Ultimate Guide to the London Eye Experience

Monday, 22 April 2024

Reach new heights and feel on top of the world in one of London’s most iconic attractions. The London Eye experience should be at the top of your bucket list when visiting the city.

Everything looks calmer, slower and more peaceful from the sky. Gain a new perspective of London while floating in the skyline on the London Eye. Glance around in every direction as you take in the 30 minutes of constantly changing views of The Big Smoke. As well as being a national symbol, getting London Eye tickets will get your blood pumping as you lift higher and higher off the ground. For the full London experience, a ride on the tallest observation wheel in the world is a must.

Climb on board a train to London for an unforgettable trip to the UK’s capital city.

Tempted by this bucket-list experience in the UK’s capital? Here’s the ultimate guide with everything you need to know about the London Eye Experience.

What to expect

Hovering 443 feet in the sky in the heart of the Big Smoke are the 10-tonne glass capsules of the London Eye. On a clear day, you can see as far as Windsor Castle, with a maximum distance of 40 km in sight. Each high-tech cabin is temperature-controlled and can hold up to 25 people – with a maximum of two wheelchair users per pod.

Each container represents a different London Borough and they’re numbered from one to 33. You might notice that the number 13 is missing – this was intentional, for superstitious reasons. It takes 30 minutes for them to make a full rotation, moving at a steady pace of around twice the speed of a tortoise at 26 centimetres per second.

Good to know before you go

When booking, put some thought into what time of day to visit. Secure an early slot to avoid queues, choose midday for the best chance of good visibility or for a romantic sunset ride, go just before closing. Before you head over, pack some binoculars if you’ve got them, and you might want to bring a bottle of water for the ride.

What are the London Eye Experience opening times?

The opening hours vary depending on the season, but generally, you can visit from 11:00 to 18:00 on a weekday and longer opening hours on weekends.

How much is the London Eye Experience?

Booking online in advance will guarantee you a slot – they’re £33 on the day, £25 in advance, or you can get discounted entry tickets .

On the day

Get off the train at London Waterloo and walk around 10 minutes to reach the London Eye, which sits on the edge of the Thames. Make use of the facilities at the ticket office when you arrive, as there are no toilets onboard the flying capsules. Queuing time varies but it usually takes between 20 to 45 minutes to board. Before you do, you’ll be taken into the 4D Cinema Experience, where you’ll feel the wind in your face, the juddering ground and see snow falling all around you.

As you step inside the glass pods, you’ll find interactive touchscreen displays where you can learn all about the monuments and landmarks beneath your feet. Take it all in and feel on top of the world during the 30 minutes of this memorable experience. Snap some selfies and post them on your socials using the #eyelovelondon hashtag to mark the occasion.

A brief history

For those who are just a touch over twenty (we’re not counting), you might remember welcoming in the new millennium – which is when the London Eye first popped up in the capital’s skyline. In the year 2,000, Marks Barnfield Architects launched the attraction and it took the title of the world’s tallest observation wheel. At the time, it was just a temporary installation, but after gaining an enormous amount of attention it became a permanent landmark.

Since then, royals and superstars like Angelina Jolie and Kate Moss have been seen to adore the attraction. Every year, some 12,000 fireworks are launched from the London Eye on New Year's Eve. It’s also a place of romance, where over 5,000 proposals and 500 weddings have taken place.

Things to look out for

As you soar higher into the sky you’ll notice you can see more and more of the bridges across the Thames. First in sight is Westminster Bridge, then beyond to the ‘wobbly bridge’, commonly known as the Millenium Bridge. Wave to the royals in Buckingham Palace, if there’s a Union Jack flag flying high in the sky then the king is not in residence.

Spot the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the roof of the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral, which stands at 366 and has the largest dome in the world. Look towards the Financial District to see the curved Gherkin and the first skyscraper in London – the 600 ft high NatWest Tower. Right below you will be the green Jubilee Gardens, where there’s likely to be a picnic or two being devoured.

Try an upgrade

With a standard ticket, you’ll be in for an experience of a lifetime at one of London’s most beloved attractions. But if you’re visiting on an extra special occasion, you might want to upgrade to a £53 Champagne Experience, where you can soak up the views while raising a glass of chilled Pommery Brut Royal Champagne – plus you’ll get to skip the standard queue on entry. There’s also an option for a fast-track ticket for £48, where you’ll have priority entry at your chosen timeslot to reduce waiting time.

Handy tip: When you travel with London Northwestern Railway, you can get exclusive discounted entry to some of the UK’s top attractions.

Feel like on top of the world with discounted off-peak tickets and bring your children for as little as £1 with a Family Travelcard. Purchase your ticket via the London Northwestern Railway app.