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World's most overpriced Ferris wheel

The London Eye

London’s latest major attraction towers 450 feet above the River Thames, gliding in a stately circle every half hour and since January 2000 has added a dramatic modern element the London skyline.

The British Airways–funded London Eye is the largest observation wheel in the world—technically, it’s not a Ferris wheel, because the capsules are enclosed and bristle from the outer ring of the wheel, and the whole thing is supported on one side only.

Basically, it’s a giant bicycle wheel—only 200 times as big as the one on your Schwinn, with 80 spokes held together by more than 3.6 miles of cables. You’re in “the tire,” one of 32 capsules that hold 25 people each.

The wheel whips around at the glacial speed of 0.6 miles per hour, and you board every half-hour. On a clear day, from the dizzying top of the circle, you can see 25 miles in every direction —though most people are looking down at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, and other icons of London spread below.

That a ticket costs £15 ($30) is scandalous enough, but you have to cough up £25 ($50) for the “fast track” line that only takes 15 minutes (rather than the usual half-hour wait). There are also tickets that include a glass of champagne or a Thames river cruise.

Jubilee Gardens (on the banks of the Thames, right across the river from Big Ben, between Hungerford Bridge and Westminster Bridge).
Tube: Waterloo.
tel. +44-(0)870-500-0600
Daily Oct–May 10am–8pm (to 9pm June and Sept, to 9:30pm July–Aug)



Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in May 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.