The London Eye is a tall observation wheel sitting in the heart of London along the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. Let’s go on board today with a ride and check out the views from the top.

View of the Westminster with clear views on a sunny day from the London Eye
View of the Westminster with clear views on a sunny day from the London Eye.

Moreover, you may know the London Eye as its other name, the Millennium Wheel. The attraction was opened by the Prime Minister Tony Blair on 31 December 1999. However, it only started operating on March 2000 due to technical issues. It stands at 135 metres tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres.

Also, given its central location, there are many ways to get there. It is situated near the London Underground Waterloo station and Charing Cross, Embankment, if you wish to cross the Thames from the London Parliament over to the London eye.

Queue lines
Going in
Snacks aboard

Going on board the London eye

Moreover, the attraction front is where the ticketing counters are where you can purchase walk-in tickets in addition to internet pre-purchased ones. Tickets costs £24.50 per head.

Tickets
Capsules
Looking up
Wheel from aquarium
By the Thames
Loading gantries

With your tickets, you follow through a short queue line before stopping to wait at a gantry holding area. It has automatic gates controlling the flow of riders into the boarding area.

Going on board at the attraction loading platform
Going on board at the attraction loading platform.
The London eye loading bay and platform, don't fall over!
The loading bay and platform, don’t fall over!

Interestingly, the London Eye is the city’s most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. The cantilevered observation wheel has 32 sealed climate-controlled ovoidal passenger capsules attached on the outer rim.

Top unobstructed views at the top given the outer gondola mounting position
Top unobstructed views at the top given the outer gondola mounting position.

Also, this outer attachment allows for unobstructed views of the Thames, which would otherwise be covered by the wheel spokes.

Looking down going up
Looking down going up.
London Eye Moving off from the ride loading bay over the River Thames.
Moving off from the ride loading bay over the River Thames south bank.

Moreover, the cantilevered designs spots a pretty interesting loading area, with the loading walkway floating above the River Thames. You literally step off the ledge onto the wheel capsules moving over the water. But no worries of losing your footing or falling over into the River Thames below as the capsules do move slowly.

Capsule doors
Info screen
Olympic rings

The views on the ride

London eye Jubilee park with summer amusement park towards the east
Jubilee park with summer amusement park towards the east.

In addition, the capsules are spacious and air-conditioned, each of the observation wheel’s 32 ovoidal capsules weighs 10 tonnes each. Notably, you ride up 135 meters up in the air is tad shorter than the Singapore’s Flyer 40-45 minute ride for a complete single revolution.

In the capsule, it is modern open and clean with a central bench
In the capsule, it is modern open and clean with a central bench.

Furthermore, each capsule has a central seating bench. There are info screen you can interact to find out more of the landmarks on your revolution. Also, each gondola capsule can carry 25 people on peak days.

Loaded up
Drive wheels
Capsule above

Though on my visit, the gondola are often filled to about half the capacity on typical days. Also, if a dining capsule not special enough for you, notably, other special uses for the capsule includes a pub, west end theatre pod and a garden party.

River Thames and north bank in the view with BT tower in the distance near the horizon
River Thames and north bank in the view with BT tower in the distance near the horizon.
South bank
Crowded city down east
Going up!

Do refrain from taking pictures on your climb up as the views can only get better going up. You are treated have a perfectly unobstructed view at the at the top of your revolution. Furthermore, looking towards the River Thames, you can see build up areas in front including the mall, Westminster Abbey, horse guards parade and 10 downing street with Westminster in the background, and Kengsinton across the horizon.

Jubilee 180 degree panorama


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Towards the east to the other end is the Jubilee Gardens, with an open green park with usually home to an amusement complex during the summer and winter months. Also, you could just see the London Shard building in this direction too. Also, the bottom Southbank is where the County Hall is, which is also home to the SEA Life center and London aquarium.

SEA life
Shard Tower
BT tower

View of Parliament

Westminster 180 degree panorama

Also, the Houses of Parliament by the River Thames is the most notable landmark. It’s golden exterior reflects brightly in the setting sun illuminated in a warm glow. Additionally, a good time to go up the London Eye is just at sunset.

Westminster ground level
Westminster up
From bridge

You can see the sun reflecting and glistening off the River Thames during daylight. You can also catch the buzz of cars, buses and people all going about their day below too.

Horse guard parade
South bank view
Gift shop
That's a wrap! London eye from the Westminster bridge
That’s a wrap! London eye from the Westminster bridge.

All in all, London Eye is one to check out when you are in the city of London as a landmark and one of the many representations of the city which is instantly recognisable globally. It is a staple destination both first timers and residents alike.

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