Since its inception, the London Eye has become one of the most iconic tourist spots in the United Kingdom’s capital city. It’s easy to see why it’s a favourite attraction for visitors from all over the world and London city dwellers alike…
Featuring some of the best riverside views of London at both day and night, the London Eye is to be enjoyed by everyone, from those taking a romantic champagne night trip, to people on a day trip with the whole family.
Now there’s another unique way to enjoy the skyline of London, by taking part in the Coca-Cola London Eye River Cruise, so you can see the city from an entirely new perspective.
Some of the highlights that you should keep an eye out for include Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.
Overall you can expect amazing aerial views, which makes for a perfect introduction to London for people who have never visited the city before. It’s a great way for people to see the sights they think they would like to visit, in order to make an informed decision about their trip. London is a huge city and it’s hard to fit everything into your visit, so the London Eye River Cruise could be a big help when you’re deciding on your itinerary.
What’s even better is that when you buy your ticket for the London Eye River Cruise then all of your entrance fees to London sights are also included.
There are virtual maps on-board the cruise ship and a commentary that will cast your attention to some of the skyline highlights too, so you won’t miss a moment. The cruise is suitable for all times of the year because the boat has covered and sun deck seating on board, so you’re not going to be hemmed in by the unpredictable British weather.
Similarly, both decks on the ship are accessible for wheelchair users and toilets, which are easy to locate on board.
The London Eye River Cruise is a 40-minute circular cruise on the River Thames and includes two options for tickets, which are cruise only and cruise and skip the line flight.
As you might have guessed, the departure point of the cruise leaves from the London Eye itself and departure times between Autumn and Spring are 11:45am-4:45 pm during 31st October and 31st March.
In the Spring to Autumn season, the cruise ship leaves on the hour again between 10:45am and 6:45pm between 1st April and 30th October, giving you an extra three hours of sunshine while you enjoy the ride.
For the London Eye Flight ticket option, head to the “Pre-Book Ticket Desk”, which you’ll find in the County Hall – the building that is directly next to the London Eye on the South Bank, so you can’t miss it. For this option, you’ll be expected to start boarding for your flight 15 minutes before it leaves, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there!
The only date on which the London Eye River Cruise doesn’t run is December 25th and it will have its last flight on Christmas Eve at 5:30pm. Similarly, on 31st December the last flight you will be able to get will be at 3:00pm – it’s expected to be particularly busy around these times so it’s advised that you book ahead to avoid disappointment.
You can also expect for the opening times to be altered on bank holidays, when they will run slightly longer, between 9:30am to 9:00pm and every Tuesday the first flight of the day will start at 10:30am. This Tuesday time will change during the school holidays and June, July and August, British Summertime.
Receive updates on the times on the tour’s flights by heading to its website, London Eye River Cruise to make sure you don’t miss out on this special way to enjoy the sights of London.
You should also be aware that heavy duty luggage will not be allowed on the River Cruise boat or the London Eye itself due to weight and space restrictions, but there is a secure ‘left luggage’ area that will keep your belongings safe while you take to the sky or water.
Appreciate the sight of Big Ben…
As we said, there are several famous highlights that you’ll get to see when you take part in the London Eye River Cruise and thanks to the commentary, you’ll learn a little bit about them too.
But, just to get you started, we’re going to give you a little bit of information on some of the most iconic landmarks the capital has, beginning with Big Ben…
Although it may seem obvious to some of you, not everyone realises that Big Ben is actually a part of the Houses of Parliament. It is essentially the clock for the entire building, but it is so much more than a timepiece, as it plays an important part in the iconography of London.
Technically the name Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the tower, which incidentally weighs nearly 14,000kg, but over the years, the entire clock has adapted the name.
The Palace of Westminster was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1834 and a decade later, when the palace was to be rebuilt, it was decided that the new buildings for the Palace of Westminster should include a tower and a clock.
Making the bell for the inside of the tower was a difficult task, and the first incarnation cracked irreparably. It wasn’t until 31st May 1859 that Big Ben was placed inside the clock tower and it rang for the very first time across Whitechapel.
That isn’t to say that all was well as in September of the same year, Big Ben – the bell – cracked and required a lighter hammer to toll the bell and prevent any further problems and so it still is the same bell that strikes in the tower to this day.
Although it’s not certain for whom the bell is named, there are two theories, which are just as likely as each other. The first is that is was named for Sir Benjamin Hall, who was the first person to be commissioned to work on the bell for the tower. It’s said that he was nicknamed ‘Big Ben’ for his size, but there is no concrete evidence to support this.
The other rumour is that the bell was named after Benjamin Caunt, a popular heavyweight boxer in the 19th Century. He was also apparently called ‘Big Ben’ as he was one of the heaviest boxers in his class, again there isn’t evidence to substantiate whether this is true, but we recommend that you have some fun with it and pick your favourite story!
Of course, visiting Big Ben necessitates a visit to the Houses of Parliament, which are an absolute must for anybody. Foreboding and ornate, the inside of the buildings is just as stunning as its facade and the building is rich with history.
Once it was a palace built by William II in the 11th Century that became privy to many Royal remodels over the years. But it was in the 15th Century that Westminster became a place of government and politics, although some would say that is also when it became a building of controversy.
The Houses of Parliament at Westminster are fascinating and its history is long and full of gunpowder, so make sure you visit it to learn about some of Britain’s history that dates from the 1400s all the way through to present day.