We have been disappointed plenty of times in our travels. We have held high expectations for different attractions, including lots that appear on many people’s bucket lists, and for one reason or another have felt let down, ripped off, or just didn’t enjoy them.
We have been practically trampled in the Vatican Museums by people who are only there to get to the Sistine Chapel. We were somewhat underwhelmed by the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We have had well documented issues with the British Museum in London (https://impsandramblers.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/accepting-failure/) but there is only one attraction we have visited that we continually tell friends and family to avoid.
The current price for the London Eye is £39.95 for age 16+ and £35.95 for ages 3-15. When we visited, we did so with two adults and a six year old boy. By today’s cost, that totals £115.85! In a few months, when our twins turn three that cost would be £187.75. As a point of reference, we recently flew round trip to Barcelona from London, with five seats on Ryanair for £200.00.
Once you board you will realize that you and your family will be trapped in a small glass pod for an advertised time of 30 minutes with up to 25 complete strangers. These people might be great folks, or you might randomly end up with the group that filmed a music video in a pod last year with no regard for the other riders. In our case, we were trapped with inconsiderate people that pressed right up against the glass and had to be asked many times to make a little room so our six year old could see. It is like a game of tourist Russian Roulette!
The View…Or Lack Thereof
As an example, if I show you a photo of Paris from the Eiffel Tower, most people would be able to identify the city by the skyline. In contract to London, Haussman’s revolutionary design for Paris make even the layout of the city a work of art. While London has some interesting architecture, it is hardly an iconic skyline, particularly from the view point of the London Eye. Parliament is interesting look at from above, but the remainder is predominantly poorly laid out, unidentifiable sprawl. Apart from Parliament, the London Eye is the biggest icon on London’s skyline, but you obviously don’t see that during your ride. (And honestly, it is a bit of an eyesore up close.)
By the nature of the design of the wheel, you’re view is obstructed for 15 minutes on either side. It is not like climbing the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building where you can just walk around to the other side and get a different view if what you are looking at doesn’t interest you.
When we went, I would say it was a typical British day weather wise, it was cloudy with occasional sunny breaks, and that was in July. Perhaps, we would have enjoyed it more if the weather was sunny and beautiful, but I doubt it. If you are buying tickets in advance, which is absolutely necessary during tourist season, the weather in Britain is a craps shoot. Perhaps they could offer a poor weather day rebate, to make it a little more palatable, but alas, if it is foggy and you can only see a few meters, tough luck.
If you are travelling to more destinations in Europe and you want to climb something high and get city views, you have much better options in Paris, like Sacre Couer, the Eiffel Tower, or the Arc de Triomphe, the Reichstag in Berlin, or Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. If you want a great city view in London, try the Sky Garden (skygarden.london). It is free with a reservation and offers a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience, along with a better view in my opinion.
If you want to express some love for the London Eye or share the worst attraction you have visited, I look forward to reading your comments below.
Happy and Safe Travels!