Everything you need to know about the most popular attraction in London
By Manuel, 27. May 2019
We’ve compiled the most important facts about the London Eye, including our tips on buying tickets, to make sure you don’t miss out on the giant ferris wheel!
Although the London Eye is one of London’s newest attractions, it’s hard to imagine the city skyline without this giant ferris wheel. The London Eye is situated directly on the Thames, diagonally opposite Big Ben, and offers a breathtaking view of London. This is an absolute must-see attraction on any trip to London – a city that simply oozes with charm, come rain or shine!
London Eye: the most spectacular view of London
The London Eye has stood in the heart of the capital since the year 2000, which is why it is also referred to as the Millennium Wheel. Although only actually intended to operate for a couple of years to mark the turn of the millennium, it has become a permanent feature due to its enormous popularity with tourists. The hype surrounding the ferris wheel also caught the attention of the soft drinks company Coca Cola, which has been the official sponsor since 2015 and lent its name to the Coca Cola London Eye.
A special time of the evening: when the London Eye lights up
In the daytime you get an incredible view of the city from the London Eye, and in the evening the ferris wheel lights up to become a spectacular feature of the London skyline. The London Eye is illuminated in different colors depending on the occasion. For the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, for example, the wheel was lit in the colors of the national flag, the Union Jack, and on St. Patrick’s Day – as you might expect – it’s a blaze of green. The lights are also truly magical at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve! In our opinion, the light show at the London Eye is a special attraction that can easily be combined with a stroll along the Thames.
At a height of 443 feet, the London Eye is the tallest ferris wheel in Europe and the fourth tallest in the world. It has a total of 32 passenger capsules. For the first four years after being opened at the turn of the millennium, it was even the tallest ferris wheel in the world. From the London Eye you get a magnificent view of many of London’s famous sights, including nearby Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
Tip: Watching the sun go down from the London Eye is an unforgettable experience!
The London Eye revolves continuously at a constant speed of around 10 inches/s. Owing to the fact that it moves so slowly, a ride in one of the hi-tech glass capsules takes around 30 minutes and the wheel doesn’t stop, as you can get on and off while it’s in motion. You’ll have plenty of time to pick out London’s famous sights with the help of interactive screens or a map available from the ticket office. This is also a marvelous opportunity for taking photos. The great thing about the capsules is that they offer a fascinating 360 degree view, so there’s no risk of missing anything! In clear weather you can even see as far as Windsor Castle, 25 miles away!
A ride on the London Eye is definitely an experience not to be missed!
I was initially somewhat skeptical, as I’m not a great fan of standard tourist attractions. However, the ride absolutely blew me away! There’s ample time to view all the sights from a very different perspective and take photos or do some filming. The view is simply breathtaking and well worth the money.
Tickets for the London Eye
Tickets for the London Eye can be purchased locally or online. As the ferris wheel has been London’s most-visited attraction for the past ten years, you may have to wait in line a long time to buy tickets locally. It’s worth purchasing them online in advance if you don’t want to spend considerably more time waiting in line than you do on the ferris wheel. During the summer months and school vacations, the waiting time is sometimes over an hour.
Be sure to buy tickets in advance to save time and money!
London Eye prices
Prices for the London Eye vary somewhat. They start at around 22£ for children and 27£ for adults. These prices apply for standard tickets. We would definitely recommend booking a fast track ticket. Although slightly more expensive, these tickets allow you to skip the line at the entrance. It’s not uncommon to have to wait over an hour for a standard ticket, while people with fast track tickets are granted immediate admission (via a dedicated line).
As the London Eye is one of the most popular attractions, tickets are also available in combination with other tours. This has the advantage that you pay less than you would if you booked each item separately.
The most popular combination ticket is the London Eye & Thames River Cruise. With this ticket, you not only get a ride on the London Eye, but a river cruise on the Thames as well! Having tried it ourselves on several occasions, we can confirm that viewing London from the water is a truly magical experience and one that should be on every tourist’s “To Do” list!
If you want to make your ride on the London Eye extra special, the London Eye Champagne Experience is the perfect choice: your own personal champagne waiter treats you to a glass of Pommery Brut Royal while you enjoy the wonderful aerial view of London! And of course you won’t have to wait in line either.
This London Eye ticket includes a visit to a 4D cinema, which can be accessed via the ticket office. The four-minute film tells the story of the London Eye and brings a new dimension to the visitor experience with the help of light, wind, sound, snow, and water effects. It’s the first 4D film ever produced in the United Kingdom. The film also includes the first 3D aerial photography of London. It’s best to watch the short film before boarding the ferris wheel, as then you’ll know what to expect during the ride. Allow time for waiting in line, as the film show is very popular.
How to get to the London Eye
This attraction is located in the southwest of Jubilee Garden. You can’t miss the ferris wheel from the banks of the Thames. The best way to get there is via Waterloo Station – you’ll spot the wheel the moment you step off the train. Alternatively, you can get off at Westminster Station and take a walk across Westminster Bridge. Embankment and Charing Cross are situated north of the Thames, about a 15-minute walk from the London Eye. If approaching from either of these two stations, you’ll need to cross Hungerford Bridge to get to the London Eye.
Access is barrier-free, and thanks to the capsules having glass walls, even people in wheelchairs get a good view.
Stations close to the London Eye: Waterloo, Westminster, Embankment and Charing Cross
Bus lines: 211, 77, and 381
Parking: Q-Park Westminster is the nearest multi-storey car park.
The ticket office is located in County Hall, directly next to the London Eye, so the following address should be used for navigation purposes:
Riverside Building, County Hall Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7PB
Opening times for the London Eye
From September through June, the London Eye is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. However, tickets can be purchased as from 9:30 a.m. The capsules start moving at 10:00 a.m. In the months of July and August, the view can be enjoyed for an extra hour (until 9:30 p.m.). The only exceptions are Christmas Eve (10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.) and New Year’s Eve (10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.).
Watching the sunset from the London Eye is a very special experience
The best times to visit the London Eye: Generally speaking, the busiest time is between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Waiting times are at their longest during this period. You may not have to wait as long if you arrive at the ferris wheel in the early morning or late afternoon. Weekdays are also less busy than weekends. In bad weather, the waiting time is often shorter than when the sun’s shining. However, you should bear in mind that you can’t see as far when it’s raining.
Something else that’s good to know: Disabled visitors are generally admitted via the fast track entrance.