Hey you, up in the Eye!

Story by Tom O'Riordan

WE ARRIVED at the London Eye to be faced with an impossibly long queue. On checking with customer services, the nice lady advised that they guarantee you will be on the Eye within half an hour. Not convinced we got in line, but 27 minutes later we climbed on board.

It is not until you are up close to it that you realise what an amazing work of art the structure is; modern technology etched against Old London Town. The pods are air conditioned and there are only about 16 people allowed in at a time, which is great as you have a lot of space to mooch about, with everyone shifting their position, so you will get to see all there is to see.

If, like me, you only really know the basic buildings of London - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's etc - it would have been beneficial to have either a taped commentary or an actual London Eye employee pointing out interesting buildings and a brief outline. I understand from a couple of seasoned 'London Eyers' that, near the beginning, this was the case - so come on powers that be, sort this out!

At a total time of 35 minutes 'Flying Time' fans of the London skyline or tourists have a lot of photo opportunities and you realise that London is indeed a beautiful, happening city.

Tickets are £11 for adults and they recommend pre-booking at least three weeks in advance. If you buy some flight vouchers for someone, you must use them on the day you book; if not used for whatever reason on that day they become void.

A tip I would give, is try to go early and, after seeing London from the air, go and explore it on the ground. It is a very good starting point and the Aquarium amd Dali Exhibitions are right next door.

If, like me, you are lead by your belly, however, a good place to eat after the Eye is the Oxo Tower, a 10-minute amble along the South Bank. Make sure you eat in the Brasserie though, and not the reataurant, as that will cost you an arm and a leg. Eat in the Brasserie before 7pm and a set menu is £20 per head.

British Airways London Eye
Booking Tel: 0870 400 3040; Open daily, from 8.30am to 6.30pm

RELATED LINKS: Click here for the official London Eye site...