Planning to visit the London Eye soon? Check out this comprehensive guide to the London Eye — you’ll also find the best combo and skip-the-line London Eye tickets.
Who hasn’t seen a picture of London and held their breath for a second when looking at this giant wheel? The sheer size of it is already impressive, and it has become one of the landmarks in the iconic London skyline (and a favorite engagement spot!) ever since it opened at the turn of the century. But what is it exactly?
Did you know that the London Eye is not really a huge Ferris wheel in London? It is a “cantilevered observation wheel”, which means it is supported only on one side. It is also the tallest one of its type in Europe, and the 4th highest observation wheel in the world.
A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE LONDON EYE
Also called the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye is the result of a competition that started back in 1993, when Londoners were asked to come up with a new landmark to celebrate the new millennium. The Wheel was the winning design. It finally opened in March 2000, a bit behind schedule, and it quickly became an icon of London and a favorite tourist attraction.
The London Eye has 32 capsules representing each of London’s 32 boroughs. Fun fact: number 13 has been skipped because it is considered bad luck, so the last capsule is number 33!
If you have limited time in London, I highly recommend visiting the London Eye, since it will give you a glimpse of the whole city, and it’s located right next to many of London’s top tourist attractions, making it super easy to fit into your itinerary.
But let’s take a closer look. Let me walk you through the best options to visit it, how to get tickets, and some interesting combos.
BEFORE VISITING THE LONDON EYE
Opening Hours for the London Eye
At the time of writing, the London Eye is open daily from 11 AM to 6 PM. However, opening times tend to vary throughout the year and on special days (like Valentine’s Day or Christmas Eve), so always check the official website before you go.
The Eye takes 30 minutes to complete a full revolution, so if you’re planning on visiting in the evening, make sure you arrive more than 30 minutes before closing time.
Lines are almost guaranteed and, in the summer, they can get quite long (you might have to wait for as long as two hours!), so unless you have a fast-track ticket, make sure to arrive with plenty of time. The busiest times tend to be the early afternoon hours (between 11 AM and 3 PM), especially during the school holidays. Lines are shorter right before opening and nearing closing hours, and they are considerably shorter during the winter.
The London Eye closes for 2 weeks every January for maintenance.
How to get to the London Eye
The London Eye is served by many different transport lines. These are the directions to London Eye.
▶ Tube (metro): The nearest metro station is Waterloo, which is only a 5-minute walk from the London Eye. When exiting the station, follow the signs for the South Bank. Embankment and Charing Cross stations are also close, although on the opposite side of the River Thames. They are about a ten or fifteen-minute walk.
Another option is Westminster station, which is the one you get off at for the Houses of Parliament. Cross the Westminster Bridge and walk along the river bank for a beautiful stroll. It takes about 7 minutes to get to the London Eye. You can easily plan your journey here.
▶ Buses 211, 77 and 381 will leave you at walking distance from the London Eye.
▶ If you have paid for a sightseeing bus, you can hop off at the London Eye, since most of these buses stop there.
▶ Train: The nearest train station to London Eye is Waterloo (5-minute walk away). Charing Cross is also not far away (10-minute walk).
▶ Boat: Yes, you can get to the London Eye by boat! There are river buses that serve many areas of London and will leave you right at the London Eye. This can be a good way to beat the traffic and enjoy incredible views. Get off at the London Eye Pier.
THE BEST LONDON EYE TICKETS & TOURS
The London Eye in London is THE most visited paid attraction in the UK – I mean, it’s one of the best things to do in London, so no surprise there. In fact, the London Eye sees 3.5 million visitors per year, so no need to worry about waiting in line at all, you will go right in… Juuuust kidding. Sorry, that was cruel.
Do expect a line to get in. If you haven’t bought a ticket in advance, lines can get excruciatingly long sometimes (with a wait of over 2 hours in the busiest periods). And that is during normal (i.e. pre-Covid) times. Currently, fewer people are allowed in each of the capsules for social distancing reasons, which means the whole thing gets a bit slower than usual.
Normally, but even more so in this scenario, the options below for tickets for London Eye are highly recommended.
➤ You can buy a London Eye Fast-Track Ticket that will allow you to skip the lines altogether and save some precious time during your visit to London. These tickets are timed, which makes it easier to fit the visit into your London itinerary. Remember the flight on the London Eye lasts 30 minutes.
If your plans change, you can cancel your London Eye entrance ticket up to 24 hours before your timed entrance and get a full refund. Trust me when I say you will want to get a fast-track ticket. Go ahead. You can thank me later. ➥ BOOK YOUR LONDON EYE TICKET HERE
➤ If you want to see some of the main sights in London and finish the day on a high note, this Total London Full-Day Tour with London Eye is a fantastic option. You will get to see London from land, boat, and air, all in one day! This is an all-day tour with a private guide that will take you to some of the most famous sights in London.
The tour includes luxury transportation by coach, a guided private boat trip on the River Thames, and a flight on the London Eye to cap the day! What more could you ask for? ➥ BOOK IT HERE
LONDON EYE BUNDLE TICKETS: LONDON EYE + OTHER LONDON ATTRACTIONS
London has so much to offer and sometimes our time is so limited that the sole task of choosing what to see and what to leave out can be daunting. The following tours will be very useful if you want to include many things in one day without the hassle of planning everything individually. Check them out.
➤ If you fancy a boat ride on the Thames before hopping onto the London Eye, the London Eye River Cruise and Admission to the London Eye is the best option for you. This is an award-winning cruise tour led by expert guides who will tell you the stories of the landmarks in sight as you sail. Top it all up with a visit to the London Eye to crown the day! The tour lasts up to 1.5 hours, it includes commentary in different languages and 24-hour free cancellation. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Sometimes, you don’t feel like following someone else’s schedule, am I right? If this is your case and you’d rather discover London at your own pace, The Big London Ticket: London Eye, Big Bus & River Cruise will be a perfect fit. This tour allows you to enjoy the best of London at your own leisure from the open top of a double-decker bus (hop on and off as many times as you want), enjoy a cruise on the River Thames, and get a panoramic view of the city from the London Eye. It’s all included in the ticket! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Interested in going a bit deeper and saving a few bucks? This Madame Tussauds, London Eye and SEA Life Combo Ticket offers a great opportunity to enjoy some of the most iconic sights in London from the London Eye, hang out with the Queen and your favorite celebrities at the globally famous Madame Tussauds Museum, and experience underwater life at SEA LIFE London Aquarium. All while saving 40% on tickets. You’re welcome. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
SAVE MONEY WITH THE MORE LONDON PASS
Are you planning to spend more than one day in London, or to come back soon? While the more famous London Pass doesn’t include entrance to the London Eye, the More London Pass includes a variety of attractions and activities (including the London Eye!) for a one-time fee. It can help you save a lot of money and time.
The ticket is valid for 90 days, so you don’t have to do everything at once, and if you plan on visiting all the attractions, you can save about €50.
The pass includes access to:
• The London Eye
• Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
• SEA LIFE London Aquarium
• The London Dungeon
• DreamWorks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure!
⚠️The ticket includes entrance to all these attractions, but you do have to check availability and book a visit in advance. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN RIDING THE LONDON EYE
Quickly after its opening, the London Eye became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city (and the country), so much so that it now receives more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Giza Pyramids put together. Crazy, right?
A ride on the London Eye takes about 30 minutes, as it revolves at a relaxed pace so you can take it all in. It is a unique experience that allows you to appreciate London from a completely different perspective.
Rising at 135 meters (443 ft) and with 360-degree views, rest assured the scenery will leave you with your mouth open. The typical double-decker buses will look like toys from the heights of the Eye.
From inside the capsule, you will have privileged views of some of the most iconic landmarks in London: Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the London Tower and Tower Bridge, and the Gherkin, to name a few. Of course, you’ll get fantastic views over the River Thames.
Visibility will depend on the weather, but they say that with clear skies, when you go on the London Eye you can see as far as Windsor Castle, so don’t forget your camera!
For couples, a spin on the London Eye is a very romantic experience, especially at sunset. It has become a popular spot for engagement propositions. There are options to book private pods, champagne included.
Given its location, the London Eye is a great point to start or finish your day, and explore other top attractions near London Eye such as The London Dungeon, South Bank, Westminster and Big Ben. You can aslo take a walk along the Thames or go on a cruise on the river and enjoy the city from yet another perspective.
TIPS FOR YOUR LONDON EYE VISIT
Accessibility: The London Eye is fully accessible for people with disabilities and there are special wheelchair slots. Tickets need to be booked in advance and a London Eye admission ticket for the carer is free of charge. Bear in mind that, although the Eye revolves very slowly, it never stops turning, so people have to access the capsules while it is still in motion.
Visiting with children: This is a great activity for kids. They love the views from up there! I would recommend buying fast-track tickets so they don’t get bored waiting. Remember that you will have to access the capsules while they are still in motion (but don’t worry, it goes very very slowly and people do it all the time).
Phobias: Given its height and the fact that the capsules are completely closed, it is of course not advisable to go if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights.
Covid restrictions: At the time of writing, Covid-related restrictions in England have been lifted. However, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask is recommended.
Best time to visit the London Eye: The best time to visit is a clear sunny day. Yeah, I know that’s a long shot in London, but checking the weather forecast before booking your ticket can’t hurt. Maybe it will be your lucky day.
Having said that, summer is the busiest period. If you’re planning to visit during this season, the slots near the opening and closing hours tend to be the least busy.
If you’re into photography, book a slot for the time right before sunset (the famous golden hour) and you’ll have a blast!
I hope this post gave you all the information on the London Eye that you were looking for. Any doubts or questions? Please leave them in the comments below!