One of the many highlights of our weekend in London this weekend was a trip on The London Eye. Having been lucky enough to win a Family Merlin Pass earlier in the year, we had decided to pack in a trip to Madame Tussaud's, The London Eye and The London Aquarium, all of which are covered by the pass. As the pass only covered four, I had to buy a ticket for 5-year-old Pierre. If you have a Merlin Pass, you can get a special discounted entry for family and friends accompanying you, but it actually worked out cheaper to buy a combined ticket for all three online from one of the attractions. This cost £30 for a kid's ticket (basically a buy-two-get-one-free offer, compared to normal price), which helps keep costs down a bit.
We arrived around 2.30pm which worked out as the perfect time because the queue was pretty short - only about 15-30 minutes wait even without the Fast Track - and half an hour later, the queue had grown much longer. The kids were slightly apprehensive about the height as we all piled into the pod.
The "Do Not Lean Against The Doors" sign is not the most reassuring thing you can see as you rise higher and higher in the air !
But it actually goes so slowly that you adjust easily to the height and even Madhouse Daddy and Juliette, who aren't great with heights, were happily looking out of the windows to see the sights.
I've always wondered why there is one red pod. Someone once told me it had been painted red for Comic Relief but I asked the woman manning the gate and she said that it's actually orange, the colour of old sponsor EDF. That confused me because I thought they were still the sponsor but from January 2015, it will be sponsored by Coca Cola - you learn something new every day !
The Loondon Eye takes about half an hour to complete its rotation, giving you plenty of time to take in the views, take photos and try to spot the landmarks highlighted on the Galaxy tabs fixed to the walls. Pierre liked seeing the people looking like ants below !
We spotted St Paul's Cathedral in the distance.
You could really see how surrounded by parkland Buckingham Palace is.
You'd never know this is in the middle of a bustling city !
I always love the way modern architecture and old buildings stand side by side in London.
On top of the world, or at least the London Eye - our turn next. (There was a champagne reception going on in the pod in front and nobody was even looking out of the windows so we figured they must be famous - we couldn't recognise anyone though !)
You see some great architectural detail that you don't even notice at ground level.
As well as the perfect unobstructed view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
I wasn't sure how impressed the kids would be but they all really enjoyed it.
After a quick trip to the free 4-minute 4D London Eye Experience film in the ticket office building opposite (well worth a look, the 3D effects are fab, even if Pierre squealed "MUM, the fireworks are coming out of the TV" really loudly !!) and the London Aquarium next door, night had fallen so we got to see London by night. Big Ben was all lit up.
As was the London Eye, looking rather spectacular all in blue.
As we headed across the bridge, we saw some of the fireworks further along the river by the Tower of London, making it all look even more spectacular.
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