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Eyes on the EYE

Greetings Travel Friends!

We're looking to experience the London EYE in early June and have started researching it. What suggestions can you offer to help us make the most of this attraction? Thanks so much!

Posted by
25771 posts

if you like to see towns and cities from high up also consider some of the beautiful and free roof gardens on some of London's skyscrapers.

Posted by
12504 posts

Right. Take a look at Skygarden:

https://skygarden.london

You could enjoy the view + some nice cocktails for what 30 minutes on the Eye would run you (and it wasn't all THAT).

Posted by
21206 posts

I think the eye is interesting but it is just a big, very slow moving ferris wheel that makes one round. You are in a cabin with about 20 other people so you can move around, take pictures, etc. You get great views of the river and London but it is a one time event. Personally thought it was a little disappointing with no interest in doing it again.

Posted by
4368 posts

Personally I have no desire to ride it. It's simply a giant ferris wheel that is expensive to ride, long queues and it appears a bit boring. When I stayed at the Marriott County Hall the cabins went past the room, I could see a lot of bored faces and I'm sure many of them felt a bit uncomfortable about having direct views into a number of hotel rooms.

From what I've read on here there are plenty of alternatives for impressive city views, some of which are free or cheaper than the Eye, and are located in a number of the new tall buildings. Personally I'd be more inclined to splash out a bit on lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants in The Shard, or even a simple visit to a bar there. You'll experience better views than the Eye plus a decent meal.

Posted by
5980 posts

Agreeing with Frank & JC. We were disappointed, especially after waiting in line for 2 hours (even with tickets in advance). It was crowded on the inside and people were not exactly wanting to share good spots on the outside go the car. None of our photos came out (shooting through glass windows never seems to work out) and it was a gray day, so the view wasn't that interesting. So in all it cost half a day of time we could have spent better elsewhere. Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear.

Posted by
5307 posts

If you have your heart set on it, go for it. But as you see, on here, and in the opinion of most I have seen, not a crime to pass it up, been to London a half dozen times and never felt the urge to go.

I think the key would be to find some type of discounted tickets (if there is such a thing) and figure out when the wait is minimal, it would frustrate me to have that occupy several hours of my trip for a view, at 30 GBP per person.

Posted by
3222 posts

Not much to make the most of. As stated, it’s a Ferris wheel. We went a few years ago in December, only because my daughter wanted to ride it. No line at all when we went, but June is a different story. It was interesting, but once is sufficient.

Posted by
12218 posts

In case you have not been discouraged by the above comments, here is the official website for advance tickets:

https://www.londoneye.com

Note that there is a difference between "standard" tickets purchased in advance, and "skip the line" Fast Track tickets. The latter are £10 extra. You will have to decide if the savings in time are worth the extra money.

Posted by
5011 posts

Personally I was unimpressed. My wife wanted to check it off her list, I tried not to let my eye-rolls and overall cynicism for artificial manufactured-for-tourists experiences ruin it for her. She seemed to like it. I thought the views were OK, not spectacular. I don't recall having to wait terribly long in line, but I do recall feeling it wasn't the best use of our time or money.

Posted by
213 posts

I generally agree with the other posters that the EYE is not worth the hassle or cost. With that said, I was in London in October for my sixth time in the last 9 years and we did an unplanned visit while the clouds were starting to clear when we were on the south bank. The lines were long, so we paid extra for the fast track ticket, which I highly recommend if you face likely long lines. I never bothered to research the Eye as it never appealed to me, so I was surprised that the ticket included a 7 minute 3D experience, which I found surprisingly entertaining. Moving onto the Eye, it was, eh, just okay. We boarded our cabin in about 5 minutes with our fast track tickets. If we waited close to an hour or more for the Eye, I would have been cranky and would wholeheartedly suggest you don’t bother with it, but if you pay a little extra to avoid the lines, have at it and cross it off your list.

Posted by
1004 posts

I enjoy big ferris wheels, the London Eye, not so much.
I think it's because it's enclosed, and very slow, but I was ready to be done long before it was done.

Posted by
1524 posts

Emma - An evening dining at Blacklock is just added on my to do list when i return to London in May. Thanks for the dining tip. I can't wait to sample those grilled meats.

Posted by
5307 posts

Emma;

I have no ill will for the Eye, and as a fixture of the skyline I think it is neat...just no desire to go up in it.

Grab a stink and enjoy the view.

Not sure whether to take that as a Typo (Drink maybe?) or a quaint English slang term.

Posted by
11263 posts

I like seeing the Eye from other spots in London, so I agree with Emma that it's a nice addition to London. However, I didn't go up it, due to lack of desire and high price.

If you're looking for another free view, I was very impressed with the evening view from the Tate Modern (free entry, open late certain nights).

Posted by
571 posts

We were given a ride on the Eye by our daughter, who works in Westminster and came with us. She was able to talk about the various buildings we could see, and made it all much more interesting. I can see that for someone who didn't know what they were seeing, and were just ticking another item off their tourist list, might be underwhelmed. But it's a lot more interesting than the Trevi fountain, and I could never get very excited about afternoon tea. People react differently to things.

Posted by
21206 posts

Now Harley, don't get picky with the English language. It may not be a Ferris wheel to you and some of your countrymen and women but to the rest of the world it is ------
Wikipadia ----- A Ferris wheel is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating upright wheel with multiple passenger-carrying components (commonly referred to as passenger cars, cabins, tubs, capsules, gondolas, or pods) attached to the rim in such a way that as the wheel turns, they are kept upright, usually by gravity.

TodayIfoundout.com --- ........The most famous of them all (Ferris wheels) is probably the London Eye which sits on the edge of the Thames in London. The Eye opened to the public in 2000, and at that time it was the largest Ferris wheel in the world at an astounding 443 feet (135 meters) tall. However, other Ferris wheels have since surpassed it in size.......

Somehow a Cantilevered Giant Observation Wheel doesn't roll off the tongue as smoothly as Ferris Wheel.

Posted by
1044 posts

We visited twice. Once in day time and once at night/evening.

I liked the views (though I have altitude anxiety, but it helped that the cabin is closed) and at night it was a totally other view with all the lights.

Posted by
3895 posts

Our first trip to London we did the Eye - but because I think it was early Oct, we had absolutely no line up. We got on at sunset, so it was a bit light on the way up and darkening a little/Parliament lit up on the downside.

Did we enjoy it? - yes. Did we enjoy our visit to the free Skygarden last year just as much? - yes. Now with free rooftop options available (that weren't in '08), because of the horrible exchange rate we Canadians have with the pound, I'd probably skip it.

If you ask nicely, when we were in London in Sept, I picked up a package of Cadbury Wispa and there is a coupon on it for a buy one get one free admission to the London Eye (as well as some other attractions). But I don't think you can use it for advance tickets, only when you get there. Maybe some lovely person over there would send you the coupon if they can find one. (Expire in July). If we don't use ours in May (may go to the SeaLife attraction) I'll send you mine if interested.

Posted by
2122 posts

I didn’t realize I was in the minority. I really enjoyed the Eye. Granted it isn’t a thrill ride, but I thought it was fun. We went at dusk and the light really added to what is a great view. I wouldn’t do it again, and I probably wouldn’t do it on a first visit to London, but I was glad I did it.

Posted by
740 posts

Any visitor to London has to do The Eye. It means the same as if you go to Paris, where by you have to do The Eiffel Tower. So... You have to do The Eye also if you are in London. It is the same thing. 100 years difference, but the same thing. :)

Posted by
4368 posts

Any visitor to London has to do The Eye. It means the same as if you go to Paris, where by you have to do The Eiffel Tower. So... You have to do The Eye also if you are in London. It is the same thing. 100 years difference, but the same thing. :)

No.

Been to London numerous times, never 'did' the London Eye and haven't missed out. Didn't 'do' the Eiffel Tower either and have never felt that I haven't properly visited Paris.

There's nothing in any city that needs to be "done", everyting boils down to personal interest rather than slavishly following the sheep. We're all different, we all have different tastes and interests and there's no "one box fits all".

Posted by
90 posts

I will put a word in for the London Eye, I went a few years ago, at dusk on a clear, crisp, evening, with a 241 entry, ( they tried to upsell a guide, had to say no twice) I liked being in a large enclosed glass pod, means you can stand up, walk about and ride this all year round.

The Eye is also used as the focal point for the firework display on NYE.
I'm sure it's original name was the Millennium Wheel.

I do like a ride on the cable car dangle-way at North Greenwich, some fine, far views on a clear day.

The Sky Garden was ok, went before dusk, but didn't impress me, the outside walkway was closed off, inside became noisy and clubbie and there had been an argument in the main queue because someone had the wrong footwear and was refused entry.

Posted by
86 posts

I've been up in both the Eye and the Sky Garden. I think they're both fun and both different. However, if I had to pick one I'd pick the Sky Garden. You really are in the midst of a garden in the sky. The Tate Modern also has a roof terrace with views as does The Shard (quite expensive).

Posted by
18911 posts

I know I'm odd, but am I the only person who isn't entranced by having a bird's-eye view of a city? I find the view at street level much more interesting. And it is free, and it doesn't require me to stand in line.

Posted by
2265 posts

During my only visit to London in 2015, I did ride “The Eye” and found the experience OK, but not special. What was more special were the views of “The Eye” from various distances, right by it or from afar, especially at night when it was illuminated, sometimes in red or blue light. i stayed in a nice Southbank hotel room, on an upper floor, along the Thames, and was very pleasantly surprised to find I had a view of “The Eye” in the distance, illuminated as I went to bed, and then again in the early morning light when I woke up. My advice: milk the free views, skip the pricey ride!

Posted by
740 posts

Only suggestion is to go early and quickly figure out what line you should be in. Qualitatively, the Eye is not a Ferris wheel, even if it looks from a distance to be one. Its more, it's a 20 first century work of engineering. For that, I think it's the same as the Eiffel Tower was in the 19th century. It isn't just the view, for that you can go to Sky Gardens. It's more than that, it is a statement of mankind's mastery of physics. And that is, in itself, worth the ticket price. :)

Posted by
69 posts

Many thanks everyone for these detailed views on the London EYE plus information about the Sky Garden and Blocklock - which I wouldn't have known about. This is an excellent forum!