<switches CBeebies off for a moment>
Yes, it’s finally looking summery out there, and the school holidays start next week, which means, for us, almost 7 weeks of no rushing to pick up and drop off! But on the flipside, it’s almost 7 weeks of entertaining 2 small children. I suspect others have this conundrum too, which is why we’re putting together a Summer Holiday preview, with chats with some of London’s biggest attractions as well as some ideas on free things to do this summer. And to start things off, we’ve done a Q&A with Lauren Mictham, of the London Eye…
As well as the stunning panoramic views (you can see for around 40km from the top), visitors to the EDF Energy London Eye also have free tickets to the incredible 4D Experience, a groundbreaking three minute 3D film telling the story of a visit to the London Eye through the eyes of a little girl. It has spectacular in-theatre effects including wind, bubbles and mist which add a breathtaking fourth dimension, finishing with the famous New Year’s Eve fireworks!
There are also state of the art Samsung Galaxy tablets in every capsule with lots of information on the views and landmarks you are seeing.
People may not realise that you can buy combination tickets for other Merlin attractions at discounted rates when you come to the London Eye, so if you fancy popping a few yards down the riverbank to visit the SEA LIFE London Aquarium or the London Dungeons after your rotation you can get some brilliant deals. We also have a London Eye River Cruise hosted by expert guides that departs from the pier below the London Eye.
2) How do you cater for kids?
Children under four go free but do require a ticket, and baby changing facilities are available in our ticket office and onboard the London Eye River Cruise Experience. We can even cater for children’s birthday parties on the London Eye, with a private capsule, party hats and cake! You can also hire a magician or face painter to make the experience even more special.
3) Time for a spot of name-dropping, cause we all love that. Tell me one celebrity who’s been to visit you recently.
Kate Moss actually holds the record for the most celebrity rotations on the London Eye – a massive 25! We also had Sarah Jessica Parker here recently with her kids.
4) Food is always top of my priority list. Where can you eat near the Eye?
We have concession stands selling snacks and drinks on site and the south bank is full of wonderful places to eat, from sit-down restaurants to gourmet pizza stands and street food markets. There are a range of great restaurant deals on our website with exclusive discounts available.
5) What are your peak times and quiet times?
The London Eye is at its busiest during the months of July and August. We are also busy during school holidays, Bank holidays and weekends. The busiest time of the day would be from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
6) Each of the attractions we’re interviewing has a Dr Who connection. Can you tell me what yours is?
The London Eye featured in the first ever episode of the BBC’s Doctor Who re-launch in 2005. The London Eye was taken over by an alien and turned into a giant transmitter that made shop window dummies come to life!
7) This is the British Summer we’re talking about. How is the Eye affected by the rain?
Each of the capsules is weatherproof and fully climate controlled, so visitors can enjoy their visit in comfort whatever the British weather is doing! Even if it’s raining the glass walls mean that you still get a panoramic view of London.
8) What’s your favourite biscuit?
Definitely Marks & Spencer milk chocolate rounds – they’re more chocolate than biscuit! Of course, everyone at the London Eye particularly likes biscuits that are wheel-shaped.
9) Is there anywhere you can store a buggy near the Eye?
Buggies and pushchairs have to be folded completely flat and all items removed before taking them on board the London Eye and when waiting on the boarding ramps. Facilities are available inside the ticket office for buggies which are fixed and cannot be folded down.
10) Do you have any special events coming up this summer?
Every Friday until the 9th August we have Eye Nights, where the Eye is open until midnight so people can take in the views of London in darkness. We’re also running different seasonal experiences this summer, including a enjoying a glass of Pimm’s during your rotation or some Spanish-inspired nibbles in our evening wine and tapas capsules. To entertain our guests on the ground we are also introducing some brilliant new queue line entertainers, including stilt acrobats, balloon modellers and extreme unicyclists!
11) Can you take a “granny trolley” onto the Eye?
Only small day size rucksacks and bags can be taken on a capsule, not large or wheeled bags. If you do have a large bag, we recommend using the left luggage facilities at Waterloo train station.
12) What is your USP – i.e. something no other attraction has?
It would have to be the fact that the London Eye gives visitors a moving, ever-changing view of London; at every stage of your experience you catch sight of something new. We’re the largest cantilevered observation wheel in the world, in the best possible location on the south bank to get up-close views of some of the capital’s best-loved landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.
13) OK, this is your moment to say whatever you want to. Give us your 140-character Twitter pitch on why families should visit you this summer.
The London Eye is your one stop shop for a great day out in the capital and is a truly unique experience that the whole family can enjoy.