Friday, 25 June 2010

A Sunset Flight on the London Eye

01 Houses of Parliament
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Remember when I took part in the Gumtree MyCommunity contest a month ago?  (I posted my entry here: part 1 ¦ part 2).  On the evening of the prize giving, we were told to meet outside the London Aquarium.  I snapped some photos of the Houses of Parliament but could hardly bear to look behind me at the London Eye.  I had a secret hope that we were going to “fly” on the London Eye that night and I didn’t want to tempt fate.

02 London Eye
The London Eye

Imagine my absolute glee then when the nice PR people from @1000heads told us that we were indeed going on a surprise sunset “flight” on London’s most stunning attraction, The London Eye.  (No, now is not the time to be snarky about my favourite London attraction – you know how fond I am of the London Eye).

03 London Eye pod
A London Eye-pod (iPod, get it??)

There were ten blogger finalists in our pod and their guests plus staff from both the PR company and Gumtree as well as waiters from Merlin Entertainment, the people who run the London Eye.  Why waiters?

04 Champagne in the London Eye
Champagne on the London Eye

Oh, didn’t I mention that it was a champagne sunset flight?  I felt really charmed that night, I really did.

05 Hungerford Bridge and Millenium Walkways
Hungerford Bridge and Millennium Walkways

The views from the London Eye are amazing.  This is the bridge that leads into Charing Cross rail station.

06 London Eye Pod
Another London Eye-pod

The people in the other pods were really interested in us! I guess they wondered why we were so special and why we got champagne and hors d’oeuvres.  Of course, they might have just been trying to get a decent pod shot like me.

06 North - Charing Cross Station and BT Tower
Charing Cross Station and BT Tower

Looking towards the north, that is the Charing Cross rail station you can see in the foreground and the famous BT Tower in the background.  What an amazing view! I haven’t seen London like this before.

07 - East - Waterloo Station and Strata
Waterloo Station and Strata

Looking towards the east, you can Waterloo rail station (that is the wavy building on the front left).  And you can see one of my favourite buildings in the background.  Let me help you out:

07 East - Strata 1
Strata

Strata is the beautiful black and white building in the distance there.  It is situated in Elephant and Castle which is just down the road from my work.  It is the tallest residential building in London and has wind turbines in the top to offer sustainable living. 

08 South Thames River
Looking south on the Thames River

The view to the south gives a gorgeous view along the Thames River.  I am often impressed by how pretty this concrete snake of a river can be.

09 County Hall 1
County Hall

You get a dizzying view of County Hall as you begin to descend.

09 County Hall 2
Steeple and weather vane on County Hall

I think that is called a steeple.  Any suggestions?

The main attraction for me lay on the other side of the river though…

10 Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament

What a sight! If you look carefully, you can just see Battersea Power Station peaking out behind the back tower there.

10 Big Ben
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Even with the scaffolding it was still great to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from this perspective.

11 Buckingham Palace and London Parks
Buckingham Palace and London Parks

The sun was setting in the west and it was burning fiercely!  I struggled to look in that direction never mind take photos!  In the photo above, you can make out Buckingham Palace in the centre surrounded by St James Park, Green Park and Hyde Park in the background.

12 Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

I felt a bit like a spy taking a photo of the Ministry of Defence!!

11 Whitehall Court
Whitehall Court

Whitehall Court is actually quite exquisite.  I would love to take some decent photographs of it one day.

13 London Eye
London Eye

We all met up at the Slug and Lettuce for the prize giving afterwards.  I didn’t win but the excellent Jon Choo received a £500 Gumtree gift voucher for his entry on St Albans.  That was picked by the client, Gumtree and there were prizes for most comments too. 

At the end of the evening, my colleague Amana and I made our way back to Waterloo station and paused to take one last photo of the London Eye.  What a fabulous experience!

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22 comments

  1. Looks like you had an amazing time...

    I especially love going to attractions, events or concerts when its for free and they throw in lots of nice food and drink...its a tough life being a London blogger sometimes..!

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  2. Oh the London Eye was one of my favorite places in London! I'm so glad that I went at sunset as well when I was there! It's a shame that the flights don't last longer.

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  3. Emm what a great prize and some great photographs from one of my favourite London attractions.

    I have had two flights but on both occasions the weather was not ideal.

    Champagne too!

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  4. I'm not usually afraid of heights, but being in one of those pods would probably give me an anxiety attack of some sort.

    Beautiful pictures, Emm.

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  5. Fabulous views, great photos, decent champagne.. what more could a person ask for? By the way, can anybody get champagne in the pod or do you have to be a special prize winner?

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  6. A perfect blog Emm. Stunning photos. I am always surprised how beautiful London really is when looked at in the right way.

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  7. Awesome Shots.
    The closest I have been with London Eye was a shot with it in the background. :(

    Must have been an amazing view from up there. :)

    Cheers

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  8. So you showed us the whole city! I've had a great time with your photos and your comments on this post, Emm. The Eye-pod on the top is a bit frightening, but I'm sure these pods are comfortable now that I've seen one here.
    Thanks for these views!

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  9. Great pics. Maybe some day, I'll get to visit.

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  10. How nice of them to offer a free ride to the contest entrants and with champagne too! What an amazing view and photos! I felt like I just rode it too from looking at your photos. If I ever make it to London, I would take a ride too.

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  11. Great pictures and a wonderful vantage point to take so many great images.

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  12. What a fablous experience! I like the special champagne ride on the London Eye. It does be London Eye, I could see the several different views form the pod. Congrates on your winning prize.

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  13. looks pretty similar to some of the pics in my collection! :-) I took a lot of my pics during my trip in the London Eye. But yea ur County Hall pic is awesome!

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  14. WOW totally amazing views of the City and beyond, I need to get up there myself.

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  15. Beautiful photos, Emm! Every time I walk by the Eye I think, "I should do this one day!!!" But my gosh, I am scared of heights. I am so glad to take this virtual flight with you, though ;-)

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  16. lovely pics as always - enjoyed seeing Battersea power station peeking out!!

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  17. Oh the London Eye is amazing!!
    Fabulous views, photos!! Hall pic is stunning!!
    I'm always in awe of your pictures, Emm :)

    Hope you're having a wonderful Sunday!
    Big hugs!
    ~B xx

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  18. Ooops! County Hall!
    And congrats on your winning prize.
    ~B xx

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  19. What a great (and well-deserved) treat! And the photos are wonderful! I never got the chance to go up in the Eye when I was in London, but now I feel I don't have to!

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  20. love the iPod joke - it's the kind of thing I'd say and laugh hysterically and everyone would be looking at me like..what?

    Great picture of the pod on top of the Eye. It looks like you had to do something very dangerous to get that picture!

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  21. Congratulations on the champagne sunset flight! I know I would have been one of the curious and envious onlookers from one of the other pods.

    Your photos are fabulous and has inspired me to redouble my efforts to plan for our 30th wedding anniversary trip (remember, my wife was born in Cambridge.)

    I will be using your Isle of Wight posts as another compass in my planning.

    Best regards from the U.S.

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  22. Thank you everyone for your comments! It was such an amazing experience going up in the London Eye and certainly something I would like to do again.

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