The London Eye: Ferris Wheel With Stunning Views of London

 In Europe, London, Places To Visit, Travel, Travel Tips

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel in London, sitting right next to the River Thames. It’s one of the city’s most famous sights. Built to celebrate the new millennium, it opened in March 2000 and quickly became the Top experience to Do in London.

The wheel is very tall, standing at 135 metres (443 feet), making it the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. It has 32 capsules, which can each hold up to 25 people. These capsules are like little glass rooms that move slowly, giving everyone inside an amazing view of the city. It is one of the must-see places to visit in London.

A ride on the London Eye takes about 30 minutes. As you go around, you can see many of London’s most famous buildings, like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. If the weather is good, you can see far, even up to 25 miles away. If you are planning a day trip in London, keep in mind that lineups can be heavy throughout the middle of the day and on weekends, so going early on the weekend or weekday may be your best bet.

The London Eye isn’t just fun to ride; it also stands for modern London and how far the city has come. Millions of people visit it every year, which helps local businesses. Whether you’re from London or just visiting, a ride on the London Eye is a special experience that lets you see the city in a whole new way with our Europe Tour Packages!

Origins and Concept


The idea for the London Eye was born out of a competition organised in 1993 by The Sunday Times and the Greater London Authority, which sought new ideas for a landmark to celebrate the new millennium. 

Although the competition didn’t produce a winning design, architects David Marks and Julia Barfield continued to pursue their vision for a giant Ferris wheel. 

They wanted to create a structure that would symbolise the turning of the century and provide a unique way to experience London.  You can also take a break from exploring these historic sites in London by hanging out in the vast variety of cafes in London.

Development and Construction


Building the London Eye was a remarkable engineering feat. Construction began in 1998, and the process was both complex and meticulous. The wheel was built in sections, each of which was floated up the River Thames on barges and assembled flat on floating platforms. Once all the sections were put together, the wheel was slowly raised into its vertical position over several days.

The construction involved hundreds of workers, engineers, and designers, all collaborating to bring this ambitious project to life. The final structure, standing at 135 metres (443 feet) tall, was a marvel of modern engineering and design. The London Eye was completed and officially opened to the public on March 9, 2000, and it quickly became one of London’s top tourist attractions. It is one of the top photography spots in London.

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Design and Features


The London Eye’s design is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The wheel itself is made from steel, and it has 32 ovoidal capsules attached to its outer rim. Each capsule is sealed, air-conditioned, and designed to hold up to 25 people. This design ensures that passengers can enjoy a comfortable ride with spectacular views, regardless of the weather.  Some of the traditional resorts & hotels in London are surrounded here. 

Each capsule rotates within its mounting as the wheel turns, which keeps the floor level throughout the ride. This rotation system ensures that passengers always have a stable view, enhancing the experience. The capsules are also equipped with interactive touch screens that provide information about the landmarks visible from the Eye, enriching the educational aspect of the ride.

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The Ride Experience


A ride on the London Eye takes approximately 30 minutes, during which the wheel completes one full rotation. The slow and steady movement allows passengers to take in the panoramic views at their leisure. From the top of the wheel, 135 metres above the ground, the views are nothing short of spectacular. On a clear day, passengers can see as far as Windsor Castle, which is about 25 miles away.

The view includes many of London’s most famous landmarks, such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, and the Tower of London. The Thames River winds its way through the city below, adding to the picturesque scenery. Most of the best restaurants in London are situated in this area. 

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Special Experiences


For those looking for a more exclusive or unique experience, the London Eye offers several special packages. Private capsules can be hired for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or even marriage proposals. There are also options for enjoying a glass of champagne or other refreshments during the ride, making the experience even more memorable. Some of the popular Airbnbs in London are situated in this area.

Cultural Impact


Since its opening, the London Eye has become a cultural icon. It has appeared in numerous films, television shows, and advertisements, cementing its status as a symbol of London. It is also the focal point for major events in the city, most notably the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Thousands of people gather along the Thames each year to watch the fireworks light up the sky with the London Eye at the centre of the celebration. Suggesting some of the best treks in London for your next visit.

Economic Contribution


The London Eye is not just a popular attraction but also a significant role in London’s economy. With around 3.5 million visitors each year, it is the most visited paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. This influx of visitors contributes significantly to the local economy, supporting nearby businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and shops. The London Eye creates jobs and generates revenue, helping to sustain the vibrant tourism industry in London.

Maintenance and Sustainability


Maintaining the London Eye is an ongoing process that requires careful planning and regular inspections. The structure undergoes frequent maintenance checks to ensure it remains safe and operational for visitors. Any wear and tear on the capsules or the wheel itself is addressed promptly to maintain the highest standards of safety.

In recent years, there has been a strong focus on sustainability. The operators of the London Eye have implemented several green initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. These include energy-efficient lighting, recycling programs, and measures to reduce water and energy consumption. By focusing on sustainability, the London Eye aims to minimise its carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.

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Visitor Tips


For those planning to visit the London Eye, here are a few tips to make the experience even more enjoyable:

  • Book in Advance: The London Eye is top-rated, so it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance. This not only guarantees entry but can also save time by allowing you to skip the ticket queue.
  • Visit During Off-Peak Times: To avoid large crowds, try visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. Weekdays are generally less busy than weekends.
  • Check the Weather: For the best views, visit on a clear day. The visibility can be greatly affected by weather conditions, so keep an eye on the forecast.
  • Take Advantage of Special Packages: Consider the various special packages available, such as the Fast Track tickets, which allow you to skip the line, or the Champagne Experience for a more luxurious ride.
  • Explore the Surrounding Area: The London Eye is located in a vibrant area with many other attractions nearby, including the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, the London Dungeon, and the Southbank Centre. Make a day of it and explore the many sights and sounds of the South Bank.

Future Prospects


The London Eye continues to be a beloved attraction, and its future looks bright. Plans for technological upgrades and new experiences are always being considered to keep the attraction fresh and exciting. The ongoing commitment to sustainability and visitor satisfaction ensures that the London Eye will remain a top destination for years to come.

The London Eye is more than just a Ferris wheel; it is a symbol of modern London and a testament to human ingenuity and creativity. Since its opening in 2000, it has charmed millions of visitors with its stunning views and unique experience. Whether you are a local or a tourist, a ride on the London Eye offers a new perspective on the city, allowing you to see London in a way that is both stunning and unforgettable. From its conception and construction to its role as an economic and cultural icon, the London Eye stands as a proud landmark that continues to inspire and delight people from all over the world.

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How tall is the London Eye and how long does it take to complete one rotation?

The London Eye stands at 135 metres (443 feet) tall. A full wheel rotation takes approximately 30 minutes, allowing passengers ample time to enjoy the stunning views of London.

How much does it cost to ride the London Eye and can you purchase tickets in advance?

Ticket prices for the London Eye can vary based on age and the type of experience you choose. As of now, standard adult tickets typically start around £30, but prices can fluctuate, especially for fast-track or special packages. Yes, you can and should purchase tickets in advance, which can save time and ensure availability.

Is there a best time of day to visit the London Eye to avoid crowds?

To avoid large crowds, it is best to visit the London Eye early in the morning or later in the evening. Weekdays are generally less busy than weekends. Booking your tickets for these times can help you have a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

What are some nearby attractions that visitors can see while visiting the London Eye?

Several popular attractions near the London Eye include the Sea Life London Aquarium, The London Dungeon, Southbank Centre, Jubilee Gardens, and Westminster Bridge. 

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