The Eye is one of the largest two cantilevered structures in the world and an utterly beautiful piece of architecture: admire the perfect white steel structures in the day but be sure to go back to see the Eye from distance after dark as the wheel and carriages are beautifully lit in vivid colours, making it a dazzling addition to the London skyline at night.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
It never occurred to us to take our 2 year old daughter on the London Eye because we’d both had the experience a couple of times before she came along. We didn’t think a 2 year old would be interested in an experience which could be quite ponderous. As it was, one 60th birthday party later and we found ourselves there with 2 year old and 2 4year olds on a Saturday! In fact, the kids were delighted to be on the Eye and found lots of things to look at, especially the tablet computers currently installed in each pod. All in all, it was a very nice thing to do but I might wait until she’s in her teens before spending all that money to go again.
1. Don’t go to the London Eye on a Saturday.
2. If you go on a Saturday pay the extra for the fast track tickets otherwise your entire experience will be marred by 1 hour spent queuing with irate toddlers.
3. Bring snacks.
Address: The London Eye ticket office, County Hall, 50 Broadway, Westminster, London, SW1H 0RG.
Playground: Really fun and adventurous playground next to the Eye for older kids (5/6+) but nothing for the little ones. Wander along the Southbank though and they will be kept entertained with the street performers, merry-go-rounds and general ambience of all things Southbank. No water play at the Eye, but there is a fabulous water sculpture on the upper terrace outside the Royal Festival Hall which is great for kids and grown ups alike – bring towels!
Cafe: There’s an expensive kiosk with tables and chairs directly in front of the Eye and there are drinks and snacks available in the queue on the way in. If you’re after something more substantial you’d be better off heading east on the Southbank to the fab Wagamamas, Iguanas and further on to Yo Sushi and Giraffe next to the Royal Festival Hall.
Toilets: Yes, clean, free toilets with baby change are available in County Hall. Big queues at busy times so you need to plan ahead to make sure you don’t get caught short.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes to both, though the buggy has to be collapsible to go with you on the trip. They have a loose definition of collapsible though as they were happy to have our Bugaboo on in two parts, even though it’s far bigger like that than when fully erect. Wheelchair users are given good priority and the whole Eye stops for wheelchair users to get on and off.
Parking: Best to avoid midweek as it’s in the congestion charging zone and parking is at premium cost, but there are 3 car parks within walking distance. If you’re going on a Sunday, then you can generally find a parking spot on Waterloo Bridge itself. Worth it for the novelty factor of parking your car on such an iconic bridge!
Train: Waterloo (over- and underground) but Charing Cross is only a 15-minute walk across Hungerford Bridge.
Tube: Waterloo or Westminster.
Phone: Bookings: 0871 781 3000, Operational Info (to find out what is happening on the day of your trip): 0800 093 0123.
Email: Contact via the website or [email protected].
Opening hours: Trips on the Eye start from 10am though you can access the ticket office from 9.30am. Closing times vary over the course of the year. Generally, the tours stop at 8:30pm in the Winter and 9:30pm in the Summer though there are late nights on Fridays in the high summer.
The London Eye is a major London experience and a must do for domestic and international tourists alike. It was designed by a husband and wife partnership as a major (and temporary) installation for the Millenium. 15 years later and the Eye is going from strength to strength.
Originally sponsored by British Airways, the sponsorship mantle has now moved onto Coca Cola (much to many people’s chagrin). But little has changed with the involvement of Coca Cola and the basic experience remains the same.
Review by Sadie Lad.