London is a city built upon icons. There are structures that are recognised around the world for their architectural brilliance and daring. There is history and culture spread across the city like no other city on earth, even the buses are international icons!
The next time you think about visiting London, make sure you book a room in The Montcalm At The Brewery London City, it’s one of the best hotels near Chiswell Street London and means you are perfectly situated to explore the city to your heart’s content.
If you are visiting London with your family then you’ll be looking for activities to help make this trip a lifelong memory. From your room in one of the best luxury hotels for families at the Montcalm hotel you’ll be able to get around the city with kids, and see the absolute best that the city offers.
We are going to take a look at one of the best known icons of London, one that sparked the revival of Ferris Wheels in cities all over the world: the one and only, London Eye.
Here is everything you need to know before visiting!
The London Eye was first proposed in 1993 during a competition to design a new landmark for the city that commemorated the millennium. The design for the giant Ferris Wheel was submitted by Marks Barfield Architects, and although they never formally won the competition, they did end up winning the contract to construct London’s latest addition.
The giant wheel was constructed horizontally over the river then pulled into position and secured. It was finished just in time for the turn of the millennium on December 31st, when it was declared open by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
The Millenium Wheel did not accept its first actual customer until March the 9th due to construction concerns.
The original plan for the wheel was a temporary one- it was only intended to be in place for five years, although within a couple of years the popularity was plain for all to see.
The wheel was granted permanent status and in 2006 it changed its name to the London Eye and was fitted with a series of LED lights to improve the spectacle once the sun sets.
Now it remains as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, with millions of visitors every year.
- The Eye is a staggering 443 feet tall and offers views far and wide over the city.
- It was the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel until it was surpassed in 2006 by the Star of Nanchang in China- it is still said to be world’s tallest cantilevered wheel though.
- The diameter of the wheel is 120 metres and the 64 cables connected to the centre of the wheel act much like the spokes of a bike wheel.
- There are 32 capsules that can be ridden in, representing the 32 London Boroughs.
- The wheel moves so slowly (one rotation takes half an hour!) that it does not need to stop for people to board!
How to Get There
The nearest tube station is London Waterloo where you can connect to pretty much the whole city, and indeed the country beyond.
From your room at the Montcalm at the Brewery you’re best off jumping on the Circle Line at Barbican Station and riding until you reach Charing Cross.
From here you’ll be able to see the Eye in all its glory- all you have to do is cross the river and you’re there.
If you’re already out and about exploring the city by foot, then simply follow signs towards the Eye. Failing that you’ll be able to see it if you’re in the Westminster area- it’s just across the river from the Houses of Parliament.
Booking online before you go is most likely the best idea- there can often be long queues at the ticket booth, and you actually receive a 10% discount for booking online.
A standard ticket purchased online will set you back £32.50. You’ll have to join the queue like everyone else unless you buy a fast track ticket priced at £46.
With the fast track ticket you’ll get to skip the queues and ride pretty much straight away!
You can also buy a multi-attraction ticket that lets you combine your ride on the London Eye with another major attraction in the city.
This is where the savings are at their highest, and you can kill two birds with one stone.
One of the most popular tickets with first timers to the city, is the London Eye and river cruise ticket. You’ll get your ride on the Eye, then you can head to the dock at the foot of the wheel and climb aboard a 40 minute sightseeing cruise on the Thames- you can see why it’s popular, right?
There are a handful of VIP experiences you can purchase when buying your tickets for the Eye, so if you are planning a special occasion then check these out:
The Champagne Experience, £55pp- This will include a queue jump ticket and a glass of chilled Pommery Brut Champagne for your ride. Makes for a pretty nice start to the evening!
The Private Pod, £625 per pod- This one is quite self explanatory. You’ll have the pod all to yourself for the entire rotation. You can fit 25 people in a pod so spreading the cost can be a great way to celebrate a special occasion. This also includes a fast track ticket.
Or you can just be a baller and get the whole thing for yourself.
Cupid’s Pod, £500 per pod- This is a great one for Valentine’s day. Take your significant other for the ride of a lifetime in a totally private pod.
You’ll get a bottle of bubbly, some delicious truffles, queue jump and a personal London Eye Host!
Enjoy One of London’s True Icons
So there you have it; everything you need to know about the London Eye. It’s one of the city’s best visitor attractions, and on a clear day you can see the entirety of Greater London!
Include the London Eye in your day of exploration, and then head back to your gorgeous hotel for a sumptuous taste of the renowned Montcalm hotel afternoon tea– it’s the perfect way to end a day!