The London Eye with Kids: How to have a Successful Visit

A few years ago, BattleDad and I tried, and failed, to visit the London Eye. We arrived late to the Eye and saw the length of queues and decided to try again another day. Fast forward a few years and I was going to be in London with my sisters for a concert. We had two days to fill, so we settled on a few London attractions including the London Eye. I enjoyed my first ride in it but wondered whether you could enjoy a trip on the London Eye with kids.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

A short few months later, the Battle Family were in London for 36 hours before flying to America, and we decided to visit the London Eye as a family. I wasn’t too sure what BattleKid would make of it, but as it is only a 30-minute revolution, it should have been short enough for even him. I prebooked our tickets online to save any hassles and printed out our Flexi Fast Track before we left for London.

The Flexi Fast Track tickets meant we could visit at any time during the day on our chosen date and we would join the fast track queue. So, after a yummy breakfast in a café around the corner from the London Eye, we made our way around and joined the fast track queue with our printouts in hand.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

The London Eye, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a giant Ferris wheel on Southbank of the River Thames. It opened in 2000 as part of the millennium celebrations and stands 443ft (135m) tall, with a wheel diameter of 394ft (120m). It is the most popular paid attraction on the UK with over 3.75 million visitors a year. And that number is growing.

The Eye has 32 sealed, air-conditioned passenger capsules which can hold up to 25 people, although the two times I’ve been, there hasn’t been 25 people in the pod. It rotates at a speed of 26cm (10 inches) per second and one complete revolution takes 30 minutes.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

Despite visiting the London Eye with BattleKid at the end of the summer holidays, the fast track queue moved quite quickly. The same could not be said for the standard tickets queue. We entered our capsule, or pod, and we were off.

BattleKid was fascinated by the fact we were being chased by another pod and that we were getting higher. But the thing that grabbed his attention the most was the information tablets in the capsule. He loved switching between the day and night mode, much to my annoyance as I tried to spot various landmarks.LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

Although the revolution is only 30 minutes, I felt it was ample time for a toddler. And as we stepped off the capsule, BattleKid made noises about wanting to stay on. I don’t think he grasped the idea of one turn. All-in-all he enjoyed it as he was still talking about the big wheel for weeks to come.

Tips to ensure you have a successful trip to the London Eye with Kids

  • Plan when you want to go visit the London Eye and book your tickets in advance. This will not only save you time, but you can often save money too.
  • If you can afford to, book fast track tickets, especially if you plan to visit during school holidays. Both times I visited, the standard ticket queue was at least an hour long, possibly more. And no one wants to queue for that long with kids in the holidays.
  • Ensure you arrive well before your allotted time if you book Fast Track tickets. Flexi Fast Track tickets allow you to arrive at any time on your chosen date.
  • Ensure everyone in your party has visited the toilets before you queue as there are no toilets on or at the London Eye. The toilets are located in the Coco Cola London Eye ticket office, as well as a disabled toilet and baby changing facilities.
  • If you are bringing a buggy or stroller, it must be completed collapsible and kept folded throughout the duration of your visit. I’d suggest using a baby carrier or sling if visiting the London Eye with a baby.
  • No food and drink, apart from drinking water, is permitted inside the capsules.
  • There is one bench inside each capsule, and seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • While the London Eye is wheelchair accessible, only two wheelchairs are permitted in each pod, and only eight are allowed on the Eye at any one time. It is highly advisable to prebook tickets in advance if your party includes a wheelchair user.
LONDON EYE WITH KIDS
Big Ben and Westminster from the London Eye

Other information to note before visiting the London Eye with Kids

  • The London Eye is open every day of the year except Christmas Day from 11am until 6pm.
  • Standard entry London Eye ticket prices are as follows: Adults £26, Child £21 (3-15 years of age), Under 3’s are free.
  • Fast Track London Eye tickets cost £36 per adult and £31 per child, allowing entry to the London Eye at a specific time slot.
  • Flexi Fast Track tickets for the London Eye cost £40 per adult and £30 per child and are only available for purchase online. These allow you entry at any time on a specific date.
  • Capsules are available for private hire for 3-25 guests and there is also a champagne experience available if you fancy something special.
  • You can also purchase combination tickets which allow entry to the London Eye and certain other atttractions in London including Sea Life, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure, ideal if you’re making a day of it in London with the kids.
LONDON EYE WITH KIDS
Can you spot the iconic London Bus?

We visited the London Eye before heading into Sea Life and I was surprised that BattleKid enjoyed it as much as he did. He liked watching the boats going past on the river, and of course, the information tablets, and he didn’t complain once. Except when we were getting off, and he didn’t want to. So, yes, a visit to the London Eye is even suitable for toddlers. And, by taking into account some of the tips I’ve mentioned, you can have a successful visit to the London Eye with kids.

Cath x

*We were not asked to write this review. Prices are correct at the time of writing this post (February 2018).

LONDON EYE WITH KIDS

9 Awesome Things to Do in London with the Girls

So, you’re thinking of planning a girls weekend away and not sure where to go. Why not head for London? With so much to see and do, London has something for everyone. But how do you even begin to nail down what do with the girls during your ladies weekend away? Stop stressing. I’m going to share with you 9 awesome things to do in London with the girls which will easily fill 48 hours and having you leaving London with smiles on your faces.THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS

Last year my sisters and I were headed to London for a concert. We were going to see Take That in the O2, so we decided to make it a full-on girly weekend in London. The concert wasn’t until the Sunday night and we had all day Saturday and most of Sunday to do what we wanted. I started looking into girls weekend ideas and came up with a few things we could do. Once my sisters said yes, we had a plan and added to it as the weekend approached.

I was flying in from Portugal on Friday afternoon and they were arriving from Dublin on the Saturday morning. Here are the 9 things we did during our 48 hours in London.

9 Awesome Things to Do in London with the Girls

Saturday

Stay in a Greenwich AirBnB

First and foremost, you need to find somewhere to stay in London. I opted to book a two-bedroom AirBnB in Greenwich as it was close to the O2 where the concert was being held. It meant we wouldn’t be trying to squeeze onto a tube with thousands of other TT fans, nor worse still, trying to get a taxi back into town. By staying near the venue, we could back to our accommodation afterwards hassle-free.

What was even better was it was just a 20-minute tube ride to Waterloo where we could connect to other Tubes to get around Central London. It didn’t cost as much as a hotel, we could share the apartment and even cook there if we fancied it. It was conveniently located and cost-effective.

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
The roof-top garden of our Greenwich AirBnB apartment

Shopping on Oxford Street

No trip to London with the girls would be complete without a visit to Oxford Street. Once my sisters had arrived at our AirBnB and dropped off their luggage, we headed for Oxford Street and grabbed a Costa before hitting the shops. I have to say we were relatively good and didn’t spend a fortune, spending most of our time in the Disney shop for our kids!

That said I had visited Oxford Street the previous day and perused a few shops including Next and Pandora, buying myself my first ever Pandora bracelet. An addiction was started that day, I can tell you. There are hundreds of shops in and around Oxford Street, and I’m sure you can fit a little bit of shopping time into your girly weekend.

Enjoy the View from the Shard

While researching idea for our sisters’ weekend in London I read a few other blog posts in which visits to the Shard were mentioned. It hadn’t been on my radar before, but I thought it might be a good what to get a birds-eye view of London and would be a nice touristy thing to do in London. We didn’t just want to shop or drink coffee, so booked tickets for the three of us.

The View from the Shard is located in Western Europe’s tallest building and gives amazing views across the whole of London. We were lucky that the day we visited was sunny with good visibility and you really could see for miles. It reminded me somewhat of being on the Empire State Building looking over New York. One thing to note, book your tickets in advance as you’ll save £10 over the one-the-day ticket prices!* For full information on visiting the View from the Shard, visit their website.

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
One of the View’s from the Shard

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS

Enjoy dinner and cocktails at the ICE Bar

I had read a blog review of the ICE bar in London and knew we just had to include it in our girly weekend itinerary. I booked it and kept it a secret from one of my sisters as a surprise. After returning to our AirBnB and telling her she might want to bring a cardigan or jacket (despite it being a lovely summer’s day), she started to get suspicious about where we might be eating.

We made our way to the ICE bar which is located in a side street just off Regent Street and we were seated in the downstairs restaurant for our meal. I had opted to have our meal first and then drinks in the ICE bar itself afterwards. We had a lovely three course meal, and each of us thoroughly enjoyed our chosen dishes, before we were ushered back upstairs to get our cloaks and gloves, ready for our drinks in the ICE Bar.

And what an experience that is. The -5°C cold air hits you as soon as the doors open. You’re given an ice glass to drink from and there is a range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails to choose from. One drink is included in your booking, but you are free to purchase more. Be aware that you only get 40 minutes in the ICE bar, but it is more than enough as the cold does start to get to you after a while. We enjoyed two drinks and a short dance before we’d had enough of the cold and ended our first night in London. To make a booking for the ICE bar, please visit their website.

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
Ice, Ice Bar Baby
THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
Freezing while taking a selfie at the Ice Bar in London

Sunday

Brunch at Le Pain Quotidien on Southbank

We stumbled upon Le Pain Quotidien by accident and it was an extremely pleasant surprise at that. This organic-range café is located at Southbank and serves dishes made from organic ingredients, along with an amazing array of breads. We hadn’t eaten breakfast before leaving our AirBnB, so we were famished once we arrived at Southbank. We were lucky enough to get a table outside, which was nice if not a little chilly due to being in the shadows.

Coffee, tea and brunch were ordered, and we were soon sipping our drinks and enjoying people watching from our table. Once our food arrived, myself and one sister tucked into delicious baked eggs with chorizo, while the other had a lovely chorizo and potato frittata. While this is not the cheapest breakfast or brunch you could have in London, it is certainly the tastiest. Each of us could have had our meal twice over. It was so good I returned with hubby and son in tow just a few months later. Make sure you include Le Pain Quotidien on your London weekend trip itinerary!THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS

Take a Ride on the London Eye

As we were being tourists in London, we decided to take a ride on the London Eye. Despite many weekends in London before, this London attraction had always eluded us. So, I booked Fast Track Flexi tickets online, allowing us to arrive whenever we wanted on our chosen day. So, after our delicious brunch, we walked around the corner and joined the Fast Track queue which was practically empty.

The London Eye is a huge ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames and one rotation only takes 30 minutes. The views when you reach the top are incredible and give you a different view of London compared to the View from the Shard. It’s not the cheapest of attractions but it’s worth it for the views you get. Each pod comes equipped with interactive tablets which point out the various landmarks of London which you can see from the Eye and I enjoyed it so much I made a return trip with my hubby and son a few months later. Details on visiting the London Eye can be found on the website.THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS

Sightsee London by land with Duck Tours

Now this tour used to be by both land and water but unfortunately, the slipway Duck Tours used to enter and exit the River Thames, has been bought to build a sewer. However, that said they may be operating their land tour route, but check their website for more up-to-date details.

This tour was a great alternative to the more traditional open-top sightseeing tour bus. We climbed aboard our distinctive yellow vehicle and had a land tour around London before entering the water beside the MI6 building, home to James Bond’s office. It was a great way to see London, albeit a little wet as the waters in the Thames were quite choppy. We had a lot of sun on our tour and it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to see some of the more famous landmarks of London.

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
The famous yellow Duck Tours vehicle
THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from the River Thames

Grab an early dinner in Wagamamas

After an enjoyable day sightseeing in London we headed back to Greenwich to get ready for our concert. However, knowing restaurants around the O2 were going to be very busy immediately before and after the concert, we decided to get an early dinner and headed for Wagamamas in Greenwich.

I had never visited a Wagamamas before but was impressed by the quality and taste of the food. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that everyone’s dishes arrived at our table at different times. Two of us got our starters quite quickly but one of my sister’s starters arrived quite a while later and only minutes before her main arrived. Then, my other sister had to wait a while for her main, and three separate waiting staff brought the same dish to our table after she had gotten hers. It all seemed a bit chaotic but despite this, the food was amazing and very tasty and each of us came away pleasantly satisfied with our meals. So, if you don’t mind not getting all your party’s dishes at once, I’d recommend a meal in Wagamamas.

Catch your favourite artist in concert at the O2

Now as I’ve mentioned, two of my sisters and I were having a girls weekend in London to attend the Take That concert. We’d booked our tickets almost a year before and were really looking forward to attending a concert outside of Ireland. Where we stayed in London was dictated by location to the O2, but I found lots of AirBnB’s near Greenwich. And it was an ideal location for getting into Central London too.

Whether you are a pop fan, rock fan or R’n’B fan, you should always consider catching your favourite artist in the O2 (or other London event), so that you can have the best girls weekend away, combining music with shopping, eating and touristy things, like we did!

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS
Seeing our boys in Concert at the O2 – Take That

So, if you and your girl gang are investigating places to go for a weekend away, start investigating weekends in London! There is so much to see and do in London, and I hope you’ll consider putting one of the things I’ve suggested on your own London itinerary. As for my sisters and I, all four of us this time round, we are currently in the planning stages of our next sisters’ getaway weekend. This year we’ve settled on Edinburgh. Now to plan what we can get up to during our girly weekend away.THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS

Have you and your girlies had a girls weekend away recently, and if so, where did you go?

Cath x

*Information correct at the time of writing this post.

THINGS TO DO IN LONDON WITH THE GIRLS