I first visited the London Eye a few days after it opened in 1999, when it was sponsored by British Airways, and was simply going to be a temporary attraction to celebrate the millennium. Over fifteen years later, and now sponsored by Coca-Cola, the Eye is now the international symbol for London, surpassing its neighbor, Big Ben, and remains a popular attraction with tourists around the world. For those of you who know little about the London Eye, also referred to as the Millennium Wheel, it was built as the largest Ferris wheel in the world at that time. It consists of 32 sealed and air conditioned capsules that can hold up to 25 people each, and they have bench seating in the middle of the capsules, with plenty of standing room. The wheel rotates continuously, only stopping to embark and disembark disabled passengers. A full rotation of the wheel takes about 30 minutes, and this is the duration of the ‘ride’.
It is a short attraction, although now a part of a range of attractions within the County Hall complex, including London Dungeons, Sea Life Centre and Dreamworks Tours.
The main and only feature of riding the Eye is the views of London. Until 2013, it was the highest observation point, at the top, in London, when it was surpassed by the Shard’s observation deck on its 72nd Floor, which I have also visited. If you have never visited the Eye, it is a great experience, although after a few times, it can start to feel boring.
A new feature in the London Eye ticket centre is a free 4D Experience, open to everyone regardless of whether they have a London Eye ticket or not. This follows what appears to be Merlin Entertainments, the owner of the Eye, winning formula of a short 4D cinema experience. I will not say much more as it will spoil the surprises.
Overall, if you have not been to the London Eye, it is certainly something for your bucket list, although the Shard provides a much better view of London. It is a short attraction, although now a part of a range of attractions within the County Hall complex, including London Dungeons, Sea Life Centre and Dreamworks Tours. It is fully accessible and meets current standards, including providing free carer/PA tickets.