Despite living in London for the majority of my life (with a little of Bournemouth thrown in for good measure), I have only ever ventured onto the world renowned (and classically landmarked) London Eye once before. I was eight and remember feeling rather concerned about how to get on and off the ‘pod’, but that’s about it. So when my boyfriend Sion visited me all the way from Wales, I decided it was a good excuse to channel my ‘inner tourist’ and try out The EDF Energy London Eye once again.
Located on the South Bank side of London (nearest tube is Waterloo, just 2 minutes walk), The London Eye is consistently busy with tourists and locals alike. If you’re planning a visit, I’d recommend booking a fast track ticket in advance (especially useful if it’s raining and you don’t fancy queuing in the rain) as it bypasses the large queues and has you ready to board your pod in no time at all.
We were initially a little worried as to how many people are granted access to any one pod at any one time, since they’re not huge and being cramped into a tiny space for half an hour isn’t overly desirable. However, luckily our worries were quickly extinguished once our turn came around and we were surrounded by about 20 people, rather than the original 50 we had envisioned. Everyone tends to head for a seat once you’ve boarded, however we decided to stand in the far corner – a move which turned out to be the right one once the stunning view of our surroundings came into full grasp.
I managed to spot a few of my favourite London hotspots from the sky, including Somerset House and of course – Big Ben, however dotted around the pod are handy little tablets with interactive (and very James Bond esque) maps, complete with rotating floor plans and drawings. I was very surprised to see that the Ministry of Defence building was located on the River Thames, alongside the London Dungeons and The Sealife centre (which we ventured to next, post here). As someone who considers myself a ‘local’, it was so interesting to see London from the eyes of a tourist and to discover new things about the city that I love so much. Even a rainy, cloudy and dull day doesn’t dampen how amazing it looks from the top.
If you book online in advance, adult tickets are priced at £26.55 which includes a 30 minute ride, fast track entry and entry to the 4D Cinema Experience (which unfortunately we didn’t have time for, but looked amazing). This saves all the queuing once you’re there and removes all the hassle. Combination tickets are also available if you’re interested in The London Dungeons and The London Sealife centre all on the same day, which I’d definitely recommend since South Bank is a beautiful place to spend an entire day and all of the attractions are handily located within close proximity.
If you’re looking for something extra special (perhaps there’s a special occasion you’re planning, or you’d like an alternative date night), The London Eye offer a ‘Cupid’s Capsule’ service, complete with a bottle of Pommery Champagne and a luxury box of chocolates. This is a rather pricy £350, but it would certainly make an impression. If you’re looking for a little added luxury, without the huge price tag, you can add a glass of champagne to your original ticket price (£31.54 if you book online).
So, whether you’re a Londoner, or are seeing the city from far and wide, I’d definitely recommend a visit on the EDF Energy London Eye. It’s perfect for getting your bearings (so would be great for first timers who are looking for ideas about what to do and see) and similarly, perfect for absorbing all those stunning surroundings.
Book online for a significant discount and no queues, at londoneye.com.