A sightseeing icon that’s as beautiful to look at as it is to look out from
Originally designed as one of the capital’s main commissions to mark the turning of the millennium, the London Eye has established itself as one of the skyline’s most loved features, long after the Y2K bug and the ‘Dome’ were forgotten.
The London Eye first started turning in spring 2000 and remains the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. But wordy technical definitions aside, it’s simply a gloriously over-sized ferris wheel that carries its passengers in space-age pods on an elegantly paced journey to 135 metres up above the Thames and back down again.
Visitors kick off their round-trip with a brief 4D film in County Hall (where you get your tickets) to witness some stunning shots of London that you’ll soon get to see first-hand from the pods. Following the visual excitement, you’ll join a snaking queue (even more winding during the school holidays) in a wait to board the huge glass pods. Each one is surprisingly roomy, thanks to the 25-person capacity, so everyone has space to roam and get a good view. On a clear day you can see as far as Windsor Castle, and on most days you can see if the Queen’s opened the curtains at Buckingham Palace.
Thirty minutes later you’ll find yourselves back on terra firma as the wheel completes one full rotation. The ride is smooth and steady, so any age will enjoy the trip – so long as they don’t have a fear of heights. The wheel is also entirely wheelchair accessible.
The popularity of the London Eye has drawn other attractions to the same stretch of the South Bank, between Westminster Bridge and the Golden Jubilee walk bridges. County Hall is also a pleasure palace, housing a hotel, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, The London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure London. Nearby Jubilee Gardens offer a chance for young families to run off steam after the queues and crowds, and the London Eye Pier directly below the wheel is a great place to jump onto one of the regular riverboat services that stop off at several points between Westminster and Greenwich.
|Venue name:||London Eye||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||2016 opening times. Apr daily 10am-9pm; May 1-26 and June 6-30 Sun-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri and Sat 10am-9.30pm; May 27-Jun 5 daily 10am-9.30pm; Jul and Aug daily 10am-9.30pm; Sep to Dec 10am-8.30pm (except Dec 24 10am-5.30pm, Dec 25 closed, Dec 31 10am-3pm).|
|Price:||Available (online) from £23.45, £21 ages 3-15, free under-threes (free ticket must be booked).|
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