The London Eye is situated along the Thames River, a stone’s throw from Big Ben and Parliament. It was built to celebrate the new millennium and was originally called “The Millennium Wheel”. Don’t call it a ferris wheel. It’s officially known as a “cantilevered observation wheel”. The architects had in mind an attraction that was something that the public could feel involved with and not just look at like a palace or a museum piece. Bravo, I say.
Since opening in 2000, it has consistently earned top British tourism awards. I also read that it’s the UK’s #1 paid for attraction. So, a top performer.
Your flight begins by your stepping into a glass pod where you can sit or stand and look out over the Thames. On a clear day you can see up to 25 miles all around. There is an information key that points out landmarks. I’ve taken nice photos from many vantage points within the pod. The trip takes about 30 minutes. You can pre-buy your tickets and save a little time and money. Yes, you have to wait in line (unless you buy the ridiculously expensive “fast pass”) but if you have ever been to Disney World, you would wait WAY longer on some of the rides there (in the blistering heat). Coming from the standpoint of an Orlando resident, the wait for this is no big deal.
The London Eye was originally sponsored by British Air but is now operated by an entertainment group. This makes sense. They saw how popular this attraction was and have the experience to take it to the next level. They now have a 4D short film that all ticket-holders are entitled to “pre-flight”. It’s getting rave reviews. Someone put the film on YouTube, and if you should find it, don’t judge it as it is. As you might imagine, without the 3D glasses, it loses its effect. I’ll be over there this summer for the Olympics and will plan to see it properly. I’ll keep you posted!
I once read an article entitled the 10 things NOT to do in London, and this was on the list. REALLY? That’s because it’s rather expensive ($30 adult) and you can trek elsewhere in London and see the city skyline for free. Yes, technically that’s true. But it’s like comparing apples to oranges; the free views can’t compare to being on top of the Thames and experiencing the high energy you get from being with everyone else who is having fun. If you are an American planning to visit London, you know that London is expensive, so I say just plan accordingly and experience the London Eye at least once. You could always track down where to get alternative views the next time you hop across the pond (or just ask me and I’ll track it down for you). :)
As for me, I’m ready for my next flight . . . beam me up!