The London Eye
The London Eye - the Giant Observation Wheel, became operational in January 2000. Standing proud in London’s Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames the British Airways’ London Eye, is a focal point of the Nation’s celebration of the New Century. The Wheel is the largest of its kind ever to be built, at a height of 135m (450feet) and 1600 tonnes, it is a new landmark for London, to mark the new Millennium.
People of all ages from around the country are making special journeys to see this new and exciting giant Wheel and to participate in the excitement of being transported high above London. Visitors to London from abroad, are delighted by this new and novel way
of seeing the city from a bird's eye view.
As the Wheel is set in motion, you will feel a keen sense of anticipation. The higher it soars, the more celebratory the experience becomes, as you enjoy the breathtaking views from the heart of the city.
Well-known landmarks and buildings of central London are spread out in a great panorama before you; it is fun to see how many you can identify. Some to look out for are; The Imperial War Museum; The Globe Theatre; The Oval Cricket Ground; The Tate Gallery; Westminster Abbey; The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben; The Tower of London; St. Paul’s Cathedral; The National Portrait Gallery; Buckingham Palace; The British Museum; The Telecommunications Tower.
The architects of the London Eye are husband and wife team, Julia Barfield and David Marks, winners of the competition for ideas to mark the Millennium, their design was considered to be the most imaginative project conceived.
David and Julia wanted to present not just a monument, but something celebratory, that people could participate in and enjoy. David researched and developed the idea for a giant observation wheel and Julia found the ideal site by drawing a circle round London and finding the dead centre, Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank.
An observation wheel was built for Chicago’s Worlds Columbian Exposition in 1893, it became known as the Ferris wheel, after the designer whose name has been synonymous with these wheels ever since. Observation or Ferris wheels, have been included at many of the great expositions throughout the world, and are considered to be traditional structures at great occasions of celebration. David and Julia thought of the wheel as representing the turning of the century.
Three years of work went into the project, planning permission had to be granted, feasibility studies undertaken, financial consultations and all the groundwork needed to get the giant Wheel designed and built. David and Julia hoped to have two and a half years to construct the Wheel, but by the time the finances were in place they were left with only fourteen months. In recognition of their work, the imaginative design and the pleasure it will give to millions of people, the couple have been awarded the MBE.
Adult £8.50, Child £5, Senior Citizen £6.50, Disabled £6.50
10 Downing Street (<1 Mile)*
No. 10 Downing Street, with its famous black front door - the backdrop to many historical announcements, has been the official residence of Britain’s Prime Minister since 1732.
Big Ben (< 1 Mile)*
Big Ben is one of London's best-known landmarks, and looks most spectacular at night when the clock faces are illuminated.
Houses of Parliament (< 1 Mile)*
The Houses of Parliament, otherwise known as The Palace of Westminster, stands on the site where Edward the Confessor had the original palace built in the first half of the eleventh century.
The Cenotaph (< 1 Mile)*
The War memorial, known the world over as The Cenotaph, is situated in London’s Whitehall; it was originally built of wood and plaster, for the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919.
Museum of Garden History (< 1 Mile)*
In 1977 the Tradescant Trust was formed to save the historic church of St Mary-at-Lambeth from demolition and founded within it the first Museum of Garden History in the world.
more nearby attractions...
* Distances shown are in a direct line. Distances by road will be longer.
Novotel Waterloo (< 1 Mile)*
Situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, opposite Lambeth Palace the Novotel has parking (payable locally) and a fitness centre. Buses run regularly across the River to the West End.
London Marriott County Hall (< 1 Mile)*
Situated within an English Heritage Building, this hotel has 200 spacious bedrooms and superb leisure facilities in the heart of London.
Days Inn Waterloo (< 1 Mile)*
Situated close to the Imperial War Museum and just a few minutes walk from the South Bank of the River Thames and piers for river cruises, the Days Inn Waterloo provides an excellent base for the Millennium year.
Strand Palace Hotel (1 Mile)*
The landmark Strand Palace Hotel lies in the heart of Theatreland adjacent to Covent Garden and just a short walk from Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, Whitehall, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
The Savoy (1 Mile)*
The Savoy has always had its own special quality of English individuality and style. The hotel is perfectly placed for the theatres and shopping in Covent Garden and close to the City of London.
Very nice hotel
We stayed at the Novotel Waterloo prior to a Eurostar trip. The hotel
was contemporary, clean, and bright. Staff was friendly and helpful. Room was very nice and well appointed. Very nice pub in the lobby area too. Short walk to the Thames and across the bridge to Westminster area. Highly recommend!
Very pleasant hotel
Have just returned from a few nights in London with my family staying at the Novotel London Waterloo. This was a very good value for money hotel with helpful, friendly staff. Very clean, reasonable size family room with TV, hairdryer etc and some storage space for your clothes etc. Plentiful supplies of tea/coffee/milk etc and towels changed regularly. Separate toilet and bathroom. Nice breakfasts with something for everyone. The hotel was a fair walk into the main tourist areas and restaurants but it is walkable. A bus stop is just up the road from the hotel entrance (the No. 3 takes you to Trafalgar Square and was very frequent) and drops you off right outside the hotel on return). A one day bus pass costs £3.50 each for adults (kids free!) and takes you anywhere within the central London area. There is a sauna and gym and playstations available to use. Sauna and gym are free! A really good hotel if you are looking for a reasonably priced stay and don't mind doing buses!
Good Eurostar Hotel
My husband and i stayed at Novotel Waterloo on 6 Feb for 1 night as it was close to Eurostar. The room was spacious and spotless clean and we loved the wooden floors in the bathroom and seperate toilet.
However the location would be disappointing for those staying in this hotel other than using it for its convenience for Eurostar. Once you step outside the Hotel there is absolutely nothing but a dark and dodgy looking main road and even being a Londoner myself it didn't feel safe to walk around at night.
The hotel itself though is worth a short stay and we enjoyed use of the steam bath, sauna and gym. A very modern hotel and extremley quiet considering it is located in a main road. Reception were helpful and recommended a good Thai restaurant about a 15 minute walk away.
We got a taxi to Waterloo Station which only took around 5 minutes from the hotel. All in all a great hotel for Eurostar travellers and we would stay at Novotel again.
Its more like the Lambeth 'stroll'......
Just a Lambeth high kick back from the south bank of the Thames and one minutes walk adjacent from the view of Parliament from across the river you will find the Novotel Waterloo.
Reception is bright, clean and welcoming with lots of cleaning activity and staff smiled, responsive to newly arriving guests. We were greatly received by a bubbly, friendly lady on reception who delivered an extremely knowledgeable account of the hotels services: where/when the breakfast room was located, bar times, who to approach to book a cab. Was this still London??!! I felt this was the most welcoming and professional greet out of the 11 short stay hotels I have sampled during 2006.
We were checked in very swiftly and directed to the floor passing by the cleaners polishing the lift. We later commended the receptionist’s stance to continue addressing us despite a fellow over demanding lady guest (of American origin) butting in-while she presumed the world evolved slowly around her I will add!! We did not deign to ask her about the USA's world leading carbon emissions or to join the queue as this request was accomplished pleasantly by the clerk.
The hotel room was modern, air conditioned and despite it not appearing spit new in appearance it boasted a spotless, airy interior, a large comfortable double bed with additional bedding as well as the standard Novotel sofa bed. The en suite’s shower was most welcoming in the August heat of the capital. Our breakfast buffet offered an excellent wide array of hot and cold choices which were not only appetising but hot and/or correctly chilled and replenished regularly by focused, engaging staff.
In agreement with other reviews the main attractions of London are on 'other side' of the river but this is a mere amble across the many bridges in either north or south direction from the hotel-admittedly a hike if you were in a rush and the traffic speed is quite intimidating. However, the riverside strolls are pleasant enough albeit of the noise and constant traffic but hey! it is London and not Ross-on-Wye. We felt quite safe at night but then we are two strapping lads. The hotel's guests would benefit from a cash machine in its reception as the nearest is located a 15 minute walk towards Waterloo station itself. A small SPAR type supermarket can be found under an apartment block on the riverbank just along left from the roundabout minutes from the hotel’s location.
This stay proved to be excellent value considering this was London and for two adults for two nights with breakfast we paid just £149.00 in total. Fully recommended.
Good for sightseeing
A clean, comfortable hotel in an ideal location for sightseeing. Both sightseeing buses and public transport stop outside the hotel and can connect you with all of the sights, althouh many are walkable. The hotel is a minute away from Lambeth Pier where you can book river cruises and also use the Themes Clippers (public boats which stop at at all the major sights along the river including London Eye, Tower of London and Westminster etc)
We paid for 2 nights and got our 3rd night for free and breakfast was included in the price (cost £217 in total for a double room mid week)
Breakfast was very good but if not included in your stay £13 a head may prove costly for breakfast if you cross Lambeth Bridge and walk down Horseferry Road there are a selection of cafes offering breakfast.
This is a good hotel if you want somewhere to lay your head at the end of a busy day of sightseeing, shopping or even business.
An Oasis - of sorts!!
This hotel is almost like an oasis. We booked room only because we thought there would be cafes or restaurants nearby where we could eat, and being Scottish we thought £13 per person for breakfast was a bit steep (even for London!) . However, there are no local facilities (ATM, corner shop, cafe, restaurant) within a 15 minute walk in any direction. Believe me, we tried! We did find a corner shop, don't ask me where and bought what we needed. However, the hotel itself was lovely. The room was large, clean and very comfortable but with no air-con, and it was hot in London in June 2005. The reception was lovely and cool as were the staff. Possibly a language barrier! We didn't use anything from the mini-bar, but we did use the fridge to store our own water, which must have set off some kind of sensor so when we checked out, the staff said we had and we had to wait until they checked the room before they believed us. Can really say anything bad about this hotel and we would stay here again, but this time we would be prepared, and eat before we arrived. Short taxi ride to Waterloo to catch Eurostar.
Large rooms, that's about it
Stayed here for 5 nights, was in town for business in Richmond, but didn't want to stay out of town. The rooms were large, which was nice given I had to work out of the hotel occasionnally. They were clean, but not necessarily up to date. Don't try to use the hotel wireless, same price and better connection for Orange wireless.
The bathroom was very nice. The bed was incredibly uncomfortable. On last night, i had to fix the sheet I had kicked off, and discovered the "mattress" was simply two of those egg crate cushion things on top of a box spring.
Location is still a 5-10 minute taxi to waterloo station, so didnt find it all that convenient. A nicer hotel in a better location would have been just as easy a commute. I dont mind walking, but a 10-15 minute walk to the nearest tube stop or place to eat was unfortunate, and caused me to end my evenings quicker, given I didnt want to be walking alone after dark.
Overall, this hotel is okay if you are on a budget and need a large room, but there are better.
Excellent location, nice rooms
I booked this hotel as part of a theatre package with Superbreaks. I chose the hotel due to its location. It is close enough to the London sights but you are not paying top rate prices.
It is a 5-10 minute walk from Lambeth North tube on the Bakerlook line. Not sure how far from Waterloo.
Fab location just around the corner from the Houses of Parliament. Lovely to walk along the embankment past County Hall, London Eye.
Good sized room, very clean with separate toilet and shower room. Excellent buffet breakfast in very stylish restaurant with attentive staff.
Pleasant hotel bar in an English style.
Would definitely recommend and would stay in again for a London break.
Couldn't find fault with anything - and I can usually find something!!
Places to Stay
For a surprise birthday present, my boyfriend is taking me to London in the beginning of April. However, the planning has yet to be done. Do any of you know of any nice places, on the inexpensive side, that you could recommend?
Re: Places to Stay
There are a lot of reasonable hotels up in Bloomsbury. We stayed at the Ridgemont but there are others.
Re: Places to Stay
Check out the Travel Guide files here on VT - lots of good suggestions there.
Re: Places to Stay
not much of a suprise then.......!!!
Re: Places to Stay
Best value hotels tend to be in the Paddington/Bayswater Area. THis is near Hyde Park and although not the most up-matket part of the city it is still a very nice area and is good value for money (try to avoid hotels in Praed Street though).
If you decide to stay elsewhere it's best to stay North of the River (as the south is less acessible and there isn't as much there).
Re: Re: Places to Stay
If you want a nice hotel at a discounted rate you should look at www.lastminute.com. This is a site that offers discounts of up to 70%.
Another site is www.luxurylink.com - they have special offers on hotels around the world.
Have a great trip.
Re: Re: Places to Stay
I use Priceline for London, a great bargain especially with the plummeting dollar. I've gotten great 4* hotels for $65-75 US per night, it will probably be closer to $100 now but still a good bargain.
Check out www.biddingfortravel.com before you bid.
Re: Places to Stay
We used pricelne for Apr 2-5. $75 + taxes and fees (~$280 for 3 nights) We bid 3* in the vauxhall area and got the Novotel Waterloo (in Lambeth). This hotel has good reviews. For hotel reviews use www.tripadvisor.com
Re: Re: Places to Stay
Some very inexpensive romantic things to do once you're here might be:
Columbia Road flower market, early Sunday morning. (You can walk on to Brick Lane for a curry, and check out Spitalfields too.)
Walk the south bank of the Thames from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge past Parliament, South Bank and the Globe. You can stop off for coffee in the Tate Modern Cafe. The cafe outside the Design Museum has outdoor tables overlooking Tower Bridge.
A drink in the Oxo Tower bar on the South Bank at dusk - for a Waterloo sunset without standing on a cold bridge.
Portobello Road, Notting Hill on a Saturday (antique market not so good in the week). Very cheap noodle/falafel cafes at scruffier end.
If you're going to Camden Market at the weekend, walk along the canal from Camden to Little Venice, past Aviary House of London Zoo.
Buy a Time Out food and drink guide - it has a cheap eats section with some romantic cafes.
Have a lovely time!
Re: Places to Stay
how is it a surprise?! :p
Re: Re: Places to Stay
Well, it was a suprise, until he told me! My birthday was a couple days ago, and he needed to tell me about it earlier because I needed to get a passport! :-)