The London Eye is one of the city’s most beloved landmarks. It offers jaw-dropping views of the city, a welcome break from the city’s hustle below and an unrivaled photo-op. But when is the best time to ride it?
Sunset, hands down. I mean, what could beat getting a panoramic views of the city? Especially that the sunset sets behind the Big Ben and Parliament.
Besides, the London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is a giant Ferris wheel situated on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England. Originally, the famous attraction was built for the millennium and was supposed to be temporary; however, the attraction became so popular it became permanent. Today, the London Eye is an iconic landmark and one of the UK’s most popular visitor attractions.
There are over 3 million tourists that make their way to the London Eye each year. With that in mind, make sure to book your tickets early to secure a seat. The good news is you can purchase your ticket online but you still have the option of going to the designated ticket stands, however keep in mind the queue can get really long and tiresome! In that case, I’d have to say that I was lucky to get complimentary standard fast track tickets for myself and my co-founder, John Hathaway II.
Speaking of my co-founder, he was the one who arranged this trip for both of us and he gambled on getting the time slot at 4:30pm when the sun starts to set in London.
The London Eye Experience
Anyways, I remember rushing to London Eye after leaving King’s Cross Station for John’s photo-op at Platform 9 3/4. It was somewhat cloudy and starting to get dark when we were arriving. I started doubting that we would catch a good view of the city with the sunset because we were just a tad late to our time slot.
After getting our tickets, we rushed to the fast track line in the hopes that we would catch the sunset regardless. I was surprised that the fast track lane moved pretty fast. If we were on the standard line, we wouldn’t have caught the sunset. It was enormous, in excess of 45 minutes wait for them.
It was less than 15 minutes for us to reach to the dock. We were loaded into a pod with about twenty people. A good number, in my opinion, since there was plenty of room for everyone to move around and take pictures without bumping elbows and getting in each other’s way. One thing to keep in mind is that the wheel doesn’t stop moving at all, ever – when you are loaded on, you have to walk quickly alongside your pod to get in. It’s not too fast, but I could certainly see that being an issue for elderly folks.
TIP: when you load onto your pod, the best place to stand to get good pictures is at the front, furthest away from the loading entrance. — I’d suggest you to run for it because that’s what everybody would head for once they enter the pod. There were people in front of us when we entered the pod, so we couldn’t exactly run for it. =P
Throughout the ride, you’ll have a view of the River Thames, Big Ben and Parliament, and as the pod continues to rise, you’ll see Buckingham Palace nestled in the trees. The higher up you get, the nicer the view is from any spot in the pod. — Well, I want to say that it’s a lot more beautiful since it was the sunset.
As soon as we were at the top, I knew John gambled for the right timing. It was just perfect timing to see the sunset in the city. It’s like getting the best of both day and night at once. The sky was clear with sunset colors behind the city was eye-pleasing, I’m telling you!
The London Eye moves at 0.9 km (or 0.6 miles) per hour, which is slow enough for you to spend a good amount of time taking pictures and still just sit back and enjoy the view once you’ve got the shots you want. From start to finish, the entire ride lasts around thirty minutes.
The London Eye really isn’t to be missed. The tickets are more affordable in comparison to viewing the city from above at the Shard, and it’s a perfect option for families. Be sure to take it at sunset!
On busy days we would highly recommend buying a Fast Track Ticket, for a little extra you can bypass the standard line which is one long-ass line as mentioned earlier. By the way, pre-booking tickets online is quicker and cheaper than buying them on the day.
You can reach this iconic attraction through the public transport network in London. If you are taking the tube (subway), the nearest stations are Waterloo and Westminster, which are only a 5-minute walk away from the London Eye. Otherwise, there are also a couple of regular city buses that drop passengers to the site.
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