Perched atop the South Bank of the River Thames in London is the iconic London Eye. Despite its more recent name, it has become known to many across the world by its less formal monikers, such as the Millennium Wheel. It has been a staple of the London skyline since its construction began in 1998 and became a permanent fixture when it opened to the public in 2000.
Standing at a staggering 135 meters, the London Eye offers its passengers an unparalleled view of the city below. From its capsules, you can experience the famous sights of Westminster Abbey, The Shard, Big Ben, and beyond. It was erected to symbolise courage, hope, and forward-thinking, but it has also become a monument of international stature.
To find out more about the London Eye, its history, features, ticket prices, and fun facts, read on!
Where is the London Eye Located?
The London Eye is located just opposite the Houses of Parliament and provides visitors with a stunning 360° view of the city and its renowned landmarks, such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. With its iconic design and location, the London Eye is one of London’s most recognisable attractions.
The London Eye is situated directly between the South Bank Centre and County Hall, making it easy to find and enjoy this must-see attraction. It is conveniently located just south of Waterloo Station and within walking distance of the National Theatre, London Aquarium, and Westminster Bridge.
It is also just a short distance away from other popular London attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and Trafalgar Square. Thus, the London Eye is perfectly located for visitors to explore London’s many attractions and enjoy an unparalleled view of the city.
What Is the History of the London Eye?
The London Eye was originally constructed to celebrate the dawn of the new millennium, symbolizing the commencement of the century. It is a cantilevered observation wheel, renowned as the United Kingdom’s most popular visitor attraction. The project initially began when David Marks and Julia Barfield proposed a design for the London Eye for a competition in 1993. This design was selected and subsequently constructed between 1998 and 1999 with financial support from British Airways.
The London Eye opened its doors to the world many years ago. It has since been known as the British Airways London Eye, the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, and the Coca-Cola London Eye and is currently known as the Lastminute.com London Eye. However, the Millennium Wheel was the original designation of the structure.
How High Is the London Eye?
The London Eye stands at a height of 135 meters (443 ft). It is one of the world’s tallest observation wheels and provides visitors with stunning panoramic views of London’s skyline. To ensure its stability, an A-frame is situated on one side of the Eye.
It is a slow-moving experience, with its capsules traversing the circumference of the wheel at a rate of 26 cm per second. To save your brain, that means a full revolution or journey takes about 30 minutes, you’re welcome!
It remains one of the highest public viewing points in Central London and can be seen from all around the city. Its impressive stature makes it one of the most iconic landmarks in London.
Other London viewing platforms
If you’re keen on seeing the city from above, there are several other fantastic options, try some of these
- The Shard – Experience breathtaking views of London from the tallest building in Western Europe.
- The Sky Garden – Enjoy a lush indoor garden with panoramic views of the city skyline.
- One New Change – Shop, dine, and admire stunning rooftop views of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
- Lift 109 – Ride the glass elevator inside Battersea Power stations chimney, for your very own Willy Wonka experience.
- Tower Bridge – Explore one of the most iconic landmarks in London with its impressive architecture and fascinating views.
- The Monument – Climb to the top of this historic column to witness panoramic views and commemorate the Great Fire of London.
What Are the Features of the London Eye?
The wheel consists of 32 capsules, each with a capacity of 25 individuals. Each capsule is equipped with air-conditioning and glass pods, designed to remain upright as the wheel rotates, and the double-curved laminated glass for the pods was manufactured by cable-car specialists Poma in the French Alps.
Since 2006, the London Eye has been equipped with an LED lighting system capable of displaying a variety of colours and patterns. The eye is frequently lit up to celebrate significant events and its also used in the iconic London New Year’s Eve celebrations.
What Does the London Eye Represent?
The London Eye is one of the most visited attractions in the world, and its design is meant to represent the solidarity between London’s 32 boroughs and its inhabitants.
Fun Facts About the London Eye
Initially, its opening was postponed for a period of one month due to a technical issue involving the clutch of one of the capsules. The London Eye was granted a permanent license in July 2002.
The London Eye boasts a regal capsule, the absence of a capsule numbered 13, and twinkling lights that are illuminated in a variety of colours to commemorate various special occasions. It is also noteworthy that the London Eye is the fourth tallest observation wheel in the world, behind the High Roller in Las Vegas, the Singapore Flyer, and the Star of Nanchang.
This iconic structure has also been recognised as the British Airways London Eye, EDF Energy London Eye, Coca-Cola London Eye and Merlin Entertainments London Eye. It has become famous for its many aliases.
Is the London Eye included in the London Pass?
Unfortunately, the London Eye is not included in the London pass. If you’re looking to make the most of your money check out our guide The London Pass is it worth it?
Is the London Eye Worth It?
The London Eye has become a popular paid tourist attraction, with more than 3.75 million visitors each year. It provides an unparalleled opportunity to take in stunning 360-degree views of London and its surroundings, making it a rewarding experience.
The London Eye is a secure and safe structure, and it’s a very calming experience. Those who ride the London Eye can witness captivating views of iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the River Thames. It is also a perfect spot for taking memorable photos and videos.
We think the London Eye is a great way to spend time with family and friends and is definitely worth it. It’s always popular with the many tourist groups we guide in London.
Visiting the London Eye
Opening Times and Admission
The Eye is open daily (closed from 24th-26th of December and for 2 weeks during January for maintenance )
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB
What Are the Ticket Prices and Options?
The London Eye also provides a variety of ticketing options, such as fast-track entry and multi-attraction tickets. Popular paid tickets can be booked online directly from the official website or from the ticket office located at the attraction itself.
|Ticket Type||Pre booked Price||On the day Price|
|Standard Adult||£27.50 off-peak / £34 peak||£40|
|Standard Child (3-15)||£27.50 off peak / £34 peak||£36|
|Standard Infant (0-3)||Free||Free|
|Fast Track Adult||£53||£55|
|Fast Track Child (3-15)||£49||£30.50 off-peak / £38 peak|
|Fast Track Infant (0-3)||Free||Free|
How to Get to the London Eye
The closest tube station to the London Eye is Waterloo, which is situated in zone 1 and is served by multiple lines. Those who prefer to take a bus can take routes 211, 77, and 381 to get to the London Eye. Other rail stations nearby include Westminster, Embankment, and Charing Cross.
It is close to other tourist attractions like the Sea Life London Aquarium and the London Dungeon, both of which are part of the Merlin Entertainment group. If you’re considering visiting more than one attraction in this group you can save money with multi-attraction tickets.
The iconic wheel can be seen from around the city, so it’s pretty helpful as a point of reference if you get lost!
Hotels and Restaurants near the London Eye
Accommodation near the London Eye is plentiful. Marriott County Hall, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London, and Hampton By Hilton London Waterloo are some of the most popular choices. Additionally, there are a variety of restaurants and a recommended food market nearby.
Marriott County Hall is a luxurious hotel situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, boasting spectacular views of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. It is equipped with a fitness centre, an indoor pool, and a spa, as well as a variety of dining options, such as a steakhouse and a lounge.
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London is a luxurious hotel situated on the South Bank of the River Thames. It features contemporary rooms equipped with flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as a fitness centre, an indoor pool, and a variety of dining options.
Hampton By Hilton London Waterloo is a cost-effective hotel situated in the centre of London. It offers modern rooms equipped with flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as a fitness centre and a restaurant.
The Southbank Centre Real Food Market provides an opportunity for patrons to purchase high-quality food and beverages from small producers and independent traders at an affordable price.
In summary, there is no doubt that the London Eye is an awe-inspiring attraction. Visitors can experience breathtaking views of iconic landmarks in the area, all conveniently close to Waterloo Station and other popular attractions; and there are plentiful possibilities for food, drinks and hospitality nearby.
Tickets are on a par with many London attractions, with air-conditioned glass pods and LED lighting, visitors to the London Eye are sure to have a memorable experience, regardless of weather conditions.
In conclusion, the London Eye certainly offers a worthwhile experience, with captivating views, perfect opportunities for taking photos and videos, and plenty to do in the nearby area.
Frequently Asked Questions
The London Eye is an iconic attraction located on the River Thames in London, England. It was opened in 2000 and has since become one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. The wheel stands 135m high with a rotation speed of 0.9 kilometres per hour. It takes a total of 30 minutes to make a full loop of the wheel, with each capsule accommodating up to 25 people.
In addition, the view from the top encompasses 40km and offers spectacular views of London’s skyline. Lastly, the London Eye is illuminated in the evening with over 5,500 LED lights providing an amazing facelift to the capital city’s night sky.
The London Eye is a breathtaking feat of engineering, standing 443 feet tall with 32 passenger capsules connected to its outer rim. It features a central hub and spindle that’s connected with cable spokes to an inner and outer rim, giving it a total diameter of 394 feet.
With its unique design and stunning views, the London Eye provides a remarkable experience for all who visit.
Visitors to the London Eye must be aware of important safety regulations and adhere to them. Adults aged 16 and over can purchase a ticket, while children aged between 3 and 15 years old must have their own ticket. Those aged 2 or under can ride at no cost but require a valid ticket.
A responsible adult aged 18 or over must accompany all visitors aged 15 and below.
The London Eye pays homage to the 32 boroughs that make up England’s iconic capital. Each of the capsules also features a pictorial representation of its home borough.