The London Eye is such a permanent and iconic fixture in the city’s skyline that it’s easy to forget looking pretty isn’t actually its day job. No, the popular tourist attraction is first and foremost a (rotating) viewpoint, offering 360-degree views over Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and more of the capital.
It also turns out it’s pretty darn good at it. At least according to the folks at Remitly, a digital financial services provider for immigrants and their families who analysed a tonne of Tripadvisor data in order to figure out the best viewpoints. Which include The London Eye, number one in the UK and two in the world.
In fact, the Southbank’s resident observation wheel was this country’s winner by far. Remitly worked out the top viewpoints by examining more than 1.4m Tripadvisor reviews and counting how often ‘view’ cropped up, omitting any instances where it was used negatively or in a different context. And the good old London Eye racked up a whopping 34,975 mentions.
By contrast, the next best in the UK was Edinburgh Castle, with just under half the amount of mentions (16,889 mentions). Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol was third, with 4,444 mentions of ‘view’.
Outside of the UK, meanwhile, the only spot to beat London’s 135m-high landmark on the view front was New York’s ‘Top of the Rock’. Housed in the Rockefeller Centre, this observation deck managed 42,552 uses of ‘view’. But London’s collection of spinning observation pods still managed to rank ahead of a number of other impressive global landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
However, being ranked best viewpoint in the UK isn’t quite enough to shield the London Eye – which has been sponsored by European travel giant lastminute.com since February 2020 – from all criticism. According to some recent Tripadvisor comments, there’s more than one area where the popular tourist experience can improve.
More than a few users commented on the cleanliness of the pods’ windows – which, to be fair, is rather important in order to actually to see said views. This might be why user Alyssa S only gave the attraction three stars, despite titling the review ‘Great View’. They wrote ‘The glass could have been cleaner,’ before adding ‘Fast track wasn’t worth it when we went during the week.’
Another user echoed the complaint, and added some more. They said: “We were excited for this but it just wasn’t worth it. The views aren’t that great, it’s quite quick, you feel like cattle and the glass wasn’t clean enough for good pictures. Yes it’s unique but so are the Sky Gardens (which we did immediately before). The Sky Gardens were free, high up and totally cool with no wait. Skip the the London Eye. It’s way too expensive for what you get.”
A third, meanwhile, described it as ‘An ordinary panorama, a total disappointment’ and suggested taking a boat excursion to see more of London instead. However, it’s worth noting that there’s also plenty of positive reviews. In fact, The London Eye has managed to maintain an impressive four and a half star rating overall on the reviews platform, with more than 87,000 total reviews.
Another Tripadvisor user, for example, had a lot of praise for The Queen’s Head Jubilee Pub Pod. The user said: “We finished our London stay by booking the pub pod on the London Eye. It was so much fun. Not overcrowded. A couple of fun drinks and of course a great view. Sam was our bartender/guide and he just made sure all of us had fun. He took pictures and made sure we had our drinks. All the staff we met were friendly and helpful. Although it isn’t cheap it was well worth it.”
Tickets for the lastminute.com London Eye can be booked through the official website. It costs from £36 for an adult ticket on the day, but you can get a saving of 10% if you pre-book tickets (£32.50).
Further savings are also possible if you book as a family or bundled together with a river cruise. Fast track tickets are £51 on the day or £46 in advance. All tickets include a 30 minute trip in one of the attraction 32 pods. More information here.
The 10 Best Viewpoints in the UK according to Remitly
London Eye, London – 34,975 mentions of ‘view’
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh – 16,889 mentions of ‘view’
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol – 4,444 mentions of ‘view’
British Airways i360, Brighton – 2,628 mentions of ‘view’
- Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool – 1,851 mentions of ‘view’
The Necropolis, Glasgow – 1,733 mentions of ‘view’
- Library of Birmingham, Birmingham – 1,696 mentions of ‘view’
- Cloud 23, Manchester – 1,468 mentions of ‘view’
Hengistbury Head Beach, Bournemouth – 1,173 mentions of ‘view’
- Cardiff Bay, Cardiff – 968 mentions of ‘views’
The 10 Best Viewpoints in the World according to Remitly
- Top of the Rock, New York, USA – 42,552 mentions of ‘view’
- London Eye, London, UK – 34,975 mentions of ‘view’
- Eiffel Tower, Paris, France – 32,875 mentions of ‘view’
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE – 28,518 mentions of ‘view’
- Victoria Park (The Peak), Hong Kong – 21,524 mentions of ‘view’
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, UK – 16,896 mentions of ‘view’
- Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland – 15,590 mentions of ‘view’
- High Roller, Las Vegas, USA – 15,535 mentions of ‘view’
- Diamond Head State Monument, Hawaii, USA – 15,191 mentions of ‘view’
- Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic – 13,685 mentions of ‘view’