Today (Thursday) we had a pre-arranged “date” with the Pub Car at noon on The London Eye. The London Eye is of course the giant “Ferris wheel” along the Thames River. While technically not a Ferris wheel, it sure looks like it to me and the thousands of other tourists who take it daily.
I’d highly recommend doing this at least one time, and even better if you upgrade to a VIP themed car, such as the “Pub Experience” or “Champagne Experience”. Either way, make sure you arrive early for your London Eye departure time regardless of ticket type you purchase. For one it expedites check-in, and two there are awesome views for taking photos of Big Ben and Parliament Houses as well as the various Thames River Views.
I pre-booked tickets from home in Florida before we came to London to ensure availability, using the London Eye’s official site. It’s always a bit of a gamble not knowing what the weather will be like a few days in advance, but fortunately the weather cooperated with us and we had a wonderful experience. Here’s a link to the official London Eye website, that shows the different ticket options available. While the standard tickets start at £36.00, you can save 10% by booking it online and in advance. There are several other options available, including a “Fast Pass” for the standard tickets, or the premium Pub or Champagne car for £65.00 and £55.00 respectively (which includes the Fast Pass access). The Pub Car which we booked holds up to 12 passengers (the standard car can hold as many as 25), and the Champagne car holds up to 18 passengers. Both the Pub Car and the Champagne Car are considered VIP experiences, with separate checkin area and waiting lounge with Fast Access included as well.
The Pub car is themed like a pub, and includes 2 drinks on the single 30 minute rotation, while the Champagne car includes one glass of Champagne on the 30 minute rotation. The pub car was further specialty-themed this month due to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and was decorated throughout with photos of Her Majesty throughout the years, as well as small tables with coasters, a fancy working bar (your VIP host greets you on ground and also serves you aboard), books and other memorabilia, and actually feels like a fancy pub! The Pub Car even includes a dartboard with dart, which DOS and I played a couple throws as a ceremonial gesture.
We only had 8 passengers (including us), plus our VIP hostess/bartender, so it made for a jovial and uncrowded atmosphere. Ironically with all of the theming (and fun getting drinks!) the view was almost secondary as we climbed to the top, although the views were spectacular. The first round of drinks we chose between two of the Queen’s favorite drinks. DOS and I had the Gin spritzer, and if the Queen drinks that often she can really hold her own – it was strong, but tasty too!
Once we were at the top of the Eye, i.e. the highest point, we took a few photos as then were served our second drink, which was one of our choice choosing from the list; I had a brewski while DOS had a non-alcoholic fruit drink. We had ample time to finish our second drink on the way “down” to ground earth, and took lots more photos along the way.
The London Eye is in continuous motion, although it only moves at 1/2 a mile an hour, so it’s really a moving observation lounge rather than a Ferris Wheel. Was it worth the £130 pounds for two people? DOS and I thought so. While it’s almost double the standard fee (which you would probably want to pay extra to upgrade to a Fast Track access as well), the Pub Car really totally enhances the experience to another level; kind of a classy way to have a moving pub (in our case with a celebratory Queen’s Anniversary theming) if only for 30 minutes in the air.
After we got off the London Eye, we bought the photo package they offered for a very reasonable £25, which came with a photo-type book with our photos and information on the Eye; actually a very nice souvenir! Here’s a photo gallery of our Pub Experience at the London Eye.
Here is a full gallery of the photos we took in the Pub Car on The London Eye, which was decorated for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration.