One of London’s most popular attractions, the London Eye is one of the more recent additions to the London skyline. When I studied abroad in London in the 90s, it hadn’t even been built. So, on our first full day exploring London, I knew that I’d want to spend some time at the Eye. It’s been through several different sponsors and names, but it currently known as the Coca-Cola London Eye. Thinking about visiting the London Eye? Here’s what you’ll need to know about your visit, including London Eye tickets, our review, and tips.
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All About Visiting the London Eye – Tickets, Review, and Tips
What is the London Eye?
The London Eye is a large ferris wheel located on the south bank of the Thames River. It’s one of the largest points on the skyline and offers magnificent views of the city, including famous landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
When you are on the London Eye, you’ll be in a capsule, rather than an open seat. Capsules are air-conditioned, and can accommodate up to 25 people. There are some seats in the capsule, or you can stand near the glass to get a better view. During our trip, people moved around – both sitting and standing during the trip.
A full rotation on the London Eye takes 30 minutes, and is nice and smooth. There’s WiFi that reaches the capsules, and food and drink (beyond water) is not allowed. Even if the capsule is filled to capacity, there’s still plenty of time to move around.
Before entering your capsule, you’ll need to go through security. The Eye itself doesn’t typically stop to admit or discharge passengers – it’s constantly moving at a small place.
London Eye Tickets
There are so many different options for London Eye tickets, and it’s a good idea to review all of the options and purchase in advance. Everyone needs to have a valid ticket, although they are free for those under three. Guests who are 15 or younger need to ride with an adult 18 years of age or older.
A standard ticket includes admission to the Eye and the 4D Cinema Experience. When purchasing tickets online, you’ll choose a time. You’ll definitely want to buy in advance so you can pick the best time for your plans, and also get a 10% discount.
There are also the London Eye Fast Track tickets, which has a dedicated queue to get you on the ride faster. Lines can be long during the busy season, and can often be an hour or more. We booked the Fast Track option during our trip, and were on the ride within a few short minutes. The standard line was very long, and we were told it was well over an hour (in the hot sun!).
If you are looking for a special experience, there are other options. For instance, you can purchase a private capsule so that just your group rides in the capsule. There’s also a ticket that includes the London Eye Fast Track as well as a glass of champagne to enjoy. Other options include a day and night ride, a private wine tasting experience, and a chocolate tasting experience.
Because the Coca-Cola London Eye is operated by Merlin Entertainment, there are also combination tickets which includes other Merlin attractions. Options include the London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, and Shrek’s Adventure London. We didn’t have lots of extra time, so we opted to just stick with a ride on the Eye.
All of these ticket options can be purchased online. That’s your best option because you can choose your own time and even get a discount. Depending on the way you purchase, you may be able to print your tickets at home and skip the ticket booth. We bought our tickets though our hotel’s concierge, and had a voucher that had to be turned in for a regular ticket.
Review of the London Eye
So, is the London Eye worth it? It’s definitely expensive, especially considering that it’s only a 30 minute experience. Despite that, I still feel that it’s absolutely worth a visit, at least once. It’s such an iconic part of the London skyline, and is a major London attraction.
We went after our tour of Buckingham Palace. We took a cab from the Palace, and were at the London Eye after a short ride. I had vouchers from our hotel’s concierge, so I went into the ticket office to turn in the vouchers and get tickets. We had purchased the Fast Track, so I was able to go into that ticket line. After switching the vouchers, I received timing tickets for a few minutes later.
The Fast Track line was much, much shorter than the regular line. That was perfect for us, because we only had limited time during our free day, and it was very hot out. After less than 5 minutes in line, we were at the security check in. That was a quick process, and then we were able to get into our capsule.
You may be wondering – Is the London Eye Fast Track worth it? In our experience, it absolutely was. The standard line was long, and it was nice to be able to ride right away.
When we accessed our capsule, we had to walk in to it as the Eye slowly moved. Then, the capsule closed as we started to ascend. Originally, the whole seating area had been taken, but as we started to climb, people moved around. I loved seeing the beautiful London landmarks and sites from that angle, and was able to get some pictures.
Originally, I thought that 30 minutes seemed like a long time, but it really is the perfect amount of time. It’s long enough to make the wait worthwhile, but not so long that you get bored in the capsule.
London Eye Visit Tips
• Go during a slower time – like earlier in the day and midweek
• Purchase London Eye tickets in advance so you save time at the ticket booth
• Buy combo tickets if you want to do any of the other Merlin attractions
• Don’t bring prohibited items like food and beverages (except water)
• Consider the Fast Track if you want to save time, especially during the busy season
You can purchase London Eye tickets here.