London’s skyline just wouldn’t be the same without the London Eye. It may be a new addition to the long list of London landmarks, but since its opening in 2000, the London Eye observation wheel has become the most popular paid attraction in the UK, with millions visiting each year.

What’s in this guide? 

Getting to the London Eye

To get to the London Eye, we’d suggest taking advantage of London’s extensive public transport network.

By underground train (tube), plenty of stations can be found within walking distance of the London Eye. The closest is Waterloo on the Hammersmith & City (pink) and Jubilee (grey) lines. Other nearby stations include Embankment – Circle (yellow) and District (green) lines, Charing Cross – Bakerloo (brown) and Northern (black) lines, and Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee lines).

If you’re visiting London just for the day, you can get a train to Waterloo train station, which is a few minutes' walk from the London Eye. Or, the main buses that will take you to the London Eye include the 211, 77 and 381. Of course, sightseeing buses will also pass this landmark.

What can you see from the London Eye?

On a clear day, London Eye views stretch as far as 40 kilometres. That means you could even see Windsor Castle if you’re lucky with the weather. It’s safe to say that during your 30-minute slot, you’ll have plenty to look out for.

The London Eye observation wheel provides outstanding views of the Thames, which runs through the city. But what can be seen beyond the banks of the river?

big ben and houses of parliament


Measuring 96 metres, Big Ben is among London’s most beloved buildings part of the Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament. Next to these two landmarks is Westminster Abbey, the location of coronations and royal weddings, and the resting place of 17 monarchs. Set a little further back from the Thames, you’ll see the iconic Buckingham Palace, along with the surrounding royal parks, including Hyde Park.

City of London

In the City of London, you can see St Paul’s Cathedral, with its elaborate dome rising above the surrounding buildings. Near St Paul’s is the Tower of London, famous for housing the Crown Jewels and the dark history of its prison. This is located next to Tower Bridge, another excellent vantage point.


South of the river, another London Eye view is The Shard. One of the tallest buildings in Europe, this glass skyscraper is a real focal point in the London skyline. Among the 96 floors is London’s highest viewpoint, along with various bars and restaurants, which include:

  • TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant
  • Aqua Shard
  • Oblix
  • Sky Lounge

London Eye history and facts

The London Eye was built to commemorate the new millennium, giving its proper name, the Millennium Wheel.

The London Eye is a nickname. In 1993, a competition was held to find a landmark fit for the occasion, and two architects from Marks Barfield Architects put forward the concept of an observation wheel. Although they weren’t officially announced as winners, their plan was chosen.

The build began in 1998, with components put together horizontally, then hoisted into position. Although completed a year later, it wasn’t until 2000 that the wheel took onboard its first passenger. It was the tallest wheel globally, measuring 135 metres, but was overtaken in 2006 by the Star of Nanchang in China.

Although it was only meant to be open for five years, the London Eye was a popular attraction that became a permanent landmark.

Lighting the London Eye

If you watch London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display, you’ll notice that the London Eye can be used to create impressive light shows. This was made possible in 2006 when LED lighting was added to the wheel. This was mainly used to make the landmark more visible at night, but it’s proved a hit in creating various light shows.

London Eye capsules

There are 32 capsules on the wheel, each representing a London borough. The capsules are numbered, but the unlucky number 13 has been left out due to superstition. Each capsule can carry 25 people – that’s 15,000 passengers each day! In 2013, one carriage was renamed the Coronation Capsule to mark the queen’s 60th coronation anniversary.

Changing the name

You may have noticed that the London Eye has changed names over the years. This change is based on the current London Eye sponsor. For example, today’s sponsors are, meaning its official name is the London Eye. Still, it’s previously been sponsored by Coca-Cola and British Airways.

tables outside restaurant in london

Restaurants, bars and shops near the London Eye

When you’ve enjoyed all the London Eye offers, how about visiting some landmarks you’ve seen from above? You can reach plenty on foot, including these landmarks within a 20-minute walk:

A river cruise is also a popular tourist activity. If you purchase a London Eye and River Cruise ticket, you can enjoy a rotation on the Ferris wheel and a 40-minute journey along the Thames. The London Eye river cruise allows you to see even more of the city, with expert commentary so you can learn more about its history.

After taking in the 360 views of the capital’s skyline, you might want to take a quick break from sightseeing. Not to worry, you can find a host of restaurants, bars and shops near the London Eye.


Fancy a quick bite to mull over your London Eye experience? Here are some great restaurants to add to your list.

Southbank Centre Food Market – if you’re visiting the London Eye on the weekend, make sure you take a stroll along the Thames to the Southbank Centre Food Market. Here, you can try out many dishes from street food vendors, from juicy burgers to fresh pasta and authentic Indian curries.

Skylon – a 4-minute walk from the London Eye, Skylon is also located at the Southbank Centre. If you’re keen on seeing more breathtaking views of the Thames, this is the restaurant for you. Alongside the scenery, you’ll enjoy a menu that celebrates British cuisine with a modern twist.

Okan – for something slightly different, check out the Okan Japanese restaurant. Bringing authentic cuisine from the city of Osaka, essential dishes include the spicy miso udon pot and the omu yakisoba. What’s more, they have a 0% waste policy!


Set on Southbank, there are plenty of bars near the London Eye, so you really are spoilt for choice. To help narrow down the options, here are our top picks of bars that are all within walking distance.

Gordon’s Wine Bar – take a short walk across Westminster Bridge and have a drink in London’s oldest wine bar. Established in 1890, Gordon’s Wine Bar is set in a historic cellar with traditional interiors that only adds to the experience. Choose from an extensive wine list and a specials board that’s constantly changing.

OXO Tower Bar – set in the iconic OXO Tower, this bar serves all the classic cocktails you know and love. Complete with a terrace overlooking the Thames, if you’re lucky with the weather, you can bask in the sunshine too!

Lyaness – less than a 15-minute walk from the London Eye, this bar was established by Ryan Chetiyawardana, who’s earned the title of The World’s Most Awarded Bartender! You’re in safe hands here, where you can enjoy experimental cocktails you won’t find anywhere else.


After visiting the London Eye, you’ll find plenty of gift shops where you can get your hands on those all-important souvenirs. Not just a great way of remembering your trip, you can also find perfect presents for loved ones.

If you’re looking for more than souvenirs, Gabriel’s Wharf is just a short walk away. Here, you’ll find a cluster of independents, where you can browse clothes, jewellery and artwork. And if you’re hungry, you can find plenty of restaurants here too.

Opening times and ticket prices

The London Eye operates from 11:00 to 18:00 year-round. No matter when you’re heading to London, you’ll be able to visit the landmark.

Here’s a breakdown of London Eye’s standard ticket prices:



London Eye tickets



Children (3 to 15)


Under 3s



If you buy your ticket in advance, you can save up to 20%. But regardless of savings, we’d always recommend buying tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

Unfortunately, buying a standard ticket doesn’t mean you won’t have to queue to get into your capsule. In fact, during peak times, such as the summer holidays and on weekends, you might spend a fair amount of time waiting. So, if you’re short on time, we’d recommend going for a Fast-Track ticket:



London Eye Fast-Track tickets



Children (3 to 15)


Under 3s



*Prices correct as of February 2022

Taking the train to London?

You can easily reach London by train from within the UK, as well as other major European cities, thanks to the many high-speed rail connections available.

If you're already in the UK and heading into London, you can get from Edinburgh to London in 4h, from Manchester to London in 2h 3m, from Glasgow to London in 4h 28m and from Liverpool to London in m. Some of the most popular international routes include Paris to London (2h 17m), Brussels to London (2h 1m) and Amsterdam to London (4h 42m).

Need more information about travelling to London by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to London.