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London Eye - Worth It? Book in advance? Fast Track? Best Time?

We'll be in London at the beginning of August (flying in this weekend!) and also at the end of our trip a couple of weeks later. I'm wondering if we should go on the London Eye - I've heard "it's great" and "skip it" - can anyone give their opinion and why? Also, if I should do it, do I really need to buy tickets in advance? Is there any real advantage to getting the more expensive "Fast Track" tickets if I do so? Is Sunset really the best time to go on it (sunrise not an option for me!)?

Thanks all for your help...

Posted by
215 posts

We were in London twice last few years. The only
things we repeated were the London Eye and British
Museum. So I'd say it is worth it. We've never
felt the need to buy tickets in advance. Went once
at sunset and once during the day. Sunset was
beautiful, but day time also had a great view.

Posted by
57 posts

I've been on the Eye twice -- on my 1st trip to London and again last year on my sister's 1st trip to London. It's nice to do on your 1st day there to get a feel for the city's layout. The view is also very nice especially on a clear day. As far as getting tickets, we just showed up (both times), got our tickets, walked over to the Eye and got on (the wait both times wasn't very long). My 1st trip there was in September, the 2nd in late May. I don't know how the crowds are in August, but you really shouldn't have a problem. If you get there and it's crowded or the weather isn't very clear, go another time -- something you really can't do if you buy tickets in advance. Overall, it is worth it, and I'm terrified of heights. I'll probably ride it every time I return to London.

Posted by
710 posts

I loved the views. We went a few years ago. The lines were long, but we decided to wait and do it.

Posted by
588 posts

Yes, it is worth it. We purchased tickets and waited about 15 minutes for the sunset view (about 8:00 pm). I would do it again . . . it is marvelous modern wonder surrounded by historical buildings. I have fantastic photos from the top. Enjoy!

Posted by
2349 posts

We went in March and it was fun for adults and the kids really loved it. We waited about 10 minutes for the tickets, and then less than 15 minutes to board. It looks pretty crowded but moves quickly. That said, if we had to wait hours I would skip it.

Posted by
157 posts

We did it on my first day in London this past trip and we all really liked it. The views are great and you can get some really nice pictures - just get close to the glass to cut down on the glare. I had booked in advance and I booked the river cruise as well. When I booked it there was no need to have booked early - the lines wwere short - but a short time later the lines were terribly long. So based on what I saw when I was there and what I have read here and elsewhere you can just walk up at certain times and get on - that provides flexibility for weather issues. After all if it were raining or bad weather when I booked in advance I would have not been happy. It was slightly overcast at the time I went - but hey, that is London. I say do the London Eye but do not book before you go to London - wait until you are there to book it when you know what the weather will be or just show up.

Posted by
658 posts

I'd take a gamble on this. As you're coming in August I'd wait for a really sunny day ( we have one every other decade ) and try and walk up and get on the eye for the sunset ride.

In good weather the sunset is spectacular.

Posted by
39 posts

My husband and I were in London in late May. We went on the London Eye for the last ride which is still light our and you can see great views but the sus is starting to set...around 8pm. It was really nice and I would highly recommend it. We bought tickets there and didn't have to wait for than 5 minutes in line. We also bought tickets to Madame Tussauds with the London Eye which gave you a discount and fast track into the wax museum and they were good for a month. Have fun!

Posted by
344 posts

As far as being worth it - I agree with most here - YES. When we went, we went around two hours before it closed. When you get there, it looks like there are a TON of people and you'll be standing around forever, but the line for tickets moved fairly quickly and the wait for the Eye itself was less than 15 minutes. I will say, though, that it was the one time in England where I felt like I was at Disney World - by that I mean the set up, queues, snack bar, etc. (not a bad thing in any way, just an observation). But definitely worth it.

Posted by
2349 posts

An interesting thing-as you come to the end of the ride, watch the cars in front of you. Two employees would go on to pick up trash, and to look for explosives with a giant mirror on a stick. Like a huge dental tool. They'd look under the bench and above the railings. They were unobtrusive but thorough.

Posted by
1 posts

Joel -
My husband and I took a flight on the Eye when we visited London in 2005; we're looking forward to another trip to London next May, and our first stop will be at The Eye. It's magnificent. Words cannot describe what it feels like to be so high above the incredible town of London, completely stable and secure in a glass capsule...there's something almost spiritual about it. I have a horrible fear of heights, but was determined to ride the Eye...and wasn't afraid for a second. Our daughter and her husband were in London for a week in late June of this year and they, too, took a flight on the Eye -- and loved it. I cannot speak to the wisdom of buying tickets early - we stood in line and bought ours at the time of our flight - but we definitely plan to take our next ride either at sunset or after dark. Hope your trip is wonderful. Ellen from Texas

Posted by
30 posts

Our ride on the London Eye made me feel like I was in the opening scene of Mary Poppins, when you see the skyline of London with Mary Poppins sitting on a cloud. It was awesome. I recommend it 100%.

Posted by
33 posts

I don't know if the Fast Track tickets for London Eye work the same way as for Tower of London, but we purchased Fast Track tickets for the Tower at the Britain and London Visitors Centre near Picadilly Circus and they were the same price as buying regular tickets at the Tower--no extra charge.

Posted by
118 posts

Great ride and view, but, we rode the Eye in late summer 2000, when it was quite new. At that time the cabins were not air conditioned and the heat grew to become very hot. Check to see if the cars are air conditioned before riding in the middle of a sunny day. Have a great time.

Posted by
43 posts

We just returned from our UK trip, which included 5 nights in London. We didn't go on the eye and I regret it because it was the only thing we missed.
When we walked over to the Eye area, we got caught up in watching all the street performers. They were fabulous. [They actually have to audition in order to busk] But we ran out of time and needed to rush off to a theatre. The line didn't look that bad around 7 p.m.
The good thing is, we have something to look forward to if we return to London.

Posted by
12040 posts

If time is limited and you want to combine a bird's eye view of London with sight-seeing, here's another option (but not recommended for those out of shape)try climbing the stairs to the top of the dome of St. Paul's. The maximum height here is about 200 ft lower than the London Eye, but the view is still pretty good.

Posted by
1180 posts

Everyone should do it once. (at least) Just try to go when the crowds are low. When we did it, we only had three other people in our "bubble" which made walking around very easy.

Posted by
518 posts

The London Eye is worth the wait -- once. Don't buy tickets in advance because it's only a good "flight" if the weather is good. It rains a lot -- like the whole 10 days we were in London in July.

And just a bit of added information, we took a DUCK tour, which is an amphibious bus/boat that was made for use in WWII. It was one of those spur of the minute decisions because we happened by the duck tour office. It goes all around the London core then plunges into the Thames. It was fun.