Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Review Of Londons Attractions The Big Eye and River Thames

view from beneath the london eye ferris wheel
The London Eye By Raintree Annie

Have you ever visited Londons' Big Eye? I am a country girl at heart but my granddad was born in London, United Kingdom within the sound of the Bow Bells.

So I am a quarter Cockney and have a bond with London, UK's capital city. 

I love to visit London when I can which tends to be only once or twice a year at most. When we do go it is always lovely to take a walk by the Embankment which is my favourite part of London and one of the amazing attractions there is Londons Big Eye and the River Thames Embankment area. 

The last time We visited The London Eye it was a cold crisp winter's day yet there was a huge number of people there to see and experience this wonderful attraction.


So what Is The London Eye?

The London Eye is essentially a large Ferris wheel with a difference. It has acquired many names along its relatively short history. These include:

The London Eye

The Merlin Entertainments

London Eye

London's Big Eye

The Eye

London's Eye

The Big Eye

Millennium Wheel

The London Eye - A Temporary Structure?

The London Eye was finished in the year 2000 and was only supposed to be a temporary structure to celebrate the Millennium. 

It was originally called "The Millennium Wheel". It was designed as a Ferris wheel in order to represent the turning of a new Millennium. 

It is massive, standing at 442 feet tall and designed by Architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, of Marks Barfield. It opened to the public in March 2000 and was only given permission to be open for 5 years. However, in 2002 the London Eye was given permission to be a permanent attraction in the capital city. It is a wonderful structure and great fun so I am glad it has stayed. 


the london eye ferris wheel ride with grey sky background
The London Eye by Raintree Annie

As you can see from the photos I took here The London Eye is essentially a huge wheel with 32 capsules, representing each London Borough, holding up to 25 people each. So up to 800 people can be on the flight at any one time! 

To my relief, you don't sit with your legs hanging down like on a normal Ferris wheel but sit in each enclosed capsule. As the wheel rotates, the capsules also rotate so they always stay horizontal which is clearly a great design for passenger comfort and security! 

For an additional special price you can book a capsule just for your family or party and some people have even got married on the flight!

the london eye ferris wheel from a distance
The London Eye from the road by Raintree Annie

Book Ahead For The London Eye 

As you approach the London Eye we saw crowds like we had not seen before along the whole stretch of the embankment. 

We do not like to spend valuable time visiting London waiting in queues like that so if you feel that way too I would strongly advise booking ahead for a specific time so that you don't have to queue for so long! 

By the way, you don't book a ride on the London eye you book a "flight"! 

It is open every day in normal times except for Christmas day and when it is closed for a week in January for annual essential maintenance.

It is an amazing flight and I would recommend it if you are traveling to London. 

Once you board your flight each rotation takes around half an hour and it does move at a slow speed, so it is not like a thrill ride. Rather it allows us to take in the surroundings and sights of London city in a leisurely manner. In fact you can see as far as Windsor castle which is 25 miles away! We loved it and will book again the next time we can visit London. 

 If you are interested in London and may even be planning a bit there in the future I would recommend this book to learn about the many beautiful and interesting attractions and life in London.

Fodor's London 2020 (Full-color Travel Guide)


The Embankment And River Thames, London

The area around The London Eye is one of my favorites and it is well worth spending some time there. If you take a walk down the Embankment towards the London Eye it is a fascinating sight of street artists, doing incredible gymnastics, painting, making music on steel drums. 

There are people dressed as statues that stay as still as can be, being looked upon in awe by some people and others trying to get them to move! If they do move often after a long period of time it can be quite a shock!! 

All manner of people are there and it is very crowded, yet the atmosphere is one of busy friendly activity and simply enjoying what is there. There are also outdoor food stalls, indoor and outdoor restaurants, and a wide variety of wonderful live music. 

I find it a very relaxing yet stimulating place to be. 


big ben clock beside the river thames
River Thames & Big Ben from Embankment,by Raintree Annie

The River Thames flows by The Eye and is a huge dominating river. In clear sight is the "Gurkin" and other sights of interest. 

You can even take a boat trip along the river, which, especially if you are new to London is a really good way of seeing more of this area of the city in a relaxed manner. 

It is also a lot easier on your feet as London is a huge city to walk around and pounding the pavements and crowds can become quite relentless and tiring! 

Relaxing on the river is a lovely way of taking it all in and is a lovely break from the inevitable bustle of a big busy city. We had a lovely day in the area and could have easily stayed a lot longer.

boats on the river thames in london with ferris wheel in the background
Boat Trip The River Thames , London UK by Raintree Annie

Londons River Thames

Here is the River Thames, embankment from nearby The Eye. You can see the famous Big Ben in the distance! 

Even on a grey day it has an attraction for me. There is a majesty and history to this river and it is such a lovely place to chill out and relax from the hectic pace of London. 

This capital city is a full-on place to be and the area around the Embankment is no exception. Yet if you can find your nice place to sit or stand and just look there is a peace about it too.

close-up of the london eye capsule or observation compartment on the ferris wheel
London Eye Capsule &Big Ben by Raintree Annie


I love this part of London, I think the river is lovely and the buildings are amazing and there is a special atmosphere about this area, which is hectic yet friendly. I always enjoy visiting and have many happy memories I savor on my journey back home to the countryside. 

Have you visited London, taken a flight on the London Eye or do you feel it would appeal to you?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. I've visited London several times and I love it! Surprisingly, while I have admired the London Eye many times from the ground, I've never actually taken the flight. Perhaps, someday I will be brave enough to board it. I've also never taken a boat ride on the River Thames. Yet another "must do" the next time I am in London.

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed your visits to London! Oh yes do take a flight on the London eye next time you visit. I did not find it a scary experience, it doesn't go round really fast. I am sure you would love the river Thames boat ride as well. I cannot wait to be able to go to London again and do that river trip.

  2. Lovely description of these London attractions. The Hubster (Bob) and I visited in 1992 on a group tour. We spent three days in London, including a boat ride on the River Thames from the Royal Observatory in Greenich to near the Tower of London, before touring East Anglia. We LOVED our visit there and would love to see more than our short tour included. The London Eye was not there in 1992, but sounds interesting. I have not been on a Ferris Wheel since I was a child!

    1. Great to hear you enjoyed your 3 day trip to London and East Anglia. You saw a lot in that time! I am sure if you visit London again that you will find many more things to see and do you would enjoy.

  3. Yes I have been to London in 2016 and loved it! We walked around the Eye but didn't take the ride. We did take a boat ride on the Thames. I think we were there for 5 days and did most of the tourist things. Stayed in Kensington. Would go back in a heartbeat. Your review is spot on.

    1. Kensington is a really lovely area to stay in when visiting London. The boat trip on the Thames is a lovely thing to do during a visit and the London eye is quite impressive. Happy to hear you loved London so much :)

  4. I’ve visited London twice, once when I was six years old (the same age as Christopher Robin (Milne) in one of A.A. Milne’s most beloved poems), and once in my late 20s. I loved being there both times, and hope very much to return. Obviously, back then, The London Eye wasn’t yet so much as a glimmer in the mind of whoever conceived the idea, so for now, I really appreciate being able to visit it vicariously through your terrific, evocative photos and descriptions! It would have been a terrible shame for it to have been torn down after only five years, so I’m grateful that the decision was made to allow it to remain as one of London’s many wonderful permanent attractions.

    1. Thank you for your kind words regarding the photos and descriptions, I appreciate that. Yes I am glad that the London Eye stayed as an attraction, it would have been sad to lose it. Happy to hear you enjoyed your London visits and I do hope you get the opportunity to return again :)

  5. Oh Jasmine, I was a young girl the last time I was in London. I was probably 9 or 10 years old. I have never made it back to London again. You have just made me add it to any future travel plans. I love the idea of seeing a lot of the surroundings from that London Eye advantage. I will feed the pigeons and take pictures of the Bobbies too! My Wanderlust is growing, thank you!

    1. Thank you. I hope you are able to sort out a visit to London again Olivia. Glad to hear it is on your travel list. Yes there is a lot to do and see and lots of photo opportunities :)

  6. I have visited London several times, but have not been in the last 20 years. They didn't have the Eye then, but we do have the St. Louis wheel which is very similar. My granddaughters have been on both the London Eye and the St. Louis Wheel and told me they were about the same. Fun trip. Thanks for the memories of the other sights.

    1. Oh I would like to see the St Louis Wheel and take a ride on it too! How great your granddaughters were able to experience both the London Eye and the St Louis Wheel! Thank you.

  7. I would absolutely love to book a flight on the London Eye. The last time I was in London was in 1978 when I was 17 almost 18, so it wasn't built then. However, I loved London! It was one of my favorite places. I backpacked through Britain and Europe for two months with a friend, and I have so many beautiful memories, but the ones in London have lasted me a lifetime. My heart still feels filled from that trip. It's a part of me forever. Best thing I did back then was take that 2 month backpacking trip. I can feel how you love London, especially that area, just by how your wrote this article. :)

    1. How great you backpacked through Britain and Europe! Wonderful to hear how much you loved London. I am sure you would love a flight on The London Eye. I am so happy you have such lasting beautiful memories, just how travel should be.


Most Recent Reviews on Review This Reviews

Search for Reviews by Subject, Author or Title

The Review This Reviews Contributors

SylvestermouseSylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMbgPhotoMbgPhotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaThe Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieLou16Lou16Sam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerRenaissance WomanRenaissance WomanBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecorating for EventsDecorating for EventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G


Review This Reviews is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten

“As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and or Etsy (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement