London Eye, London
The London Eye is a huge ferris wheel, at one time the world's largest, with enclosed capsules. It moves so slowly that you can barely tell that it is moving, it takes 30 minutes to do a full revolution. I'm probably in the minority in listing this as a tourist trap, I've been on it twice and both times I've thought it was overpriced and really not that exciting. I suppose it does give the nicest view over London though...
Unique Suggestions: Keep an "eye" out for 2 for 1 promotions, I found one in for my June 2013 trip from Time Out, I've also seen it in conjunction with the Oyster Card or on the Days Out Guide. Without a discount, it's currently 19.20£ for adults, at 1/2 that it was palatable, at full price, no way.
You can save 10% if you prebook online but if you prebook you run the risk of getting a bad weather day with poor visibility and then you are definitely wasting your money. Fast Track also seems like a waste of money, those people that had Fast Track when we went maybe saved a whole minute of wait time. Even if the lines seem long, they go pretty fast, the Eye hold 800 people at a time, each of the 32 capsules can hold up to 25 people.
Fun Alternatives: Although not as tall, here are some other places I thought had a good view
-Oxo Tower has nice views over London and it's free
-Primrose Hill near Regent's Canal, on a clear day you can see all the way to St. Paul's
-St. Paul's Cathedral-admission charge
-the Monument-small admission charge, a bunch of stairs
For some more places to get a view, this website has listings in and out of Central London and some of those places that mere tourists are not likely to ever have access to.
The lines are long, it's around £11 for a ticket, but if you do any tourist trap activity, I'd go for the London Eye. The view is really nice.
Unique Suggestions: If you go just before the eye closes, there may not be much of a line and you may even get a carriage to yourself.
I thought it would be wonderful to see London all spread out in front of me like a map. Unfortunately, it took a lot of time because a lot of other people had the same idea. The result was that I missed seeing some of the other things that I would have liked to see, and missed doing some things I would have liked to do.
Unique Suggestions: Don't go on your first day in London - wait until you have some idea of what you are looking at. Get the little map with everything labeled on it so you can find it in your pictures later.
Try not to go on a sunny Saturday, which was what we did. We had to wait 2 hours for our 'flight' because everyone else in London had the same idea as we had.
Go on a clear and preferably sunny day (or at night - I understand it is wonderful at night with everything lit up). The day we went was sunny to begin with, but by the time we got on, it was cloudy and rainy.
You can also book on-line which will save standing in one queue (line) at least.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the top of Tower Bridge where you also get a good view of the area around the river. The Thames is the best thing to see from the London Eye, anyway.
NOT THE CHEAPEST AMUSEMENT
Standard flight adult (16 plus) £14.50
Standard flight child (5-15 years) £7.25
Standard flight under five FREE
Standard flight senior (60 plus) £11.00
Standard flight disabled £11.00
Opening times 2007
Winter: October - May
10.00am - 8.00pm Daily
Summer: June - September
10.00am - 9.00pm Daily
I have been to London many times over the years, but only took the London Eye trip on my most recent trip. Big disappointment! First, if you purchase the tickets in person you must stand in two lines, one to purchase the tickets and another to get on the ride. Depending on the day and time, this could easily eat up 2 hours. You can get a Flexipass to bypass the second line(or at least stand in a line that is much shorter), but there is an extra charge for this privilege.
Secondly, the "trip" is only about 30 minutes long, and only a few minutes of that is at the top of the wheel. The rest is ascending and descending, where the view is much less impressive. The bubble is glass, but felt strangely claustrophobic.
The Flexipass is currently £31.05 (about $50 USD) if you buy it online from the London Eye website. A standard ticket purchased online is £16.74 (about $27 USD).
Unique Suggestions: I can't say I'm sorry I did it, because it's a well-known tourist sight and I wanted to see what it was like. But I would not do it again, and I don't think it was worth the money or the time I invested standing in line.
If you decide to go and there are two of you, take advantage of the 2-for-1 vouchers from daysoutguide.co.uk to reduce your cost. Or just skip it altogether and climb to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral instead.
Literally a trap, this capsule where you`ll be locked in for half an hour, that will cost you no less than exorbitant £10,50 (about €16) and force you to wait in two long lines, one to buy the ticket and the other under the sun or, more likely, London rain, before "boarding", will frustrate your expectations of seeing anything in London, except for a couple of bridges on the Thames and a bad angle of the Parliament. Other than that, you can use the telescopes (for some extra few pounds, of course) to try and see the top of the trees in Hyde Park, or maybe the flag on top of Buckingham Palace (IF the Queen happens to be there), and again, that is IF there`s nobody in front of you in those crowded "eyes" :)
Fun Alternatives: See the Salvador Dali museum next doors...
While London Eye is one of the newest must to see attractions it does not offer that great view you may expect. London is packed with large buildings what block the view even to see things what are nearby. If you are not lucky enough fog or clouds come down below top of the weel, so you really think you fly as you can see nothing, but the top of clouds.
It is however great technically, but you can experience without taking the ride.
Unique Suggestions: "Fly" only if weather is good and choose a time when there is no queue or just a short one (it is more likely to happen in the afternoon)
Fun Alternatives: Take a window seat when you fly to and out of London and you will enjoy a real bird-eye view.
Just because it is a tourist trap doesn't mean not to do it entirely. I had planned to go if time permitted, but on my last day in London the line up was crazy. My sister has been on and says it is great. An alternative view can be seen from the roof of St. Pauls Cathedral
I haven't really been on it so I don't know the feeling, but I know that I had absolutely no desire to do so. Line ups were huge, lap on it is very expensive, and what bothered me the most is how ugly it looked like surrounded with all the beautiful traditional victorian buildings. If it was in Las Vegas maybe I'do it.
It is not really a tourist trap, because it is a fantastic attraction (Maybe a bit overrated in my opinion), but be warned: you will have to queue for a long time before you get in. On the other hand, I must say the organisation is very good.
THE LONDON EYE
In London, there's this stupid overgrown ferris wheel called the 'London Eye.' I think it's sponsored by an airline. Anyhow, it's REALLY stupid and it doesnt deserve your time. I mean the line alone was like 2 hours...so we didn't wait for it. If its a good view of the city that you want, go to one of the billions of tall old buildings in London...that way you can get some real culture too.
Down on the South Bank in the borough of Lambeth is a new attraction called the London Eye. It looks like a giant ferris wheel (completely marring the landscape around Westminster) and you pay through the nose to sit in a cage and go around for 45 minutes. You are promised a spectacular aerial view, but after 10 minutes, you've taken your photos and now you're bored and stuck on it. You're far better off paying the 8 pounds to cross Tower Bridge, and seeing the view from there
This is just my opinion, but to me the London Eye was a waste of time. Yes, you do get to see most of the town in a Liliput scale and this can be cool at times - I'd say on a nice sunny day, but most days in London is quite the opposite. The ride takes an hour to complete the whole circle and stops for about 2 mins at particular points - maybe I was expecting a more thrilling ride or something. You will be given a mini guide, so most places can be identified - the guide is pretty cool.
We purposefully avoided the Millennium Dome - good move too!
Unique Suggestions: Just don't go!
Fun Alternatives: Do something else!
I didn’t really get impressed with the view from the London Eye, and wouldn’t have fun anywhere where they charge 20 times as much as what it’s actually worth. But I like the looks of the Eye from outside, especially at night.
Take a good hard look at the London Eye before you shell out the big bucks required to get on the ride.
You get locked up in a glass bubble which takes you above the city. Presumably the point of this is to allow you to look down on London and see the size of the city.
Let me save you some money. London from above looks big. It looks like the urban planners were drunk when the designed the streets. It also has lots of red roofs. There - you've just been on the London Eye. I accept cash.
My recommendation is that budget travellers see London from the level where it matters - street level.
Unique Suggestions: If you are forced at knifepoint to go on the London Eye, or if you cave into the demands of your children - atleast try to pick a day with good weather.
If there is too much humidity or clouds in the air, then you are really not going to see very much.
Don't eat ANY beans prior to this ride, as passing wind in the small bubble with all the other riders might not be too cool.
Fun Alternatives: Ask for a room on the top floor of you hotel.