Although London has its fair share of free and yet world-class activities —looking at you, British Museum— making it a lot more affordable to visit as a tourist than other leading capitals, there also are a few noteworthy attractions that come with a somewhat hefty price tag. In a city where so many goods things come for free —like most things in life, right?— the question begs to be asked: is splurging actually worth it?
As far as the view from the London Eye is concerned, I would say it is entirely worth it. Case in point below.
The view from the London Eye
This is the Royal Horseguard 5* hotel, a listed Victorian building presiding over the River Thames and once home to the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6); it was also taken over by the Ministry of Defence during both world wars. The building as such is referred to as Whitehall Court and was built in the mid-1880s.
Pictured here are Embankment station and the Golden Jubilee pedestrian bridges, which span the Thames between Charing Cross and the Southbank and were inaugurated in 2002 in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Commuters on this bridge get a magnificent view of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, just a few hundred metres west.
River Thames in all its glory. Did you know that there is a 7-metre difference between low and high tide at London Bridge? There are also 119 species of fish recorded living in the Thames. Oh, and two-thirds of London’s drinking water comes from the Thames.
Looking further east as majestic St. Pauls Cathedral enters the picture. It occupies a significant place in the British identity, as this is where Lady Diana and Prince Charles got married in 1981 and also where services were held for the funerals of the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher.
The Cathedral was designed by famed Sir Christopher Wren who is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history; as such, he is also responsible for numerous London landmarks including the Royal Observatory, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. St Paul Cathedral, however, is regarded as his ultimate masterpiece.
Looking down at County Hall building, which now houses the London Aquarium and London Dungeon, as well as the London Eye 4D cinema and visitor centre.
A view of the eastern portion of London including iconic buildings like the Cheesegrater (122 Leadenhall Street) and the Walkie-Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street. Remember the building that melted cars as it was being built? That’s the one).
London Eye – did you know?
- The London Eye 135 meters tall, which allows its passengers to admire the city about 40 kilometres away. It is even said that Windsor Castle is visible in the distance on clear, sunny days.
- The wheel has a total of 32 sealed ovoidal passenger capsules —one for each of London’s 32 boroughs— and takes around 30 minutes to complete a full rotation, travelling at a relaxed pace of 26 centimetres per second. The wheel doesn’t stop for passengers to step in and out. Oddly enough, the pods are numbered 1 – 33; for superstitious reasons, number 13 has been left out.
- The London Eye is not technically a Ferris wheel because unlike them, it is only supported on one side. As such, it should be called a cantilevered observation wheel.
- Tickets for the London Eye are a bit costly, and queue time can be fairly long. I recommend getting the VIP tickets and fully enjoying the experience!