Is the London Eye worth it?

London is such a huge and busy place, and it can be hard for visitors to choose what they want to see in the short time they usually have. So if you have only a few days to see London, is the London Eye worth it? 

The centre of everything

To start things off, when you visit a popular place in London, you are also committing to spending time in that area, as moving around can be time-consuming and expensive. However, the central location is one of the best things about the London Eye

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It is about a 6-minute walk from Waterloo Station, one of the most important train stations in the country. You can connect to it from basically anywhere, and it is a hectic but fun place. Some 41 million passengers came through the station in 2021, and pre-covid, there were 81 million per year. 

Once you are out of the station, you will see the River Thames and find yourself in the middle of what is known as the South Bank. This is one of my favourite parts of London, and whenever I meet someone to explore the city, I always suggest we start here. There is a beautiful riverside walkway with trees and areas to sit, and it is a fantastic way to see the calmer side of London living. So, if you can wander here on a Sunday morning, you might see a quieter and different side to London that is quite appealing. You also have Westminster Palace with Big Ben, just a few hundred metres across Westminster Bridge. So, it is a place that is truly packed with some of the very best that London has to offer.

Views from the top

With all that being said, how much there is to see, what amazing history and riverine beauty you can enjoy – it seems like a great idea to get above it all and see the heart of London from the air. The London Eye gives you just that opportunity. Thirty-two sealed and air-conditioned pods rotate around the 120-metre-wide wheel, taking you slowly up into the sky for a view of London that most people never get. 

© iStock/SHansche

The experience lasts around 30 minutes, although you have to share the pod with up to 25 people. The pods are quite large, and there is enough space. It is not exactly roomy with a lot of people in it, but there is still the chance to enjoy the views and not feel crowded. You can get a regular ticket for around €34, while a private pod with a romantic experience and champagne will be about €520.

Alternative viewing plans?

If the queue is too long or you are terrified of heights and do not want to hang in the air in a glass bubble, you could also check out the viewing platform at The Shard. It is around €30 to go up to the indoor 68th and 69th floors, where panoramic windows show you London from 244 metres up in the sky or see the open-air Skydeck platform on the 72nd floor. It is the tallest building in the UK, and you can see up to 60 km away on a clear and bright day.  

© iStock/valdisskudre

Whether you spend your time exploring the South Bank and the London Eye or see the sights from The Shard, you will not regret it. Is the London Eye worth it? Definitely, and what is more, you get to see London at its best - full of history, culture, modern architecture and river walkways. 

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