London Eye - amazing "flight"

London Travel Blog

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British Airways London Eye (Part 5)

One of the problems with living, as I do, in a city like London is that you tend to forget sometimes that you are living in the middle of so many exciting historical places, incredible art galleries and museums and fascinating monuments.

 

This is why I love having people from out of town, or even better, the country coming to visit as it forces you to look again at the city. You start to look again beyond the traffic or the destination you are rushing to and start to see things you almost stop seeing. Things like the imposing and quite remarkable Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben, which I have so often driven past rushing on to my destination that I forgot to savour and take in just how wonderful they are.

British Airways London Eye (Part 4)

 

This struck me again this past weekend when we had people staying who wanted to go and have a ride on the “British Airways London Eye” and as we drove past the House of Parliament they squealed with delight and excitement as they came into view and they saw “Big Ben”, and excitedly discussed the booming chimes as it stuck the time on the hour.

 

Then you notice the throngs of people in this area. It is probably the epicentre of the tourist trade in London as in a relatively small area you have Trafalgar Square, Whitehall with 10 Downing Street (The Prime Minister’s residence), the House of Parliament, Horse Guards and then on the other side of the Thames the South Bank with the London Eye, Aquarium, Dali Exhibition and the South bank Centre with the National Theatre.

 

So one big tip, is if you visit London and have only time to do one area (or want to know where to start) this is the area of town to come to.

British Airways London Eye (London)

 

And my recommendation is that the first “tourist thing” to do (or even if you live in London) is to go on the “London Eye”.

 

This is a massive Ferris wheel that was put up for the Millennium and soon became the most popular attraction in London. It sits on the side of the Thames on the South side. It is absolutely huge (almost twice the height of the Statute of Liberty in New York) and takes 35 minutes to go round. There are around 20 or so people per glass capsule. The capsules are amazing as they feel like you are almost in a small fish bowl and right at the top you are literally on the top as the support for the capsule is underneath you (check out the photos to see what I mean!).

 

It costs around £12 (US$18) for an adult, less for children and toddlers and babies go for free.

the view at the top
It also is disabled traveller friendly (and in fact the only time the wheel stops if briefly to let wheelchairs on). The whole operation is very well organized (even with the strong security screening they have). You can book a “flight” (they call it this as the wheel has been sponsored from the start by British Airways who underwrite the loss each year) for a time (or at the ticket counters nearby). You do not really have to queen up much therefore as they have it pretty well worked out how many people they can get on each hour.

 

The wheel runs until very late in Summer and only closes usually in February for annual maintenance.

The view are quiet staggering and you get to see the layout and all the major attractions and areas of interest, which are well documented in a little booklet you can buy.

 

Even if you don’t like heights it is worth going.

British Airways London Eye (Part 2)
I am not a great one for heights but find it fine. There is a bench in the middle and you can sit on that as standing next to the glass is quite thrilling and maybe too much for you if you feel a bit strange with heights.

 

I have made a series of short videos at 4 stages of the “flight” to help you see the experiences, which are posted below. Hope you enjoy them.

 

To see all the photos: click here
londonstudent says:
You are so right - when you live in a place like London, you take everything for granted, and forget that people travel thousands of miles to see what is on your own doorstep! Memo to self: go on the Eye this summer ...
Posted on: Apr 13, 2007
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British Airways London Eye (Part 5)
British Airways London Eye (Part 4)
British Airways London Eye (London)
the view at the top
the view at the top
British Airways London Eye (Part 2)
London
photo by: ulysses