Thinking of riding the London Eye, one of the city’s most iconic tourist attractions, but reluctant to pay full price for the pleasure? Here’s our top tips for getting your hands on cheap London Eye tickets.
What is the London Eye?
The London Eye (also known at the Millennium Wheel) opened to the public on March 9, 2000. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, with the nearest tube station being Waterloo. The Eye once offered the highest public viewing point in London, before it was replaced by The Shard.
The 443 foot wheel (the fourth largest of its kind in the world) was initially intended to be a temporary, five-year structure. But instead, it was given permanent status in 2002. More than 3.5 million people visit it each year. That makes it the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK. Looking for amazing free views of London from up high? Check out our dedicated guide.
How does the London Eye experience work?
A standard rotation around the Eye takes 30 minutes and 800 people can be transported by the wheel in one go. The structure is made up of 32 capsules holding up to 25 people each. The Eye offers special packages for booking out a whole capsule, complete with champagne. But unsurprisingly it’s pretty pricey. The wheel goes slowly enough that you can walk straight on without it stopping. Naturally, staff can manually stop the wheel for people with disabilities or difficulty moving.
You’re allowed to take photos from inside the pod—and weather permitting you’ll get some great views. The Palace of Westminster (and Big Ben up in the tower) are among the more famous spots in clear view. On a clear day you’ll be able to see as far as Windsor (where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married in 2018).
What are the London Eye opening times and when is the best time to ride it?
The London Eye opening times vary throughout the year. Typically the attraction opens at 10 am and closes 6-8.30 pm.
There’s no ‘best’ time to ride the London Eye. That said picking a clear, sunny day will give you better views and photo opportunities. Sadly in London that’s easier said than done.
How much does the London Eye cost?
Usually, a standard advance ticket on the London Eye costs £27.50. On the day it’s £31.00, so it pays to book ahead. If you want to skip the queue you can pay £37.50 in advance and £41.00 on the day. You’ll often see slightly cheaper deals on reputable third party vendors like Klook, so it’s well worth checking their prices too before you buy. Klook also offers 10% of your total spend back in credits to use on future tickets. You can spend these pretty much anywhere, making it a good option if you’re a regular tourist.
There are also multi-attraction offers available. These allow you to combine your ticket with entry to another site, for example Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and Shrek’s Adventure, as well as a Thames River Cruise. All tickets include entry to the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience.
How can I get cheap tickets for the London Eye?
1. Two-for-one-tickets with the Days Out Guide
The Days Out Guide (in association with National Rail) is offering two-for-one tickets for people who travel to the attraction by train. This offer is valid for adult tickets costing £30.00. Make sure you keep hold of your ticket to prove you travelled to the attraction by train. Your ticket may show ‘London Terminals’ or the train station nearest to the attraction itself. Note that tickets which have a destination that is too far from the London Eye may be denied entry by staff members.
Editor’s note: If your mind immediately jumps to find loopholes in the system, we’ve done the maths. Theoretically, you could save around £17.00 by buying two £3.70 digital tickets from Clapham Junction to Waterloo station whether you need them or not. That said, staff have the right to revoke your tickets if they suspect foul play. So you might be better off just buying two tickets—being kicked out after a long queue isn’t a good look.
How to claim this offer: Visit the Days Out Guide website
2. Book in a group on the London Eye website
If you’re planning to ride the wheel in a group, then check out the deals available on the London Eye website. Currently, groups of 10+ are able to save 21% on tickets (adult tickets are £22.10 in advance and £28.00 on the day when you choose this offer).
Group discounts also apply to combined London Eye and Thames River Cruise tickets, with an adult saving as much as 20%.
How to claim this offer: Visit the London Eye group booking web page
3. Check out the London Explorer Pass for multiple attractions in one
If you’re planning on visiting multiple London tourist attractions, then it might make sense to buy a London Explorer Pass. These passes offer entry to three attractions for £64.00 for an adult and £52.00 for a child, or five attractions for £94.00 for an adult and £74.00 for a child.
The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Dungeons are among the attractions included in the pass. There’s also a range of exclusive deals and offers at restaurants, tours and entertainment options around the city. According to their own marketing materials, customers are estimated to save 35% by using the pass, which is valid for 30 days.
How to claim this offer: Visit the London Explorer Pass website for details
4. A carer can ride the Eye with you for free
The London Eye doesn’t currently offer cheaper tickets for people with disabilities. But it does offer free tickets for carers (documentation is required).
How to claim this offer: Visit the London Eye website
What is the London Eye River Cruise experience?
If you want, you can combine your London Eye ticket with a seat on the London Eye River Cruise. This is a 40-minute circular sightseeing tour which departs from the London Eye pier. The route features some iconic London landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
A combined London Eye and River Cruise ticket will set you back £34.50 in advance and £45.00 on the day.
What is the London Eye 4D Cinema Experience?
The London Eye 4D Cinema Experience is located inside the London Eye ticket office. It’s a four minute-long 4D film that provides an unusual look at London using aerial photography. It’s recommended to watch the film before experiencing the wheel.
Please note that the London Eye is temporarily closed from March 20 until further notice as a precautionary measure due to COVID-19.