There are some tourist trap experiences that you just have to do. It seems like every time I host a first time visitor to Los Angeles, their two must-do's are Hollywood Blvd and Venice Beach. It's useless to try to convince them that those two landmarks are really not the best of what So. Cal has to offer. It's a lesson that every visitor must learn for themselves.
The London Eye is a beautiful tourist trap. Certainly, it's better than Hollywood Blvd and Venice Beach combined, but it's still not something that would be in my top-ten London must-dos.
I feel like we experienced The London Eye the '"right way". We went early on the first morning of our trip, when the city was virtually unexplored. The best thing about The London Eye is the amazing views that it affords of the city. We lucked out and visited on a clear day with blue skies. It was ideal.
The tickets are pricy and not really a good value for the experience. Dan's parents arranged our tickets in advance and they did a smart thing by getting us Fast Track Tickets. The FT Tickets allowed us to skip a majority of the line and walk through a separate entrance. This was a huge time saver on a busy day. Judging by the queue, The London Eye is an attraction that every tourist hits!
Our ticket package also included a viewing guide.
Here's the thing about the Viewing Guide...it's more for a souvenier than it is for practical usage while on The London Eye. It's detailed, but it's also cumbersome when you pull it out and try to use it. The carriages of The London Eye are crowded and it's just not worth fiddling with a giant map. Also, the carriages are all equipped with computers that have the same information as the viewing guide. I felt like this was an extra that they tacked on to the upgraded ticket price, that really didn't add to the value.
What was the ticket price?
Just shy of thirty pounds per adult for the Fast Track Tickets. The tickets also included a 4-D Cinema experience. The term "Cinema Experience" is a debatable one. Like the viewing guide, this was an unnecessary extra thrown in to justify the expensive admission.
The film is a complete gimmick and super cheesy, showing a family visiting The London Eye. About a week after we visited The London Eye, we went to Blackpool and had another "4-D Cinema Experience" that was roughly the same film, but replaced with Blackpool landmarks. It led us to wonder how many other videos the company has made for tourist traps all over the UK.
Even though you paid for it as part of your ticket package, I highly recommend skipping the film. It's not worth your time.
Price aside, there are reasons that you should check out The London Eye. The views are magnificent and it will give you approximately thirty minutes of incredible photo opportunities. The London Eye itself is a marvel. I've never seen anything quite like it and it's hard to imagine that it was originally supposed to be a temporary structure. It's beautiful.
Check out the official attraction website for updated visitors information.