Make sure to buy your skip-the-line tickets online before your visit!
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The queue to the London Eye can be impressively long but it moves quite fast. The average waiting time is about 20-30 minutes in high season but can exceed half an hour on school holidays, long weekends, during the summer and on bank holidays.
There are actually 2 waiting lines: one to buy the ticket and another one for boarding. It’s possible to skip the first line by buying your ticket online. In any case, if you purchase a standard ticket you’re expected to arrive half an hour before the boarding time to get your pre-booked ticket and pass the boarding line. Among the available ticket options on the London Eye’s booking page you will find a fast-entry ticket (priority line) and flexible tickets, but, of course, they’ll cost you more.
Booking your ticket online has its disadvantages as well: you’ll need to choose a date and a time slot and no one can guarantee in advance that the weather will be perfect (remember, it’s London!). London Eye tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable, therefore if your goal of visiting The London Eye is to take great photos you could be disappointed if caught in bad weather.
If you arrive during high season (summer, May, school holidays, bank holidays & weekends) - you can book your ticket a day or two in advance, having checked the weather forecast. If the probability of rain is low - booking your ticket could be the best way to guarantee a wait-free visit.
If you don’t want to buy the ticket online - consider coming either at the opening time (10:00am) or in the evening, it’s less crowded. After 15:00 the queues are usually shorter than at midday. Sunset time surprisingly doesn’t attract bigger crowds, so you can check the sunset hour and plan your visit for this time (worth doing when the weather is good). Don’t forget to come about 30 minutes earlier because of the usual boarding queue.
Night London also looks great. If you’re staying in London during high season - the queues are really short or inexistent after sunset, and the Eye usually stays open until 21:30 (check the opening hours here). This would be a good option to avoid crowds!
Photo credits to Steve Montgomery via Flickr
To avoid crowds and long waiting lines check that none of the following can be applied to the date you chose for your London Eye visit:
- Bank holidays (in 2017: 02/01, 14/04, 17/04, 01/05, 29/05, 28/08, 25/12, 26/12)
- UK school holidays (check them here)
- April-May, August, October (these are the peak months)
- Big events and festivities taking place in London that can attract an important number of visitors to the city
Tips for a few days in London
This page will give you many tips to avoid crowds in London as well as crowd schedules for top tourist attractions in order to plan your visits.
- Baby changing
- T Loop
- WiFi (around the ticket office, not available on the wheel)
- Gift shop
- Souvenir Photos
- First Aid
General ticket prices (online standard entry)
- Adults (16+): £22.45
- Child (3-15 yrs): £17.95
- Child (Under 3): free
Photo credits to David Holt via Flickr
By Tube: Waterloo (the closest), Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster underground stations
By bus: lines 211, 77, 381, most sightseeing bus tours, RV1 route
Photo credits to Leo Hidalgo via Flickr