Sunday, 26 August 2012

The London Eye Review

Last weekend we went to London for a couple of days and we were lucky enough to be given two tickets to ride the EDF London Eye!

The London Eye is a giant ferris wheel on the south bank of the river Thames in London. Built to celebrate the new Millennium (and originally called the Millennium wheel) it was officially opened on the 31st December 1999 although due to technical faults it wasn't opened to the public until the 9th March 2000.

Since March 2000, the London Eye has become an iconic landmark and a symbol of Britain with over 3.5 million people visiting and riding the London Eye each year. It has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris by giving London a symbol and allowing people to climb over the city and look back down on it, as well as creating a focal point for New Year celebrations, with 10-minute displays taking place with fireworks launched from the wheel itself.

The London Eye has 32 passenger capsules, representing the 32 boroughs which make up London and are an entirely new design for an observational wheel. Instead of being under the wheel they turn within circular mounting rings fixed to the outside of the main rim. 

The result is a stunning 360 degree panoramic view from the top of the wheel, allowing you to see around 40km (25 miles) from the top and as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day. See Big Ben towering over the Houses of Parliament, follow St James Park as it sweeps down to Buckingham Palace where you can try and spot the flag flying to signal that the Queen is at home. 

Each capsule also has heating and cooling system and bench seating and following the upgrade of each capsule which was completed earlier this year to coincide with the Olympics, they each have Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 devices providing a more interactive way to take in the capital's best sights. 

Features include key information on landmarks that can be seen from the London Eye as well as a 3D view of each sight, further bringing it to life. Additionally, innovative 360 degree non-stop-24-hour filming has granted the London Eye and it's guests the first ever multi-dimensional views of the spectacular sights of the capital.

Each rotation takes about 30 minutes, meaning a capsule travels at a stately 26cm per second, or 0.9km (0.6 miles) per hour - twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting, allowing passengers to step on and off without the wheel having to stop (although it can if needed to allow disabled passengers on and off).

Your visit on the London Eye begins before you even get to your capsule, as included in your ticket price, there is now a new 4D Experience of a ground breaking 3D film with spectacular in-theatre effects including wind, bubbles and mist to add a breathtaking 4th dimension. A touching story of a little girl in London, whose views of famous London landmarks are obscured by jostling crowds and traffic When a seagull draws her attention to the London Eye and her father sees the opportunity to give his daughter a unique view of London... and through her London Eye flight she finally gets an amazing view of the city.  

This was the first time any of us had ever been on the London Eye, despite seeing it before, and everyone really enjoyed it. 

The kids kept running to look in all directions, trying to see what they could see and of course seeing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament was a huge hit and I thouroughly recommend it as a fantastic way to view London. 

The London Eye also have the ability to perform weddings or civil partnerships. What better way to celebrate your union in a private ceremony decorated with flowers. When you and your partner arrive, you will meet the representatives from Lambeth Register office in a private room for the pre-ceremony interview. Following the interview, you and up to 19 guests are escorted to your own private capsule to begin your hour experience which is two rotations of the London Eye. Your vows will be exchanged at the top of the wheel, 135 meters above London, surrounded by friends, family and breathtaking scenery - the perfect backdrop for photographs. On the descent the signing of the register will take place whilst the corks are popped and the party served chilled champagne. If you want you can enhance your package with additional food and champagne to enjoy during your second rotation and whilst having your wedding photographs taken.

Ticket prices vary but begin at £18.90 (£17.01 if bought in advance) for an adult standard ticket, £11.10 (£9.96 if bought in advance) for children aged 4-15 (children under 4 are free), £15 (£13.50 if bought in advance) for seniors and £60 (£48 if bought in advance) for a family ticket of four. You can also buy fast track tickets to ensure you don't have to queue to go on the Eye or maybe combine it with a river cruise or enhance your experience with one of the many experiences that the London Eye has to offer such as Champagne Experience or Day and Night Experience. For more information on ticket prices you can find them here.

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