London Eye: information + photos + tickets online

When thinking of London, a couple of unmistakable and historical sights such as Buckingham Palace or Trafalgar Square will immediately spring to mind. These places should definitely not be missed (especially when visiting London for the first time), but when exploring the British capital, you should also certainly make time for the London Eye. Here you will experience the most fantastic view of the city.

London Eye ferris Wheel London

When you’re in London, chances are really high that you’ll walk by the Ferris wheel at some point. You’ll find the popular attraction on the South Bank by the Thames, diagonally opposite the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, in the middle of the city center. If you want to enjoy the fabulous views from this Ferris wheel, don’t forget that you need to get tickets. Waiting lines can be (extremely) long on the spot, so I strongly urge you to already buy your London Eye tickets online and quite a while in advance.
Since 2015 the Ferris wheel is called the Coca-Cola London Eye, thanks to a sponsorship agreement with the soft drink brand. Up to the present day this isn’t only the highest Ferris wheel in London, but also in all of Europe.

History of the London Eye

The Ferris wheel was designed in 1991 on behalf of British Airways, in order to celebrate the new millennium. The architects behind this spectacular attraction are Julia Barfield, Nic Bailey, David Marks, Frank Anatole, Malcolm Cook and Steven Chilton.
On the 31st of December 1999, right before the start of the new year, then Prime Minister Tony Blair opened the Millennium Wheel. Unfortunately, technical problems put a crimp in the plans, which is why it would last until March 2000 before the general public was able to enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel.
At the time, the attraction was given the name Millennium Wheel, but throughout the years its name changed on a regular basis because of the sponsorship agreements.
That’s why this Ferris wheel also used to be known as the British Airways London Eye (2000), the Merlin Entertainments London Eye (2009), the EDF Energy London Eye (2011) and finally the Coca-Cola London Eye (2015).

London Eye information

At night or during the day… The view from the London Eye will always take your breath away!

The view from the London Eye

The London Eye is without a doubt one of the most well-loved attractions in the British capital. Because of its fantastic location by the Thames, the Ferris wheel offers a spectacular 360° view over London. Besides the outlook over the vast city, you can spot some of the most remarkable sights in London from the Ferris wheel. For example, you can see the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral and of course the Thames together with its many bridges.

To get the chance to enjoy this view, you have to buy tickets first of course. Individually, these cost £26 per person. I do recommend however to purchase your London Eye tickets online, because the waiting lines on the spot can be atrociously long.
There’s always the possibility to get combination tickets, where for example you combine a hop-on hop-off cruise with a visit to the London Eye. In the discount cards such as the London Explorer Pass, an admission ticket for this Ferris wheel is included as well.

A ride in the Ferris wheel gives a whole new dimension to the many sights in London. There are no hordes of tourists walking by you and pushing and shoving you, just like there’s no one fighting over the same photo spot.
This is probably one of the reasons why the Ferris wheel of London is so appealing: it gives you the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city so you get to enjoy a magnificent view over London in peace and quiet.

The weather in London can be quite grey and gloomy at times. However, if you’re lucky enough to be in the British capital when the weather is nice, you can see up to 40 kilometers in the distance from the Ferris wheel.
Also when it’s dark, a ride on the Ferris wheel is definitely worth your while. In the evenings London is beautifully illuminated, which adds a romantic touch to a ride in the Eye.

view London Eye

The view from the London Eye is fantastic!

Best view: London Eye or The Shard?

Another famous attraction in London is ‘The Shard’, the highest construction in Europe. It goes without saying that the views over England’s capital are also astonishing from here. But… Which one gives you the best view? I’ve put the most important differences side by side:

Which one is the highest?

Both attractions are really high, but “The View from the Shard” has a height of 244 meters and beats the London Eye with its maximal height of 135 meters.

Which one has the best views?

From the famous Ferris wheel, you can see up to 40 kilometers on a good day. From the Shard this can go up to 65 kilometers. It is however really difficult to pick a winner, because both views are totally different. Besides, on both attractions you can see the most important sights such as Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral. So I’d call this one a draw.

How long do you get to enjoy the show?

The duration of the London Eye is about half an hour for one rotation, while there’s no time limit in the Shard.

How about the price?

Both views are pretty evenly matched, but the London Eye ends up being slightly cheaper. You can already visit London’s Ferris wheel for £26 with a regular visitor’s pass, or for £37 with a skip-the-line ticket. On top of that, you also get a private guide accompanying you for this price.
If you buy a regular visitor’s pass, make sure that you order it at least one day in advance. Same day tickets £30 instead of £26.

The “View from the Shard” costs £28 or an additional £2… Of course this doesn’t make your decision any easier!

view from the shard vs London Eye

The view from the “View of the Shard”.

the coca cola London Eye view

The view from the most famous Ferris wheel in London.

The capsules of the London Eye

The London Eye has 32 closed capsules. Each capsule represents one of the 32 sub-municipalities in London and is entirely made out of glass. That’s how you get a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire city. Every cabin has been numbered, but they skipped number 13 because of the superstition which connects the number with bad luck. This means that the capsules have been numbered from 1 to 12 and from 14 to 33.

The cabins are also equipped with air conditioning, which ensures a ride in the Ferris wheel in the summer doesn’t get too hot. Each capsule can hold up to 25 people and in addition, the attraction is also accessible to wheelchair users.

The Ferris wheel turns really slowly which makes one round last about 30 minutes. This means that the Eye rotates at a speed of barely 0,26 meters per second. It might seem that you’re moving at a snail’s pace, but in reality you’re going twice as fast as a sprinting tortoise! Because the Ferris wheel turns so slowly, it never has to be stopped for people who have to get in and out.

As I’ve told you earlier, of course you have to pay for a visit to the most famous Ferris wheel in Europe. Per person you end up paying about thirty-five dollars or thirty euros (£26). Are you planning on visiting multiple activities and sights in London? Then a London Explorer Pass might be a lot more beneficial. £60 won’t only give you access to the London Eye, but also to dozens of other activities.

A ride on the Ferris wheel of London is definitely worth your while when visiting the city, especially when traveling with children or when you want to have a look at the sights from a different perspective.

London Eye tickets online

Book your spot in one of the cabins of the London Eye on time!

How does the wheel rotate?

Contrary to what you’d think, the Ferris wheel isn’t propelled from the axle, but from the ground at the edge of the Eye. The propulsion is in the two towers which you can see at the entrance of the attraction. This is done with the wheels of a truck and these are driven so that the wheel starts to turn. This system is very similar to the bicycle rollers system.

Why the Ferris wheel is propelled that way? It is easier to build because the mechanism is on the ground floor.
In addition, it’s also easier to maintain, because nobody has to climb to the top.

Preparing your visit to the London Eye

When you want to take a ride on the London Ferris wheel, you have to make sure you come prepared. But do not worry, because I’ll give you all the necessary information about the London Eye.
It should be noted that the attraction is extremely popular, which can cause extremely long waiting lines. Booking your tickets for the London Eye online is definitely not a bad idea.

Aside from that, you can’t bring any food or sugar rich drinks in the cabins. Only a bottle of water is allowed. Before you can get on the attraction, they will frisk you because of safety reasons. After every ride, the capsules are also checked.

skip the line tickets London Eye

The wheel is beautifully lit at night.

More London Eye information in some impressive figures

You can see with the naked eye that the London Ferris wheel is high. But exactly how high is the London Eye? The Eye is about 135 meters high, which made it the biggest wheel for a long time, but by now the record has been smashed by the Singapore Flyer, which has a height of 165 meters. The Ferris wheel is one of the three highest sights in London and is also the highest observation Ferris wheel in Europe.

The diameter of the wheel measures 120 meters and the weight of the London Eye is about 1,700 tons! Besides, the construction of the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe cost a small fortune as well: 81 million euros. No wonder you have to pay €30 or $35 for an entrance ticket!

how high is the london eye

The Eye is pretty high. It’s therefore definitely not an attraction for the faint of heart.

Fun facts about the London Eye

  1. The Millennium Wheel is technically speaking not a Ferris wheel, but the highest self-supporting wheel in Europe.
  2. Kate Moss has been on the London Eye at least 25 times.
  3. When the weather is nice, you can see from the Eye even until Windsor Castle.
  4. Each cabin weighs the same as 1 million 52.631 coins of one British pound.
  5. The Ferris wheel was entirely lit up in pink in December 2005 to celebrate the first registered same-sex partnership.
  6. Every year more people visit the Eye than the Taj Mahal.
  7. 800 people can tag along on every ride on the wheel. This equals eleven of those typical red English double deckers.
  8. Before the Millennium Wheel London had already had a Ferris wheel one time: The Great Wheel (1895 – 1906).
  9. If you would roll open the Eye, it would be as big as 4 soccer fields.
  • Quite some parts of the wheel were made in the Netherlands.
  • The weight of the London Eye equals 285 African elephants, or 1,700 tons. Which is still six times as “light” as the Eiffel Tower.
tickets London Eye

Do you want to enjoy the views? Make sure you book your tickets for the London Eye online and in advance. Besides, they’re also cheaper online!

London Eye opening hours

The Coca-Cola Eye is open on every day of the week, except for Christmas and during the yearly maintenance (from 6 until January 17). Between September 1 and April 4 the attraction is open from 10.00 in the morning until 20.30 in the evening. During the summer period (April 5 until August 31) the wheel only closes at 21.00. Sometimes the opening hours can deviate, always check them beforehand or enquire on the spot to prevent being disappointed.

London ferris wheel

Ready for a ride you’ll never forget?

Tickets London Eye

London’s Ferris wheel is one of the most beloved touristic attractions in town. The waiting times can therefore be extremely long if you don’t buy your tickets for the London Eye in advance. Because of its popularity there aren’t always tickets available on the spot. That’s why it is better to book your tickets for the London Eye so you’re certain to go for a ride on the Ferris wheel at the time you’ve chosen. Moreover, you also get a discount when making online reservations. This is some London Eye information they don’t always tell you, so keep it in mind!

Prices General tickets for the London Eye

A general ticket will book you a spot on the London Eye, but it’s very likely that you’ll have to wait in line for a while before being allowed to board. The waiting times can sometimes be even up to 2,5 hours! For a general ticket you’ll have to £26 / $33 / €30 per person and children under 2 can get in for free.

Prices Fast Lane tickets for the London Eye

Would you rather not wait in line for hours? Then it’s best to order a Fast Lane ticket. This will give you an allocated time to get into the attraction and that’s how you can just skip the long waiting lines. You can buy a skip-the-line ticket for £37 / $46 / €42 and also here kids under 2 can get in for free. These speedy tickets are best bought through the official partners of the Millennium Wheel.

Special experiences

You can also combine your visit to the Ferris wheel with a cruise on the Thames, starting from £12 / $17 / €15. The London Eye River Cruise is a unique experience with live commentary which brings the city to life.

Are you in London with your loved one? Then you can add a romantic touch to your weekend in London by opting for the champagne experience in the wheel, including a fast track admission (only for the added price of barely £2)

online tickets London Eye

There is something for everyone! But it is best to already order your tickets online for the London Eye.

How to get to the London Eye

The easiest way to reach the Ferris wheel is by subway. Waterloo Station, Westminster, Embankment and Charing Cross are within walking distance of the attraction.

Subway

The metro station Waterloo is only a 5-minute walk away from the Eye. From this station you must follow the signs with ‘South Bank’.

The stations Embankment and Charing Cross are a little bit further, on the northern side of the river, and from here you can walk to the Ferris wheel in fifteen minutes. To get to the London Eye this way, you do have to cross the Thames first, via the Hungerford bridge.

The Westminster station then again is closer to the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben. If you get off the subway here, you have to follow the signs with ‘Westminster Pier’ to walk to the Wheel. Don’t forget to mind the gap!

Bus

You can also reach the Millennium Wheel by bus, you just have to take bus 77, 211 or 381 to get off in the vicinity of the London Eye.

London Eye Coca Cola

Maybe a boat ride on the Thames could be the perfect way to end your visit?

Tickets for the London Eye

You just cannot miss riding on the Coca-Cola Eye. The tickets are cheaper compared to those for the view from the Shard and it is the perfect opportunity for families to see London from a different perspective. To avoid waiting in line at the Ferris wheel, it is advised to buy your tickets for the London Eye online!

Here are a couple of possibilities and options for your stay in London:

City trip to London

Would you like to see the city where the Brexit has been negotiated for years now? There’s an awful lot to see here! Just have a look at these sights.
Are you convinced? Do check out these great deals:

At this moment, there are no package deals for this destination.
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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