The most visible landmark in London, it was the first one I spied through the airplane window as we came in for a landing.
It was late October just before my birthday. Brian was taking me home to show me his home town in Scotland, and we stopped in London for a weekend along the way. In true travel geek form, I had a list of things I wanted to see during our whirlwind two and a half day tour.
Brian is a good sport, he would gladly sit in the hotel bar and enjoy a good whiskey but he strapped on his walking shoes and threw on a jacket just for me.
We met his younger son in the hotel lobby just off Oxford street only a few hours after our arrival. I was nervous, but Brian’s apples don’t fall far from his tree. His son welcomed me with open arms, and our weekend was better for his company.
First thing on the list was The London Eye.
Only a few days before Halloween, there were decorations, displays and street performers lining the walk to the ticket booth. The fall colors were beautiful, bringing life and color to the grey autumn scenery.
During the wait, we had blue sky, a bit of a breeze and temperatures cold enough to make my cheeks rosy. I’m not much of a cold weather girl, but this was perfect.
Ten minutes later we jumped into a pod. I have to admit it was a little bit intimidating to jump onto a moving glass target with a long drop to the river and stones below, but we pulled it off without loss of any of our limbs or too much of our dignity. My open mouthed grin and big camera around my neck already marked me as one of those obnoxious American tourists, so I had only a tiny bit of dignity to begin with. Better hang on to as much as I can.
Late October in London is a perfect time to visit. The summer tourists are gone, the kids are all back in School and the weather keeps away all but the most hardy of explorers.
The changing leaves on the trees are a particularly fantastic bonus.
The view from the Eye was better than I expected. We could see for miles with only the clouds and a very slight haze to impede the view. The river was moving slowly while we watched the boats cruise back and forth, and my first sighting of the Parliament building and Big Ben couldn’t have been more dramatic.
What to expect when you go: Visitor information can be found here, including opening times and directions on how to get there. Be prepared in the high season to wait in line for quite a while. Bring an umbrella just in case. If you have pre-purchased tickets you need to allow 15 to 30 minutes to collect your tickets, and then be in the boarding line at least 30 minutes before your scheduled boarding time. Each rotation takes about thirty minutes.
On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.
(All photos are available for purchase by clicking on the gallery link here. Thank you!)