London Eye was opened on New Year’s Eve 1999, although it became available to the public only in March 2000. It was initially planned as a temporary attraction with a five-year lease but was granted a permanent status in 2002. It was designed by architects Julia Barfield and David Marks, husband and wife.
London Eye Structure and Views
It is made of 32 pods, one for each borough of London. One pod can hold up to 25 people, and seats are available in the middle of each pod. The best views are available when standing next to the windows.
The London Eye gives visitors a unique perspective of London and its architecture, including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on the other side of the Thames, Buckingham Palace straight towards the west, and even St. Paul’s Cathedral further away in the northeast. During the ride, take time to identify the landmarks and historical buildings as it is an opportunity to know the city better. One rotation takes roughly half an hour, so there should be enough time to find the landmarks.
Tips for Visitors
Tickets are recommended to be booked online. Tickets are bought for a specific 15-minute time slot, and the price varies based on demand. Buying a ticket on the same or the next few days is usually more expensive. There’s a queue to enter the London Eye even with the time slot tickets.
Fast Track tickets are also available that get you straight into the capsule. The Fast Track tickets are about 50% more expensive, but as with standard tickets, the price is variable and has to be checked online when buying the ticket.
The third ticket option is the Champagne Experience ticket, which includes the Fast Track entry and adds a glass of Champagne for around £5 more.
If you are really serious about your London Eye experience, it’s also possible to book the whole pod for 2-25 people for around £675 or a romantic Cupid’s Pod for £550.
The London Eye is in a great location, making it easy to start a nice walk around many of the landmarks of London.
Behind the London Eye, you’ll find Jubilee Gardens, an open space where you can relax or wait for your time slot. South Bank Centre is also close, offering many cultural activities, restaurants and bars.
Other tourist attractions, such as The London Dungeon and Sea Life, are next to the London Eye. The Westminster Bridge will take you to Big Ben in five minutes, and walking just a bit longer, you can reach some other places that are visible from the London Eye, for example, Buckingham Palace.