In the year 2000, the Millennium Wheel was unveiled along the Thames. The enclosed Ferris Wheel welcomed the new century by adding a modern structure to the landscape of this old city. For more than ten years, the cab would drive along the Thames on the way to the office in The City and I would look across the river and say “I need to ride that sometime soon”. In 2011, I finally found time to experience The London Eye, the new name of the Millennium Wheel, a much better name in my opinion. The London Eye is located across from Big Ben & Parliament on the South Bank of the River Thames and its 32 capsules can carry up to 800 passengers per rotation. The views were just magical (and pretty cool) on my first ride – a nice change from the inside of a conference room I was accustomed.
When my niece listed the London Eye on her must do London list, I was all good to ride it again. As it was summer and specifically Wimbledon week in June, the crowds swelled with school groups, tour groups and tourists like us. This area of the Thames is teeming with people enjoying the restaurants, boarding river cruises, on the bridge taking selfies with Big Ben, etc. With this in mind and not wanting to commit to a specific day online (where tickets are cheaper if you buy in advance), I opted to do the “Fast Track ticket” when it was a nice, sunny day. The hotel concierge arranged the tickets but did not book online as I thought he would for £26.55 each (online discount), he instead used a tour company (for which he gets a commission) for £29.50 each and gave me a paper voucher that I would need to exchange at the ticket office fast track desk. This disappointed me and I did mention this to the hotel manager when we had our long chat about my hotel experience (this is another story for another day).