In a massive and entertaining destination like London, there’s no shortage of things to do for visitors. While each visitor is sure to have his or her own priorities, finding somewhere that offers spectacular views across the city is one of the most common. London has several good options for city views, including the Shard of London. However, the one that most people choose is the London Eye, an observation wheel by the Thames.
When visiting the London Eye, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing London from its second highest public viewing point. To get the most out of your visit to this essential attraction, it pays to know the ins and outs of visiting, from how to buy tickets to the London Eye to when it’s open and what kinds of experiences it offers. For all that and more, read this guide and you’ll be ready to go.
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to the London Eye: Unless you like spending your vacation waiting in long lines, we highly recommended you purchase your admission ticket to the London Eye in advance here.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to the London Eye
Part of the reason why the London Eye is the most visited paid tourist attraction in London is that it allows visitors to choose what kind of experience they want. With so many possible experiences, there are several options for getting tickets. This can make working out how and where to buy tickets for the London Eye a little challenging, so allow us to show you the different ways to get tickets based on the assortment of options out there.
1. Line Up in Person (Not Recommended)
Only people who enjoy standing in lines and paying more than necessary should leave buying tickets to the London Eye until they arrive. The London Eye is one of the city’s busiest tourist attractions, so not only is there bound to be a line at the door for last-minute tickets, you may find yourself waiting a while for the next available entry slot, further wasting your time. On top of that, you also miss out on the 20% discount available for online bookings.
2. Book Online (Recommended)
The far smarter approach is to book tickets to the London Eye online. By booking in advance, you not only get the discounted price and the chance to choose your entry slot, you also have the peace of mind that all you have to do on the day is show up. All the tickets available online will help you avoid the line at the ticket desk, but the fastest way in is through the priority line available exclusively with skip-the-line tickets for the London Eye.
Tickets are available through the official website for the London Eye. While these tickets allow you to change the time of your visit, they are nonrefundable. That is why we recommend booking your tickets through this link, which allows you to buy both Standard and Fast Track tickets for essentially the same price, with the added benefit of free cancellation for a full refund up to 24 hours before your booking.
3. Book a Ticket Bundle
Visitors looking to do more sightseeing during their time in London and wishing to save money should look at the various ticket bundles available. These bundles combine entry to the London Eye with other popular attractions, offering you savings on the cost of buying tickets to each attraction individually.
There are all sorts of ticket bundles, but by far the most common is this bundle that offers Sea Life London tickets on top of entry to the London Eye. Also great value is this bundle that adds a ticket to Madame Tussauds to the previous bundle, getting you into these three attractions for a competitive price. These bundles and more are available for purchase through the official website, but again these links come with free cancellation and cost practically the same.
Useful Information for Visiting the London Eye
What’s the Best Time to Visit the London Eye?
Working out the best time to enjoy the views from the London Eye involves considering a few factors. Not only do you have to consider how busy the attraction is going to be, you’ll also want to take into account what the view is going to be like from your pod.
The busiest times of year to go to the London Eye are in summer and during school holidays, so be sure to book well in advance if that’s when your trip is. As for when to go during the day, try to get there either first thing in the morning or a little before closing time as crowds tend to peak in the middle of the day.
When it comes to getting the best views, weather and daylight can make a big difference. Wet weather and shorter days make autumn and winter a mediocre time for clear views, while summer typically offers the best sightseeing conditions. The best time, regardless of season, is before and after sunset when the light is just right.
London Eye Hours of Operation
Opening hours for the London Eye are from 11:00 to 18:00. The wheel is open every day of the week and is only closed December 25 and for a period each January when maintenance occurs.
How to Get to the London Eye
Thanks to the extensive network of public transportation that connects London, you won’t have any trouble getting to the London Eye. However, the observation wheel enjoys a conveniently central location close to some other major tourist attractions including Westminster Abbey, so you may even be able to walk there.
Probably the easiest options for getting to the London Eye are the London Underground or the train. For the tube, you have several stations to choose from, but the Waterloo station on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern, and Waterloo lines is the closest. As for coming in by train, Waterloo Station is also right nearby.
If you choose to come by bus, the 211, 77, and 381 bus lines all stop on York Road outside Waterloo Station. Another option is to travel by boat along the Thames. For that option, you can take the RB1 service with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers to the London Eye Waterloo Pier.
How Do London Eye Tickets Work?
For what seems like such a straightforward tourist attraction, there’s actually a bit of complexity surrounding the London Eye and its tickets. Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that there are a few different options for London Eye tickets based on what kind of experience you’re after and how quickly you want to start your visit.
There are three types of tickets to the London Eye. One is the Standard ticket, which provides entry at a chosen time slot, while the other two, the Fast Track and Flexi Fast Track tickets, are both skip-the-line London Eye tickets. With these tickets, you’re able to skip past the regular lines, with the only difference being that the Fast Track has a scheduled entry time and the Flexi Fast Track lets you visit at any time during the day of your booking.
The other types of tickets available relate to special experiences you may wish to have. The Champagne Experience comes with a glass of champagne included in the ticket, while the Pub Pod experience lets you ride in a special pub-themed pod and comes with two drinks. These experiences include Fast Track entry through the priority line.
When booking most tickets, you’ll need to choose a day and entry time from the 15-minute time slots. Should you choose the wrong time, it’s possible to reschedule your visit for free through the website. On the day of your visit, you’ll need to present the tickets emailed to you, either printed out or on your smartphone.
How Much Do Tickets for the London Eye Cost?
There are three factors that will decide how much your London Eye tickets cost. One is whether you book online or wait until you get there, as it is possible to get up to 20% off when booking online. The next factor is which kind of ticket to the London Eye you book. Finally, prices are influenced by demand and may go up on particularly busy days.
Prices for standard London Eye tickets begin at £29.50 for adults when booked online and £26 for children aged 3 to 15. Fast Track tickets are priced online from £39.50 for adults and £26 for children, and Flexi Fast Track tickets cost £50 for adults and £43.50 for children. Family tickets are also sometimes available; these cost £26 per adult and child, and cover a minimum of one adult and two children. Children under three enter free but still require a valid ticket.
Best Hotels for the London Eye
When deciding where to stay in London for your visit, it can be helpful to use an attraction you’re interested in as a focus to guide your search. In that regard, the London Eye is a smart pick, as it’s in a super-central location, close to other attractions and public transport connections. Though you shouldn’t have any trouble finding places to stay near the London Eye, here are a few recommendations to start you off.
Luxury is sure to be your first thought as you arrive at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall right next to the London Eye. Rooms and suites at this acclaimed five-star hotel are both huge and tremendously chic, and offer stunning river views. Guests will also enjoy its long list of amenities, including a modern gym, indoor swimming pool, and steakhouse.
For comfort at a reasonable price, it’s hard to pass up a stay at The Sanctuary House Hotel. With this three-star hotel near Westminster Abbey, you get a superb location for sightseeing and comfortable rooms set inside a grand Victorian hotel full of the usual basic amenities. You can find more excellent boutique and midrange options in our Airbnb guide to London.
There aren’t too many hostels in central London, so your nearest good option is the Astor Museum Hostel just across the road from the British Museum. Helpful staff and a great location are the main selling points of this hostel offering both dorms and private rooms. You can find other great hostels in our London hostel guide.
Security Process at the London Eye
Knowing the rules and security process for going on the London Eye can help you avoid problems when you visit. All guests must go through an airport-style security check that includes having their belongings checked and potentially going through a metal detector or security arch.
Items prohibited on the London Eye include weapons, sharp objects, fireworks, glass bottles, alcohol, drugs, and drones. Luggage and large bags are also not permitted. As there is no luggage storage available for visitors, it’s important you stow your bags before you arrive.
Visiting the London Eye With a Disability
The London Eye has put in place a variety of measures to assist visitors with disabilities. These measures are in addition to providing free entry for wheelchair users and the carers of visitors with disabilities.
Pods in the London Eye fit a maximum of two wheelchairs each, while the wheel can only accommodate eight at any one time. Wheelchairs are available for hire. Mobility scooters can also fit in the pods.
T-Loop facilities are installed in the ticket hall of the London Eye to assist visitors with hearing impairments. Assistance dogs are permitted on the London Eye.
FAQ – Facts About the London Eye
What Is the London Eye?
The London Eye is a cantilevered observation wheel with views of the city.
When Was the London Eye Built?
Construction on the London Eye finished on December 31, 1999.
How Old Is the London Eye?
The London Eye opened to the public on March 9, 2000, making it over 20 years old.
Who Built the London Eye?
The Tussauds Group, British Airways, and Marks Barfield Architects built the London Eye. It was designed by Julia Barfield and David Marks of Marks Barfield Architects.
Why Was the London Eye Built?
It was originally built as a temporary attraction but was quickly given permanent status.
How Tall Is the London Eye?
The London Eye is 135 meters (443 feet) high, making it the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in Europe and the second highest public viewing point in London.
Where Is the London Eye Located?
The London Eye is located in Waterloo on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England.
Now that you have all this information, you should have a great time experiencing the views from the London Eye. Just remember that one of the best things you can do is get your tickets to the London Eye sorted in advance so that you don’t miss out on making your visit to this unmissable attraction as easy as possible.