London is among the premier tourist spots of the world. Its balanced blend of culture and modernity brings around 20 million tourists to the English capital. For decades, Big Ben has been the representative silhouette of London on tourist brochures. At the turn of the millennium, however, the cantilevered observation wheel, the London Eye, made its appearance. Since then, it has only grown in popularity.
Presently, around 4 million tourists are treated to a breathtaking view of London from this 443 feet high observation wheel. It offers the second highest observation point in London, superseded only by The Shard. Its position on the banks of Thames makes for an awe-inspiring vantage point. The London Eye has been earmarked as London’s equivalent of Eiffel Tower, giving common people a chance to observe the vast city from a unique perspective.
London Eye - In a Nutshell
Things to know
Number of visitors per year: 3 million
Construction Started: 1998
Opened: Dec 31, 1999
Architects: David Marks, Julia Barfield, Nic Bailey, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, Frank Anatole, Mark Sparrowhawk
Height: 135 m
Opening Hours And Address
11 AM - 6 PM
Address : Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom.
Click here for directions
London Eye Tickets
Why book London Eye tickets online?
- Booking your tickets online will ensure the fact that you do not have to wait in long queues twice in order to enjoy one London Eye ride.
- You can book fast track tickets online. These tickets allow you an expedited entry to the London Eye and other attractions.
- Online booking comes with up to 50% discount off the original booth price.
- Booking tickets for big groups of friends or family also give you access to attractive discounts.
- Your online ticket comes with a pre-assigned time slot, therefore assuring entry at a particular time.
Top Things to do at London Eye
1Chill in the Passenger Capsules
The London Eye has 32 capsules mounted on a spoked bicycle wheel-like structure. Each capsule represents a borough of London. The capsules are ovoidal in shape and are fully sealed and climate-controlled. Although seating is provided, up to 25 people can go inside one capsule and can freely move around.
The speed of the wheel is slow enough to allow passengers to embark and disembark. The wheel is stopped only for differently abled and senior citizens. One rotation of the wheel takes about 30 minutes. An upgrade of the capsules was initiated in 2009. In 2013, one of the capsules was named the Coronation Capsule to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
2Admire the Views!
On a clear day, the London Eye offers view as far as the Windsor Castle. Lying on the south bank of the river Thames, the London Eye provides an exquisite view of the river, as it twists and bends into the cityscape. The highest monument in the city, the Shard is visible towards the north-east of the London Eye.
The Westminster Abbey, the Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament lie right across the river on the south-west of the London Eye. On its west lies the Buckingham Palace. Towards the north lies St. Paul’s Cathedral. To the south is the Kennington Oval. Several of London’s parks are also visible from the London Eye in addition to the rest of the Greater London area.
3Click as many pictures as you'd like
Photography is permitted on the London Eye. You may bring a camera on board. However, accessories such as tripods and booms are prohibited. Acquaint yourself with the directions of the various London landmarks so that you can photograph them at the opportune moment. Official London Eye photographers are present at the boarding ramp and at the ticket hall, but not on board the London Eye itself. You may also purchase a photo souvenir package online at a discount of 20%. The package contains a photo book, two souvenir photos, a keychain, and a fridge magnet.
Plan Your Visit to the London Eye
Reaching The London Eye
- By Train/Tube: The tube stations that can take you to the London Eye, going from closest to farthest, are Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster. The nearest rail station from the London Eye is Waterloo.
- By Bus: Bus number 211, 77, and 381 takes you to the London Eye.
- By Car: If you arrive by car, make prior inquiries about parking spots in the vicinity.
Best Time To Visit London Eye
The London Eye has the city’s second highest observation point, which is capable of providing views as far as 25 miles from the site. However, you need to be a little tactical in order to take full advantage of its vantage point. Use the weather forecasts to pick a clear, haze-free day. Make your booking in advance, so you can save some time. Target a timeslot between 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM from November to March, or between 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM from April to October. The sun is at its highest around this time and therefore is least likely to interfere with your view.
History of the London Eye
A predecessor of the London Eye was a similar structure known as the Great Wheel. This was built for the Empire of India exhibition and opened in 1895. The Great Wheel was 308 feet tall. Over the next 12 years, the Great Wheel carried around 2.5 million passengers, before being demolished in 1907. The London Eye as we know now was designed by Julia Barfield and David Marks. Separate parts were built and transported to the site, where they were assembled.
The London Eye opened for paying passengers on March 9, 2000. The initial plan was to keep the structure for a period of 5 years. However, an application to grant the structure permanent status was approved in July 2002. Since then, the London Eye has gone through a number of change of hands in terms of ownership, while maintaining uninterrupted operation.
Fun Facts about the London Eye
- Although it looks like one, the London Eye is not a Ferris Wheel. It is only supported on one side, and can only be called a cantilevered observation wheel.
- The London Eye has more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids of Giza.
- On a clear day, you can see as far as 40 kilometres (or 25 miles) from the London Eye.
- There is no capsule number 13 on the London Eye as the number is considered to be ominous.
- British supermodel, Kate Moss, currently holds the record for the most number of times a UK-based celebrity has been on the London Eye. She has been on it over 25 times.
Insider Tips for Visiting the London Eye
- Book fast track tickets to gain entry from a dedicated entrance and skip a majority of the queue. This ticket also gives you access to the Champagne bar and 4D Cinema Experience.
- Photograph the sights from the London Eye at least 1 foot away from the glass walls to avoid glare from the curved surface.
- Contact the London Eye office to know how you can park your car at a discounted rate at the Q-Park Westminster.
- Experience the London Eye after nightfall to see the city adorn itself in twinkling lights.
- Use the touchscreen tablets to know more about the London landmarks that are visible from the London Eye.
Restaurants Near The London Eye
One of the best restaurants in town for Asian (more specifically Japanese) food, is the place to be! Famous for its ramen, Wagamama is the perfect spot to be when you’re hungry and need prompt service.
For a traditional London dining experience, with a contemporary twist, the newly renovated Library at County Hall is your place. With views that'll leave you in awe, this restaurant pays homage to the London Marriott Hotel County.
Situated right at the bank of the River Thames, and with views of the London Eye, this steakhouse is best suited for an authentic British dining experience. Famous for its collection of gins, beers, wines, and spirits, among others - you're sure to have the experience of a lifetime.
Everyone who has been here, has termed this place as their favourite. With great food, views and amazing interiors...who wouldn't call this their go-to spot? All Bar One is where you should be going, for the time of your lives.
For everyone who prefers gluten-free food, Honest Burgers is the solution. Very well recommended by locals and tourists alike, this place will take care of all your burger needs, to the best-of their abilities.
London Eye Promo Codes
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Looking for London Eye deals specifically? Check out your London Eye ticket options and take your pick.
London Deals & Promo Codes
Want to explore the rest of London? Definitely check out Deals & Promo Codes in London.
London Eye Reviews
We were a party of 5 adults and 4 of us had never been on the London Eye before. It was really exciting to see all the London sights from such a height and we the pace at which we travelled was just right to spot the landmarks along the way.
- Mrs, Headout, Nov 2021
Excellent experience. Didn't have to wait to get on and could park our buggy for free. Everyone was friendly. London is just a wanderful experience and to see the amazing views and iconic buildings from that hight absolutelly brilliant. We were very lucky with the clear sky and could see for miles. Won't forget!
- Azra, Headout, Nov 2021
Read what others have to say about the London Eye on Headout.
London Eye: FAQs
Is the London Eye open now?
The London Eye is now open for visitors to enter.
Who can enter the London Eye for free?
Children below the age of 3 can enter for free at The London Eye.
How long does the London Eye ride last?
The standard London Eye ride lasts for 30 minutes.
What are the London Eye opening hours?
London Eye is open daily from 11 AM to 6 PM. It is closed on Christmas Day and during the annual maintenance period.
Where is the London Eye located?
The London Eye address is Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames.
Does the London Eye Capsule provide space to passengers to sit?
The London Eye capsule has benches available in the centre of each pod. It is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Are there any parking spaces offered for the London Eye?
No, there are no parking facilities at the London Eye. If you are arriving by car, it is highly recommended to book your parking slot online before visiting the London Eye. You can also avail the paid parking services upon arrival as well.
Which is the nearest tube station to the London Eye?
Waterloo is the nearest tube station to the London Eye. It takes about 5-minutes to reach the destination from the station.
What is the last time slot to board the London Eye?
The last time slot for the London Eye is currently at 5:30 PM.