The London Eye has skyrocketed to one of the most recognisable features in the London skyline in just 15 years. In fact, the first time I lived in London, it didn’t exist. At first, I found it kind of an odd figure protruding out of London’s regal skies. Among centuries of historical monuments, there now sits a giant cantilevered observation wheel.
It took a while, but it started to grow on me.
I’m afraid of heights. But, that’s something you have to put aside sometimes in life to have an epic worldly experience. After I survived a sunset at The View from the Shard, I figured I’d be able to ride the London Eye.
However, I was holding out until my mother could come across the pond again to visit me.
When we turned back the clocks on Sunday October 26th, I panicked. Dude, it seriously got dark fast. While I am a perpetual promoter of sun in London, I get that there’s a lot of liquid sunshine and inner sunshine compensation around this time of year. So, I had to head to the sky to be closer to the sunshine. This, my Sunny friends, is what Iearned…
See the London Eye Advice #1- Set your alarm
Book your tickets ahead of time and get there early. You can book tickets online if you do it at least 24 hours in advance. Try to plan your trip around the weather, obviously. I was there on the hottest Halloween on record. Naturally.
When I went to the View from the Shard, they suggested sunset for the best time to visit. They even gave me a suggested arrival time so I got it just right. The London Eye representative advised that views were always fabulous and to start with the first rotation.
I figured arriving at 9:45am would be fine. It opened at 10:00am. Whoa! Queues were already stretching beyond the barriers. I was shocked. It was a weekday!
See the London Eye Advice #2- Watch the movie
The representative I worked with suggested watching the 4D movie prior to boarding. Great tip! I don’t want to ruin it for you, but take the five minutes to watch the movie. It’s an absolute adrenaline rush and gets you totally pumped to tour the London sky.
See the London Eye Advice #3- Fast Track
At least do yourself a favor and fast track your entrance. Like I said, the attraction gets mobbed before it even opens. Paying extra to skip the line would be a real benefit. My friend and I walked on to the loading dock within minutes. The ultimate experience would be to reserve your own capsule. If you’re able to do that, give me a call. I’m an excellent camera caddy. 😉
See the London Eye Advice #4- Jump in
What I didn’t realize was while I stood on the dock taking pictures, all the cheeky buggers in my pictures got on the capsule first. They reserved the best viewpoints, the far end of the capsule. You’ll want to be opposite the door facing Big Ben. It’s the best spot.
The pod wasn’t too crowded, but I feel like I missed out a bit on some great shots. However, at one point I stood on the bench in the center of the capsule so I could be a bit creative. Sometimes I have no shame.
See the London Eye Advice #5- There’s a glare
See the London Eye Advice- Isn’t it obvious…
Oh geez, thanks for the warning.
See the London Eye Advice- The Golden Rule
No matter how much I write, the best piece of advice comes from Mr. Sunny. Back in the days when he was an international journalist for NBC, he was invited on a Press Trip when the London Eye opened. In his words of wisdom, “Go to the bloody loo before you get in line. It’s a loooooong trip around if you don’t!’
Many thanks to the staff at The London Eye for the complimentary tickets. If you’ve been on The London Eye, please share your advice below.
I really want to go back at night.. Have you had your own capsule? I’d love to try the Hotel Chocolat Capsule, Wine Tasting Capsule, Champagne Tasting Capsule, or even Cupid’s Capsule? What do you recommend, Sunny friends?
If you’re visiting London for the the first time (especially the NFL in London Games this Fall), check out my ‘Guide to London for Americans Visiting the First Time!’ Or you can subscribe to Sunny in London weekly emails. I’m happy to help Americans find their way here faster, so share this post or that one if you have friends travelling here soon.