Back to rain here in London! Luckily, there was nothing but sunshine this past week while my sister was visiting. She and her friend are now off partying in Amsterdam, and I will be reuniting with them this weekend in Paris–giving me enough downtime to report to you with my latest Do’s and Don’ts!
I played tourist this weekend, as I usually do when entertaining guests. Today, I bring to you my thoughts on the London Eye. This was my third experience on the slow-motion ferris wheel, and (nope, third time is not a charm), it’s still a Don’t! I really try to avoid the Eye unless someone is really asking for it. I think it’s a waste of time given everything else this great city has to offer.
First, I could think of a better use of £30.00. Sure, they make the ride seem like a deal by throwing add-ons in to offset the cost, like bundling in the London Dungeon or Sea Life experiences (both previous Don’ts) for only £10.00 extra, but if you’ve read my thoughts before, they’re all a waste of time and money. The Fast Track option is another way they get you to up your online shopping cart. This puts you into a shorter line, but still not right onto the ride. I do think this is sometimes worth the extra £5-10, depending on the time of day or year. You should definitely buy any London attraction ticket online prior to your visit. This will save you money.
Beware, your pre-booked ticket, however, is only good for saving you money. Your selected time means absolutely nothing. You don’t have a booking to get on the London Eye, you have a booking to get in a very long online ticket collection line and then a very long line to get on the actual ride after that. It is horrible. Both likes are long, filled with loud children and confused tourists, and you’re surrounded by an overload of the color Coca-Cola red.
Once we collected our actual tickets and headed to the main, outdoor line, we were faced with a rude employee, which is just the worst. It really makes you feel like your £30 is completely unappreciated and that you are just being pulled in and churned out of an overrated tourist trap. This girl was on a power trip, and declined our entry because we had to get in the back of the queue. Once she realized there was no one behind us, she let us into the line, but with an attitude.
Once we navigated through the switchback line and the rude employees, we were finally ready, after about an hour, to hop on board the egg. I say hop because you literally have to run and jump onto the Eye. It doesn’t stop for you. I could never imagine anything like that being in line with the U.S safety standards. But, anyway, you jump onto this egg-shaped capsule that moves at a snail’s pace to show you every angle of the city.
The capsules itself are not impressive. They are overstuffed with visitors making it a race to the best spots or to the little screens that describe the buildings around you. They’re not worth looking at, anyway. Covered in greasy fingerprints, and not cleaned throughout the day, the dark, outdated screens are not worth the diseases probably brewing on them. Back when I took my firs London Eye ride, the capsules were cleaner, quieter, and not covered with tacky Coca-Cola decals as they are today.
The view is just okay. London doesn’t have the most impressive skyline in the world, so I would be just as happy checking it out from a rooftop bar with a drink in my hand. Now that is where I would prefer to spend £30!
In conclusion, if the London Eye is something you feel you need to do, go for it, but if you’re on the fence, check out the rest of the blog to find out about all the other activities actually worth your while. If you have to check it off your list, avoid a summertime ride when tourist season is at an all time high. For the Eye, aim to go in the mornings…after 2:00 that attraction and area becomes a zoo. Good luck!
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7PB