One of the most famous attractions in London is the London Eye! It is clearly visible from a great number of places no the bank of the River Thames. It has some of the best view of London and is well worth a visit to.
The London Eye is easily accessible from the London Underground via the Westminster tube station. You will need to walk across the bridge near Parliament Square when you arrive, but it is well worth it as it makes for some spectacular photos. Always be aware of your surroundings! This area can be very crowded. Keep any valuable close to your body at all times. You can also use the Waterloo station, but I have found that this station is more crowded than the Westminster Station.
Other transportation options include train, bus and car. The train stations that are closest are the Waterloo and Charing Cross stations. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from them. You will want to follow the signs that point towards the South Bank. If you are getting dropped off by car, I would recommend the Westminster area as a drop off point. A full list of transportation options can be found here.
Buying a Ticket
If you are in London for a few days and already have a London Pass or other type of multiple discounted attraction pass, check if it includes admission to the London Eye before you buy a ticket. If it does not, a lot of the city passes include discounted tickets. You will still need to visit the ticket booth in order to have them scan your pass for the ticket.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do when I was there so I opted for the single attraction ticket. It cost me just over 25 pounds. If you think you might want to visit the aquarium, or other attractions in the area buy the multi experience ticket. It will save you a lot of money. I would highly recommend you walk around the Westminster Pier area to see what interests you before you make any decisions.
I decided as a solo traveler this time around I was more interested in the historical landmarks other than the expensive tourist geared experiences in this area. I was also tight on time. If you have access to a computer, buying the tickets online will save you a little money. You will need to print out the voucher and exchange it for the actual ticket.
There are options for timed entries and for fast track options. If you go towards the end of the day and are not in a hurry, I wouldn’t recommend spending the extra money to skip the queue. The line moves fairly quickly and yes it’s always pretty crowded. The key is to go early, late and not on a weekend. With that being said, check the attraction times on the website of the London Eye before you make any decisions.
Once you have your ticket and are waiting in line you will find yourself going through a bag check and wanting to pull your camera out. Make sure your camera is fully charged or you have a spare battery. The experience it self lasts about 30 minutes. You and about 30-40 people are loaded into one of the sky box type rooms and will see London at all sorts of beautiful angles.
Many people will rush to take a seat at one of the two benches in the middle of the pod. Head straight for the side of the pod that overlooks Westminister. You will have the best views of London there. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the highest point. It doesn’t even feel like you are moving! The London Eye is extremely smooth!
Towards the midway point, I had people pushing me to try and see where I was standing. I don’t appreciate when people shove their phones in my face to try and get me to move. I held my ground and I refused to move as I had been standing there for 10 minutes and wanted a picture of London at the highest point.They only need wait about 2 minutes.
After that I had no qualms about moving so I could see the city center side of London. The people in my pod didn’t seem to have any common courtesy and just shoved past me. Other than that, the experience was well worth my time and money as it was the best way to see the top of London. If I did it again I would go later at night so I could see all of the lights and nightscape of the city.
When you get off the London Eye you have the chance to purchase any photos they took of you on the attraction. They are pricey though! I recommend walking along the embankment and taking some photos below the Westminster Bridge area. I was able to get some great shots of Parliament and Big Ben without too many people in the background. I only wish it wasn’t raining and there wasn’t as much construction going on.
I highly recommend the London Eye as one of the major sites to see on your list at the beginning of your trip as possible. Go early or late if you can and don’t have a time limit on it. It’s expensive, but the photos you will get out of the experience are well worth it! Until next time, happy travels!