Scrambling at 6am to use the (unbearably slow) hotel wifi, I managed to load the ticketing page for the London Eye – a tourist attraction I had, in my previous forays to London, avoided at all costs. Long lines of grumbling tourists and what I thought would be views similar to those I could get on the ground didn’t particularly shout out at me as a fun day out.
BUT I was left to my own devices one May morning and with nothing much planned, my curiosity got the better of me. Why was the Coca-Cola London Eye dubbed best tourist attraction in the entire world?! Surely there was something I was missing, and I was about to find out…
By pre-purchasing my ticket (for the earliest slot available) I was able to skip the dragging queues and was ushered straight into a theatre sort of scenario, where I watched a complimentary showing of a 4D London experience. You fly above the clouds over that famous skyline and feel the rain spit at you as you come back to earth. A dizzying prelude to the experience to come.
Now, let me make clear that pre-purchasing tickets does nothing to your wait time once outside getting ready to board the actual London Eye (but remember it did save me the 40 minutes or so I would’ve had to wait just to buy the ticket before the whole 4D movie thing) – ANYWAY try and keep yourself occupied with the view and eavesdropping on other tourists around you in the half an hour to one hour you’ll be waiting to actually get on.
Entering the capsule was a buzz on its own as a group of 15 or so fled to the edges of the glass vestibule to score the best views. My tip: stay along the right hand side (if you’re facing away from the door) as you ascend the London Eye so you can get an uninterrupted glimpse of the Shard, the Gherkin and Tower Bridge, and then try and swap places as you hit the peak of the Eye and start the descent, because our old friend Big Ben is waiting in all his golden glory.
I was astounded at the view the London Eye afforded me (and no, I’m not sponsored for my opinion!). Every street, every landmark, every building on the London skyline was at my disposal. It looked like a toy town, with the little red buses dotting across bridges simply comical from this height. I really was awestruck, and considering I had had my expectations so low before boarding the London Eye, my entire opinion on the landmark was completely turned around.
I would highly recommend the London Eye – but only with pre-purchased tickets, and only early in the morning, because as much as I loved the views, it was because I had already meandered the weaving streets of Central London. If I hadn’t already had the opportunity to do so, I do think the waiting times in queues would be a waste of your time.
I’d love to get to do a sunset Eye trip one evening…xx