It’s a not to be missed stop on any tour of London, giving you one of the best views possible of my favourite city in the world. Of course, you do need to be mindful of the weather as low cloud can mean you don’t see quite as much. However I’ve never been on the London Eye on a sunny day and I’ve always enjoyed the ride.
The London Eye moves round at only 0.6 miles per hour – that is slow enough for you to step into the capsules without the Eye having to stop. The capsules are quite large and airy and you hardly notice them moving. I am
incredibly just a tiny bit claustrophobic but I always feel comfortable. Depending on how many others are in the capsule (there are never more than 25) you can wander round quite easily. Although there are bench seats I almost always stand up the whole time.
We rode the London Eye for the first time on my son’s 18th birthday four years ago, when we enjoyed a Champagne Experience (the legal drinking age in the UK is 18). This was well worth doing for such a special occasion. It also gave me the courage to ride the eye for the first time – although in the end our visit was so amazing I wasn’t afraid for a minute. You can also book private capsules for a really bespoke experience.
As for the view, well, the pictures speak for themselves. This is, of course, the Palace of Westminster, otherwise known as the Parliament Buildings
and this is a view of Charing Cross Station and onwards to the BT Tower in the distance.
In fact, guess what?! I never notice the capsule going over the top of the wheel – the bit I was most afraid of first time – as I am always so in awe of this bird’s eye view of my favourite city.
The London Eye is on the banks of the Thames right next to the Marriott County Hall Hotel. Just across from the Parliament Buildings, it is visible from quite some distance. It is walking distance from both Charing Cross and Waterloo Stations. Mainline trains and the underground (subway) run to both these stations.
At the time of writing, entry prices for the London Eye start at £21.50 for adults and £15.50 for children age 4 to 15 (under 4’s ride free). You can save money on these prices by booking in advance online. I highly recommend booking ‘Fast Track’ tickets. The extra cost is well worth being able to collect your tickets just 15 minutes before your ride and avoiding the majority of the queues.
2015 marks the London Eye’s 15th anniversary. Kids and adults alike enjoy visiting – frankly I’ve never spoken to anyone who didn’t love their ride. Many of the people I have spoken to have visited more than once. Whether it’s the first time or the fifteenth, there’s always something amazing about a ride on the London Eye.
Entry prices correct at time of publication. This post contains my own personal opinions of The London Eye and our family visits to it.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy My Favourite Castles and Palaces in England.