Visiting the London Eye – How to Skip the Queue and Get Cheap Tickets!
Opened to the public in March 2000, the London Eye has quickly become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. And anyone taking a trip to the UK’s capital should make visiting the London Eye a priority. The London Eye was originally only supposed to be around for five years as a celebration of the Millennium. But it’s since become the UK’s most popular attraction. Now it promises to remain a staple on the tourism scene for years to come.
Visiting the London Eye is at the top of the list of what to do in London for many tourists. And there will be long queues to contend with. But with a bit of foresight and planning by using this guide, you’ll be well informed. And will be able to get the most out of your London Eye experience. Want to skip the queue? Want to get cheaper London Eye tickets? I got some cheat modes for you below:
Table of contents
- Visiting the London Eye – How to Skip the Queue and Get Cheap Tickets!
- Why Visit the London Eye?
- London Eye Ticket Types and Costs
- How to Book Tickets for the London Eye in Advance
- London Eye Opening Hours
- Location of the London Eye and How to Get There
- London Eye Accessibility and Security Information
- Tips for Visiting the London Eye
Why Visit the London Eye?
As the tallest cantilevered Ferris wheel in Europe, the London Eye is an amazing feat of engineering that needs to be seen to be believed. Plus, the view from the London Eye is spectacular. The individual pods are designed to give passengers a 360-degree view.
What height is the London Eye?
It’s 135 meters tall (that’s 443 feet for you Americans!). You can see up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) when the sky is clear. London’s skyline is among the most beautiful in the world and to be able to take it all in at a relaxing pace as the London Eye slowly spins is something visitors won’t soon forget.
What can you see?
As you mill around inside your London Eye pod (one of 32 pods to represent London’s 32 boroughs) you’ll be able to see many of London’s major sights including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and even Buckingham Palace. And if there’s a flag flying from Buckingham Palace then the Queen is at home.
You’ll also be able to see the Tate Modern, the Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and a beautiful stretch of The River Thames. If you’re short on time but want to get a glimpse of many of London’s most iconic buildings then visiting the London Eye is the most practical and efficient way to see the sights from above.
The London Eye isn’t actually a typical Ferris wheel. It’s a ‘cantilevered observation wheel’ and each of the 32 capsules holds 25 people at once. But there’s still plenty of space in each pod for moving around to enjoy the 360-degree view.
The wheel travels at a slow pace of 0.6 miles per hour and takes 30 minutes to complete its rotation, so there’s no rush to see everything all at once and you really have time to enjoy the majestic London views.
London Eye Ticket Types and Costs
There are several options for tickets for visiting the London Eye which are detailed below. Note that prices are accurate as of August 2022 but can change at any time so make sure to check the London Eye official website for up to date prices. You can either buy a ticket on the day but the queue for tickets is often long.
NOTE: The best way to organise tickets is through Headout App. They offer queue jumps, VIP tickets, discounted tickets. Organise it in advance and it’s a much more stress-free experience. Otherwise you can be stuck in the line for hours! Check out the options here:
If you don’t heed my advice though, here is the standard pricing:
A Fast Track ticket gives you a dedicated entrance with priority boarding. But you’ll have to commit to a time slot. If you’d rather be more flexible (which is wise so you can watch the weather), you can pay £55 online for a Flexi Fast Track ticket which doesn’t require you to choose a time slot. Families can pay £26 (online only) per person for a minimum of one adult and two children but this also requires booking a time slot.
You can also combine a visit to the London Eye with other London attractions to save some money including the Thames River Cruise for £43, Madame Tussauds for £50, Sea Life for £50.
And there are plenty of other options if you want to combine up to four London attractions. Check the official website to see what’s on offer.
The London Eye offers several more unique options for enjoying the ride with a variety of VIP pod experiences.
For £65 you can experience the ‘Pub Pod’ where you can enjoy up to two drinks per person in a festive pub setting.
If you prefer Champagne, £55 will get you a glass of chilled Pommery Brut as you enjoy your spin around the London Eye.
For £625 you can book a private pod with up to 25 guests.
And for £470 you can book the ‘Cupid Pod’ for two guests which includes a bottle of Champagne, a box of chocolate truffles, and a personal London Eye host.
All of these experiences allow you to skip the standard queue and take advantage of fast-track boarding.
How to Book Tickets for the London Eye in Advance
Check out the Headout App for discounted tickets and queue jump.
London Eye Ticket Cancellation Policy
All Standard and Combo Tickets have a guarantee that they can be rescheduled in the event that an attraction is closed for some unforeseen reason, due to government restrictions on travel. Or if you’re unable to travel due to sickness or isolation. Tickets can be moved up to five times, up to 24 hours before your ticket date. This guarantee does not apply to premium tickets.
London Eye Opening Hours
The London Eye opens at 11am and closes at 6pm. As the most popular tourist attraction in the UK, you’ll want to plan well to avoid getting stuck in a massive ticket line. The busiest time of day for visiting the London Eye is generally between 11am and 3pm and you can expect it to be mobbed if the day is sunny and clear or during school holidays. The crowds are generally smaller right as it opens or just before it closes. So it’s very wise to try to avoid peak times or by paying a bit extra to bypass the lines.
Location of the London Eye and How to Get There
The London Eye is located in Central London. On the South Bank of the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It really is hard to miss and you’ll be able to spot it towering above surrounding buildings if you’re in the area. There are multiple ways to get to the London Eye.
Personally, I love to walk when I visit a city. And the London eye is a GORGEOUS 45-minute walk from the iconic Tower Bridge, along the River Thames. Passed Borough Market, passed Shakespeare’s Globe:
Where is the London Eye?
Underground (the Tube)
The closest underground station is Waterloo with a walking distance of only five minutes (exit the station following signs for the South Bank). But Central London is walkable and underground stations are a lot closer together than you might realize. So if you want to have a bit of a stroll before arrival (which is recommended) you could get off at either the Charingcross, Westminster, or Embankment underground stations to enjoy a short 15-minute walk along the River Thames before arriving at the London Eye.
The closest rail stations to the London Eye are Waterloo and Charing cross.
The area is also well-served by London’s iconic buses including the 211, 77, and 381 routes. You’ll also find the London Eye is a stop on all of the main open-top tourist buses that move around the city to various London attractions.
Driving in Central London isn’t recommended and the London Eye lies within the expensive congestion zone. But if you do find yourself arriving by car there are several car parks in the area. If you pre-book your London Eye ticket, you’ll get a 15% discount at the Q-Park Westminster car park.
The London Eye even has its own stop along the River Thames. And you can arrive by boat traveling from any of the piers along the river and arriving at the London Eye Pier.
London Eye Accessibility and Security Information
The London Eye is fully accessible for disabled patients, including wheelchairs and mobility scooters. But you will have to book a space online.
Pets are not permitted on the London Eye, but assistance dogs are allowed. Check the official website for all information regarding accessibility.
The London Eye has a variety of security checks to pass before boarding including bag and personal belongings checks and sometimes metal detectors. You are not permitted to bring weapons, fireworks, glass bottles, sharp objects, alcohol, drugs, skateboards, e-scooters, rollerblades, or drones.
Tips for Visiting the London Eye
- This is a beautiful part of London, arrive early for a wander around or plan to stay in the area after your ride. There are great pubs and many historical sights nearby. Or just hang out along the River Thames and soak up some of that amazing London atmosphere.
- Don’t delay when the time comes to board your capsule! Try to get in early to get one of the better spots along the edge. You don’t want to get hemmed into the center of the capsule and have to struggle to see things. For the best views and photo opportunities, try to move to the far side of the capsule, opposite of where you enter, facing the river.
- It makes a lot of sense to pay a bit extra for a fast track ticket online to skip to the front of the queue. There are so many amazing things to see and do in London and spending ages in a line is not one of them! You wait to assess the queue and buy a fast track ticket on the day if it looks terrible, or you can buy the ticket online in advance and save 10%.
- If you don’t intend on buying a fast track ticket, make sure you arrive early. The London Eye opens at 10am in the summer and it’s usually already queued up well before then. You’ll want to go at least an hour before you’re hoping to board the ride.
- If you want to get more out of your time in London and save money, combine a visit to the London Eye with a number of other London attractions. As an example of the savings, a ticket to Madame Tussaud’s and the London Eye bought separately will cost £73. But you can buy them together on the London Eye website for £50. There are several combinations to choose from and they’ll all save you money.
- If you want privacy or are hoping to use your trip on the London Eye as an opportunity to propose (as over 5,000 others have already done!) or if you just want a pod all to yourself, then you can book the ‘Cupid Pod’ which comes with tasting options for wine, chocolate, or champagne.
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