A Guide To The London Eye

The All Seeing Eye


Photo credit: Larry Johnson via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

You cannot miss the London Eye as it towers above you on the South Bank of the River Thames.

There it sits, a giant Ferris wheel that takes you on a magic carpet ride above one of the most famous cities on earth.

You rise above the streets and looking down begin to trace the River Thames as it snakes through the heart of the great city. You see the landmarks you first hear of as a child and that define London in the eyes of the world: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's, Westminster Cathedral, London Zoo, Wembley Stadium, Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the Olympic Stadium, the Shard...
Photo credit: Martie Swart (martie1swart) via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

As the Eye moves on its circular journey you realise you cannot feel the movement, nor sense the distance you are travelling. You are moving, you know you are, you can sense it. Ten minutes ago you were over there and now you are over here; but you cannot somehow seem to measure it.
Your elegant progression in your metal "pod" seems to have phased you into a parallel universe where the shifting sands of time seem to both move and not to move. The cars, trains and stick people in the little world below move like insects along their preordained paths. But you, silent in your world, remain still. Watching and waiting until time begins again and you will have to rejoin the land of the mere mortals.
Photo credit: Miguel Mendez via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

It is the experience that has begun to define London.

It is the experience of London.

It is truly the all seeing Eye.



What is the London Eye?

Photo credit: Rocky Lubbers (Rocpoc) via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
The London Eye is a huge Ferris wheel that is situated in the middle of London on the South Bank of the River Thames across the river from the Houses of Parliament. It's revolving capsules offers fantastic views of the city.

Eye Facts



Photo credit: Greg Knapp via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
  • The Eye is 135 metres - 443 ft - tall
  • It is 120 metres - 394 ft wide
  • On average 3.75 million people visit the Eye each year
  • There are 32 "pods" or capsules on the Eye. Each capsule represents one of London's Boroughs
  • Each capsule can carry 25 people
  • Top speed is 0.6 mph
  • A complete rotation takes 30 minutes. A trip on the Eye is one rotation.
  • The Eye does not stop to let passengers on and off. It continues moving slowly enough to allow visitors to walk on and off at ground level while it is still in motion.
  • Photo credit: Maurice via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
  • Since 9th March 2000 the London Eye has taken over 30 million people for a slow spin. It was officially opened by Tony Blair on New Year's Eve 1999, but did not open to the public until the following march due to safety concerns.

How Far Can I See?


On a clear day you can see for up to 25 miles, which is all the way to Windsor Castle.

And What Can I See?


Photo credit: Shellmush via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
  • Big Ben
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Westminster Abbey
  • London Zoo
  • Post Office Tower
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Tower Bridge
  • London Bridge
  • Canary Wharf
  • Olympic Park
  • Wembley Stadium
  • Windsor Castle
  • The Shard 


London Eye Ticket Prices as at March 2013


Ticket Type                        Price                                     Conditions
____________________________________________________________

Standard Ticket*                Adult - £19.20 (16+)                 30 minutes on the Eye
                                         Child - £12.30 (4-15)                 Standard admission on
                                         Family of 4** - £63.00                specified date and time
____________________________________________________________

 Flexi Standard Ticket        Adult -£20.28                             30 minutes on the Eye
(online only)                       Child - £14.07                            Flexible admission on the
                                         Family of 4** - £61.80                day of your choice
____________________________________________________________

Fast Track Ticket*            Adult - £29.16                               30 minutes on the Eye
                                        Child   - £29.16                             Fast Track priority boarding
                                        Family of 4** - £116.64                  on specified date and time
_____________________________________________________________  
Flexi Fast Track                Adult - £31.75                               30 minutes on the Eye 
(online only)                     Child - £31.75                               Fast Track priority boarding 
                                       Family of 4** - £126.96                  Flexible admission on the
                                                                                            day of your choice
______________________________________________________________

Fully Flexi versions of these tickets are also available which allow you flexible admission on the week of your choice

*Discounts of 10%-20% available online
**A family of 4 comprises of two adults (16+) and two children (under 16)

  • Children under 4 travel free
  • Fast Track Tickets allow you to jump the long lines of people
  • Tickets may be purchased or collected from the Box Office on site, bought online or ordered by phone on +44 (0) 871 781 3000
  • The Eye offers full facilities for disabled visitors. To book tickets or make an inquiry call +44 (0) 871 222 1888
Photo credit: Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) via Flickr. CC By 2.0
In this writer's opinion prices for the London Eye are extremely complicated and difficult to understand. In light of the fact that a trip on the Eye can be a large expense the best way to get the best deal is to ring the Box Office and ask a real person some questions about what would be the best deal for you.
Ask how busy they are, as a Fast Track Ticket can cost twice as much as a Standard Ticket, but is a complete waste of money if the Eye is not too busy and the lines are small.


Special Experience Tickets


A range of special experience tickets are available, including Champagne, Afternoon Tea, Vinopolis Wine Tasting and Night Experiences.


London Eye Opening Hours 2013


Photo Credit: Tom Soper (Tom Soper Photography).
 CC BY 2.0
  • 21st January - 28th March. 10.00 hrs to 20.30 hrs 
  • 1st April - 14th April. 10.00 hrs to 21.30 hrs
  • 15th April - 27th June. 10.00 hrs to 21.00 hrs
  • 28th June - 31st August. 10.00hrs to 21.30 hrs
  • 1st September - 31st December. 10.00 hrs to 20.30 hrs
Christmas and New Year Exceptions:
  • Dec 24th. Shuts at 17.30 hrs
  • Dec 25th. Closed
  • Dec 31st. Shuts at 15.00 hrs

How to get to the London Eye


Photo credit: Tammy Lo (tammylo) via Flickr. CC By 2.0
The London Eye is located on the South Bank of the River Thames on the other side from the Houses of Parliament at the bottom end of Jubilee Gardens. You will find the ticket office inside County Hall (next to the Eye). The address is:

The EDF London Eye
Riverside Building
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB

You can get to the Eye on foot from either Waterloo, Westminster, Embankment or Charring Cross Underground Stations.
It is on the following Bus routes - 77, 211 and 381.You can also get there by River Boat from many locations including: O2, Tower Bridge, Docklands and Greenwich.






Enjoy your Meal

There are some great dining packages offered by the London Eye that combine a trip on the Eye with a great meal out before or after. Check out the great deals at fantastic local restaurants such as Skylon and Ping Pong Dim Sum.



Private Capsule

Photo credit: Ewen Roberts (ewen and donabel) via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
All aboard for the trip of a lifetime!
You can book a private capsule from £300 upwards. What a great way to propose to your fiance, celebrate an anniversary or hold a children's party.



Eyes Wide Open


Since the London Eye opened in 2000, two other Ferris Wheels have come along to steal its crown as the largest wheel in the world.
  • The 160 metre (525 ft) Star of Nangchang, which is located in the Chinese city of Nangchang and opened in May 2006.
  • The 165 metre (541 ft) Singapore Flyer, which is located in the Republic of Singapore and opened in March 2008.

Eyes Wide Shut


The following Ferris wheel projects have all stalled or been abandoned:
  • The 208 metre (652ft) Beijing Great Wheel
  • The 185 metre (607ft) Great Dubai Wheel
  • The 183 metre (600 ft) Voyager in Las Vegas
  • The 176 metre (577ft) Bangkok Eye
  • The 175 metre (574ft) Great Berlin Wheel
  • The 167.6 metre (550ft) High Roller in Las Vegas

The Great Wheel

Photo credit: Public Domain EU (PD-UK-unknown)
 and US (PD-1923) via Wikimedia Commons
The London Eye is not the first giant Ferris Wheel to take people on a ride above London. In 1895 the Great Wheel, built to celebrate the Empire of India Exhibition, opened to the public at Earl's Court. Rising up to an impressive 94 metres (308 ft) the Great Wheel continued revolving until 1906 by which time it had carried over 2.5 million passengers. It was demolished the following year.