The London Eye

LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s a bit like London’s version of the Eiffel Tower–a towering landmark that the city’s locals initially greeted with skepticism, relying on some extraordinary engineering, and becoming a iconic fixture of the city’s skyline. And both offer unparalleled views of their cities.

London Eye at Dusk with Spokes 169-2154532671
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Filed Under: England
Topics: London UK

The London Eye (or Millennium Wheel)1 is a bit like England’s version of the Eiffel Tower–a towering landmark that the city’s locals initially greeted with skepticism, showcasing some extraordinary engineering, and eventually becoming a iconic fixture of the city’s skyline. And both offer unparalleled views of their cities.

It’s hard to describe the London Eye to someone who’s never seen it without it sounding kitschy. It basically looks like a giant bicycle wheel suspended vertically over the Thames. While it is a ferris wheel, it’s nothing like the ones you rode as a kid. For one thing, it’s enormous—standing 443 feet (135 meters) tall with a diameter of 394 feet (120 meters). The cars—the official website describes them as “passenger capsules”—hold 32 people, weigh 10 tonnes each, and are tall and roomy enough to walk around in. They’re air-conditioned and glass enclosed on all sides. And the Eye rotates very slowly, so you hardly know you’re moving.

The Eye is impressive enough on sheer size alone, but the truly remarkable feature is its view of London. You’d be hard pressed to get a better one. Situated on the banks of the Thames next to Westminster Bridge, a ride on the Eye offers a birds-eye view of London’s most famous landmarks—the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and more. The views are equally impressive both day and night (the Eye stays open until 9:30pm during the longest evenings of summer.)

If you find yourself in London, it’s definitely worth the price of a ticket and time in the queue to enjoy this modern marvel. I particularly recommend trying to go in the early evening as London’s city lights come on.

London Eye at Dusk with Spokes 169-2154532671
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London Eye at dusk
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London Eye at Dusk with Buildings 169-2151302653
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View of London at night
The view from the top on a drizzly night. [license topic=”london eye”]
London Millenium Wheel Silhouette
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Night panorama of London Eye and Aquarium
View from Westminster Bridge. [license topic=”london eye”]
London Eye at Dusk with Supports 169-2157072682
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Millenium Wheel (London Eye) at night
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London Eye (Millenium Wheel) at night
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  1. If one is being pedantic, the technical name changes with the current sponsorship deal. It started life as the British Airways London Eye, then became the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, and is now the EDF Energy London Eye. 

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David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »