The 135m (443 ft)-high Coca-Cola London Eye is a huge ferris wheel that was the world’s tallest when opened in 1999. Each of the 32 10-tonne air-conditioned capsules holds 25 people and unlike other ferris wheels, you are able to stand up and walk around, rather than stay seated for the duration of the rotation.
Although several other large observation wheels are now a similar size, or larger (like those in Las Vegas, Nanchang and Singapore); the London Eye is still the tallest in Europe and is also one of the better observation wheels because of its brilliant location in central London right across the river from the Houses of Parliament.
The central location means that a ride offers far better sightseeing opportunities than similar observation wheels allowing you to see most major London landmarks with particularly good views of the Houses of Parliament, Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben), Westminster Abbey, the Shard and across central London to Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
The London Eye rotates every thirty minutes offering brilliant views over London from the distinctive ellipsoid capsules.
It is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom.
Visiting the London Eye
The London Eye is located in the cluster of tourist attractions near County Hall, between Waterloo and Westminster Bridges, which include the SEA LIFE London Aquarium and the London Dungeon. The closest tube station is Waterloo, which is a five-minute walk away.
Entry is rather expensive, but better value than other London attractions operated by the Merlin Group (the London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds or the SEA LIFE London Aquarium). The Merlin’s Magical London Pass gives you combined entry to other Merlin attractions in London, which will save you some money if you plan on visiting the other attractions. You can also get free entry with the Merlin Annual Attractions Pass, although buying this pass usually only makes sense for people who live close to one of the Merlin theme parks (which include Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park).
If you’re not using one of the Merlin passes it is best to book your admission ticket online at least a day in advance for a discounted price.
Other attractions nearby include the London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and the Florence Nightingale Museum, all located within a five-minute walk and just across Westminster Bridge are all the Westminster attractions including the Churchill War Rooms, Jewel Tower, Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament).
A ride on the London Eye takes 30 minutes, but allow up to 1½ hours to include queuing during busy periods.