It was a visit to one of London’s landmarks that wasn’t suppose to happen during our two and half day stay in London and England.
The plan was to disembark from our British Isles Cruise ship in South Hampton, take the bus into London to our hotel and then visit Westminster Abbey before it closed at 4:30 pm. No problem, right? Well, just like so many other things that had gone wrong with our Princess cruise line trip around the British Isles, Princess cruise line managed to screw something up even after we had left the ship for good.
Long story short, we were among the last to leave the ship for our 1.5 hour drive to London and our hotel, the Pullman London St. Pancras Hotel. Turns out the one and a half hour drive to London took 4 hours and 7 minutes because of several screw ups. Getting off the bus at 2:37 pm and then checking into our hotel made the planned visit to Westminster Abbey impossible.
It was time for plan B. Plan B was a cab ride over to the Somerset House along the Thames river. After visiting the Somerset house, my wife and I crossed the Waterloo Bridge and dined at the Giraffe Southbank restaurant. After our late lunch, we walking along the South bank of the Thames which brought us to the London Eye. I asked a vendor for his professional opinion on how long the wait time looked to ride the Eye. He estimated 15 minutes, so we decided to go for it.
After purchasing our tickets inside, it was off to the queue up to wait for our ride. Here in America we say wait in line, in England they queue up. It sounds better the way the English say it.
Of course no post about the London Eye would be complete without many interesting facts. The A-frame ferris wheel structure stands 443 feet tall and has a diameter of 394 feet. For comparison, Big Ben which is just across the Thames river is 315 feet tall. The tallest building in London and the European union is the Shard at 1016 feet tall. The Eye is consists of 32 sealed capsules that each hold a maximum of 25 people. Each revolution around the wheel takes about 30 minutes.
Once the ride starts, it’s quite smooth and there really isn’t much of a sense of motion. I don’t have a fear of heights, unless I’m near an edge where I can fall. I don’t know why, but feeling that the capsule we were ride was hanging from the structure was fine with me. When you make it to the top, you realize you are now sitting on top of the structure. That bother me a little. This photo was made photographing through curved glass towards the sun. That’s not ideal. You can see a little flare in the photo on the bottom left.
The brown river below the Eye is the Thames. Just to the right of the wheel is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Looking through the structure you can see the Sea Life London Aquarium and Westminster Bridge below. The current list price for the ride is 24.30 pounds. Not a cheap ride, but it was certainly worth the price. If you can plan your visit time, the sites are more spectacular around sunset.
Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK