Home » London’s Iconic Viewpoint: Your In-Depth Guide to the Famous Ferris Wheel

London’s Iconic Viewpoint: Your In-Depth Guide to the Famous Ferris Wheel

Pros and cons of riding the London Ferris wheel

by Paola Bertoni
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The London Eye is London’s iconic Ferris wheel, an essential stop on a trip to the British capital for anyone who likes to see the city from above. In this article, you can find out how to buy tickets for the London Eye, how to avoid queues and my experience with the pros and cons of this tourist activity.

About London Eye: interesting fact of the London Ferris Wheel

The London Eye Ferris Wheel was built to welcome the arrival of the new millennium. Its original name, in fact, was Millennium Wheel. Designed by Julia Barfield and David Marks of Marks Barfield Architects, the London Eye was officially opened in 2000.

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At its inauguration, it was the tallest wheel in the world, standing at a height of 135 meters and consisting of 32 cabins. Although it has been surpassed in height by other structures over the years, its location on the banks of the Thames, facing the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben clock, has made it an instant icon of London.

Today, the London Eye is one of London’s most prominent landmarks and one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, offering visitors a unique perspective of the British capital.

The experience of riding the London Ferris Wheel: Pros and Cons

The London Eye experience is exciting and educational, providing an unparalleled view of the city of London. The Ferris wheel, situated along the Thames River, is one of the city’s most iconic attractions. As you ascend slowly, the transparent glass cabins gradually unveil London’s significant points of interest.

The view encompasses the majestic architecture of the Houses of Parliament, the Big Ben clock, and the enchanting cityscape of the city, including many skyscrapers, such as the iconic Gerkin. It is a unique opportunity to appreciate the city’s beauty from a privileged vantage point.

Pros: Why go on the London Eye

The London Eye is an unmissable experience for Ferris wheel enthusiasts because it gives you a breathtaking view 135 metres above the ground. Over the years, it has become one of London’s most iconic landmarks and a tourist must-see.

The whole spin on the wheel takes about half an hour and, unlike smaller Ferris wheels, the up and down movements are imperceptible. It allows you to move freely inside the glass cabins and take panoramic pictures of places like the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace.

If you need help recognising landmarks during the tour, information tablets in all cabins can help you identify London’s buildings. These devices provide details on the most important sights.

The experience on the London Eye is so enjoyable that it is worth taking it even in bad weather. In this case, the photos might be grey due to clouds, but they will allow you to capture the authentic essence of London, often grey and cloudy!


  • The London Eye is one of London’s most iconic landmarks.
  • You can see the whole city from above and take pictures.
  • The London Eye is one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world.
View of Westminster from the London Eye
View of Westminster from the London Eye

Cons: Why avoid the London Eye

Despite its importance in London’s attractions, many tourists avoid the London Eye. I was also sceptical before I went on the London Eye. The main reason is the cost, which can be pretty high, starting at £24.50 for the basic ticket at the time of writing.

Consequently, if you are travelling with family or friends, a Ferris wheel ride could take up a good chunk of your holiday budget in 30 minutes. London is wonderful but expensive if you don’t know how to travel on a budget in this city (yes, you can, but not on the Ferry Wheel, unfortunately).

Moreover, the London Eye is notorious for long queues, which can be frustrating. Nobody likes spending hours in queues. Finally, the Ferris wheel is heavily sponsored by companies such as British Airways, Coca Cola and Lastminute, to name a few. It could affect the overall experience as, for a high cost, you get cabins completely covered with advertisements.


  • Very high cost.
  • Long queues.
  • Massive sponsorship.

How to ride the London Ferris wheel and avoid the downsides

Luckily, some solutions allow you to avoid the downsides of the London Ferris wheel. First, the London Pass is an effective way to save money on the cost of attractions, including the London Eye. However, only the skip-the-line ticket allows you to avoid the long queues and enjoy the experience of riding the Ferris wheel and admiring the British capital from above.

If, however, the price of the London Eye ticket is still too high for you, read my article on the best places to see London from above for free.

Cabin of the London Eye, London's Ferris wheel
Cabin of the London Eye, London’s Ferris wheel

Practical information about getting on the London Eye

London Eye tickets sell out quickly, so you should plan this activity in advance. The London Eye Ferris wheel is open daily, but opening times vary between weekdays and weekends. During the week, the London Eye operates from 11 am to 6 pm, while at the weekend, it opens from 10 am until 8.30 pm.

The ride on the Ferris wheel takes about half an hour and allows you to see London and the Thames from an extraordinary angle. To make your experience even more unique, you can book a VIP champagne-tasting experience or private cabin, making your trip on the London Eye a truly unique moment.

London Eye tickets

To be sure to find a place on the London Eye, you must book your tickets online. In fact, the ticket office doesn’t guarantee you can go on the Ferris wheel without a reservation, as it is one of London’s most popular attractions. In addition, the prices in the ticket office are much higher than online, from £40 instead of £29.0 (the lowest price found at the time of writing).

Even if online tickets have an entry time, you can still find queues, especially during busy periods. Consider that weekends and school holidays are busier than usual, with longer queues. I recommend choosing early morning or late afternoon, around closing time, to avoid waiting and queues. For a better experience, the Fast Track ticket allows you to get on from a different line with considerably shorter queues.

The London Eye tickets sell out quickly at certain times, so I recommend that you check availability now on this calendar (standard ticket only):

In addition, the London Eye also offers combined tickets with the Ferris wheel and other London attractions, such as the London Eye River Cruise and Big Bus tours. These options allow you to save money and explore additional attractions in the city, offering a complete package for an unforgettable day in London.

How to get to the London Eye

The London Eye Ferris wheel is located on the south bank of the River Thames, directly opposite Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. It is adjacent to the London Eye Pier, where river ferries dock. The official ticket office is located at the base of the Ferris wheel and is clearly marked.

Waterloo is the nearest tube station to the London Eye. Still, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster stations are within easy walking distance. Alternatively, you can travel by bus and plan your route with Google Maps, which works flawlessly in London.

London Eye
Riverside Building, County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB

Where to stay in London

London has a wide range of accommodation, from hostels to luxurious hotels, but it can be expensive. For a luxurious stay, I highly recommend the 5-star hotel Broadwick Soho, close to Piccadilly Circus, with refined and beautifully designed rooms, a terrace and a restaurant. A great choice is also the Hampton by Hilton London Waterloo, just a 5-minute walk from Waterloo train station and conveniently located near many popular attractions. Another option, if you are looking for a nice hotel with a limited budget, is the Assembly Covent Garden, a design hotel with well-decorated rooms and sculptures, ideal for those on a budget.

Admiring the view of London from the London Eye is an unforgettable experience and, despite the price, if you love riding the Ferris wheels, this tourist attraction is a must-see. Share your thoughts about the London Eye in the comments section if you have already ridden it or if you would like to experience this activity on your next trip to London.

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