I have been on the London Eye more times than I care to think about in the last 10 years, and it occupies a very emotional place in my heart.
I love the fact that this year, while I am a Merlin Annual Pass blog Ambassador I can just rock up and go on it whenever I like, and once or twice this year I have done just that, had a brief 30 minute twirl round on my way to somewhere else in London.
It’s great to just show up with your Merlin pass and just join the queue of people waiting to get on without worrying about booking or tickets or anything. To me it’s a great way to pass a spare hour – a lovely view and a peaceful break from life.
But let me take you back to the beginning. When I first heard about the London Eye I thought it sounded like a crazy idea and that it would blight the landscape of the South Bank, which is one of my favourite places in all the world. But once it was up and working, in 2000, I was fascinated, and definitely wanted to go on it. But I was a busy and stressed executive then, and the timing never seemed right.
In 2001, I got the job offer of my dreams, an amazing promotion and a big step up for me. My boyfriend said, let’s celebrate by going on the London Eye! So we agreed to meet at Waterloo but sadly the Eye was closed for maintenance. He seemed even more fed up about it than I was, quite distraught in fact, and I found out why, a few hours later in the restaurant – he had planned to propose to me at the top! Instead he had to make the proposal in the restaurant, which was lovely (and of course I accepted), and I still think of the London Eye as the official site of the propsal, even though it didn’t actually happen that way.
In fact things took a very interesting turn – less than 6 weeks after my job offer and proposal, my fella got the job offer of his dreams too and he went to Jersey on a 5 year secondment. After we were married, I moved out to join him in Jersey and our 2 children were born there. So despite my longings, I still didn’t get to go on the London Eye for another few years, and it grew to mythical proportions in my head, a real bucket list must do.
Once we moved back in 2006 it was absolutely top of the things that I wanted to do with my children, and finally I got my first ride
The children were very excited, but still a little bit too small to appreciate it, so we had to go back again a few years later
Lat year, I reviewed it again with my boy – he’s a bit bigger now, but still just as excited.
I love the fact that once you get into your little pod you are free to move around, to look at or photograph whatever you like. The movement is very slow, hardly noticeable, but slowly the whole of London opens up before you and you get a quiet peaceful view of a lovely city. I love seeing the hustle and bustle of the cars, the boats on the river, and the people rushing by, but being at a distance from it, hearing nothing and just observing without stress
I also really love looking at the machinery close up, and how the view of that chnges moment by moment as you whrl silently around.
So there you have it – that is why I love the London Eye, and go on it at every opportunity. If you are visiting London and you haven’t doe this yet, then take the time, especially if you can do it on a clear night at sunset. It’s the very best! And if you get the opportunity to witness a proposal on there, think of me and my lovely husband!