A recent addition to the London skyline, the London Eye has now become an indispensable landmark in the city. Millions of people visit the huge Ferris wheel every year, and if you’re coming to London in the near future, chances are you’ll become one of them! In this article we’ll highlight the popular London landmark, which is the most-visited paid visitor attraction in the UK, and provide you with some inside tips to make the most of your visit!
London Eye History and Facts
The official name of the London Eye is the EDF Energy London Eye, and it is also known as the Millennium Wheel. The giant observation wheel was erected in 1999 and opened in 2000, to mark the time turning from the 20th century into the new millennium. The London Eye is the largest Ferris wheel in Europe, and was designed by the architects David Marks and Julia Barfield. It is 135 meters tall (443 feet) and features 32 passenger capsules, with each capsule representing one of the London boroughs. One capsule can fit up to 25 people, and you can walk around in it freely or sit at a bench.
The total experience of riding the London Eye will take just over half an hour, since one spin of the wheel takes about 30 minutes. According to its website, the London Eye travels 0.9 km per hour (0.6 miles), which is twice as fast as a running tortoise. This slow pace means visitors can embark and disembark from the Eye while it moves. You’ll also have plenty of time to take pictures of the panoramic views, so be sure to bring your camera! On clear days you can see as far as 40 kilometers (25 miles) in every direction. Other London landmarks such as Westminster Palace, Buckingham Palace, and the Shard can all be seen from the London Eye. If you want to try other vantage points with a better view of Eastern London, check out this article about the three best places to see London from above.
Visiting the London Eye
The London Eye opens at 10 am and closing times depend on the season. From September to March the Eye is open until 8:30 pm, from April to June it is open until 9 pm and in July and August it is open until 9:30 pm. Our advice is to go either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid peak times. The views are quite spectacular during twilight, and at night you can see the whole city light up beneath you. For more information about opening times and tickets, see the official website of the London Eye. Here you can get tickets for about £20 – a little less if you book online in advance, and a little more if you want fast track tickets (to skip the lines). Tickets also include entrance to the 4D London Eye Experience, which you can find at the London Eye Ticket Office located in County Hall.
County Hall is a huge building on the south bank of the River Thames next to Westminster Bridge in Lambeth. The building used to be the headquarters of the Greater London Council, but it now houses the London Sea Life Aquarium and other businesses. You will find the London Eye itself right besides County Hall in between the Jubilee Gardens and the Thames River. The closest London Underground station is Waterloo, which you can reach by taking the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Waterloo & City or Northern line. Another subway station that’s close is Westminster, on the northern bank of the Thames, which gives access to the Circle, District and Jubilee lines. If you get out here you’ll get a great up-and-close view of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and you just have to cross Westminster Bridge to get to the London Eye.
London Vacation Accommodation
Can’t get enough of the London Eye? If you want the time to explore this landmark and other attractions in London while staying in a comfortable apartment where you can feel at home, we have a 1-bedroom vacation rental in Lambeth (1175) available in a modern building with a tranquil garden!
The apartment itself contains a cozy living room, fully-equipped kitchen where you can cook your own meals, a light-filled bedroom and a modern bathroom.
The apartment is located on Westminster Bridge Road next to Lambeth North, where you will find restaurants, bars and galleries all around. Plus, the London Eye is just 0.3 miles (0.5 km) way from the apartment!
If you’re looking for accommodation in another neighborhood in London, have a look at our other London vacation rentals.
Have you ever been on the London Eye?
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