Friday, 14 February 2014

A Flight On The London Eye

I frequent London on a regular basis, and Leo has come along to all sorts of wonderful events with me in our sparkling capital over the years. Throughout all of those visits though we have never taken him along to be mere tourists exploring the city that never sleeps. Each visit has always seen us hopping on and off trains, in and out of taxis on our way to wherever it is we are supposed to be. Therefore we have never really had the opportunity to experience London as you should experience it.

Now Leo is getting older and is at a great age to be experiencing new adventures we decided to introduce the idea of visiting the London Eye, otherwise known as the Millennium Wheel. A week or so before our impending visit to London, Leo saw the London Eye featured on Something Special when Mr Tumble paid a visit. Leo was really interested and seemed excited at the prospect, he began referring to it as the ‘Big Wheel’.

In terms of getting to the London Eye it is in prime location and is easily accessible by tube. Getting a taxi is easier than ever before with the Hail app that enables you to book a taxi with registered cabs within your local vicinity. We loved Hail while we were touring around London and found it a really helpful tool.

The London Eye is an experience that I have personally enjoyed on a few occasions, and at all different times of the year. The last time before our recent visit was exactly a year before Leo was born on the 27th June 2010. If only I knew that a year later I would be cradling my newborn baby in my arms for the very first time…

Arriving back at the London Eye with Luke, Leo and a pushchair in tow it was clear that times certainly have changed. We seem to come with so much more luggage these days and at this point we still had our suitcase as we were yet to drop it off at the hotel. Part of me worried that we wouldn’t be able to take it on board…

We had already reserved our tickets and just needed to collect them from London’s County Hall which is actually right by the London Eye. We actually faffed up the steps with the pushchair but if we had just walked around the side of the building we would have seen that there was a ramp to provide access for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Getting the tickets was easy even though the ticket hall was full of people, but it was nice to see that there were people on hand to ask any questions and point you in the right direction.

With our tickets we made our way out into the January climate and found our place in the line. We were informed that the wait would be about 20 minutes, and I was pleased that it wouldn't be much longer. Luckily we could still have Leo snuggled up cosy in his pushchair until just before we boarded the London Eye. Leo was really excited and beginning to get impatient, waiting for things to happen has never really been a strong point for my active 2 year old but he was kept amused when Daddy had to have our suitcase hauled through security checks. Luckily they were happy for us to take it on board once it had been cleared through the x-ray machine.

Just before we got to the boarding stage I got Leo out of the pushchair and folded it up so that we could make a quick dash onto the next available pod. Leo did really well hopping inside while holding my hand, and very soon we were slowly climbing up into the sky.

Everything below us grew smaller, people began to look like ants scurrying about below us, Cars and big double decker buses grew smaller still all the while whizzing around the dotted roads…

We were flying high now!

Leo is looking around and taking everything in. He’s flying. He’s flying just like Buzz Lightyear into the sky and he can see trains whizzing past on the Docklands Light Railway… Of course this captures his attention and he is more than happy to focus his entire being on this, until of course he spies a button that he could press. A button that is just out of his reach but with a bit of a stretch could be very feasible to push…

The emergency button…
Of course… The emergency button!
Only Leo..

I spy Leo reaching, teetering on his tip toes. Trying to muster the height to push that button. I suddenly feel like I am in slow motion. The words ‘Noooo’ leave my mouth but sound low and subdued. I run towards him with my hand outstretched to remove Leo’s anticipating fingertip from the button that he is very almost pushing… And successfully remove the toddler from sounding the alarm and of course save the day, and myself from a very embarrassing situation. I can just foresee the apology I would have to make for ‘breaking’ the London Eye…

You see this face!? well this face is a toddler who knows that he shouldn't press the button but will try with all his toddler mite. Suffice to say I kept a very watchful eye on my button pressing two year old as we gently flew around in our pod. Aside from this one near miss, Leo loved looking out of the window, seeing the Big Ben and watching the clouds roll by. While we were up there I could feel the wind picking up, and could sense that we were evidently in for some stormy weather.

The views from the London Eye are really something special and you see something new each time you make the flight. I was so excited to be able to take Leo on his very first London Eye experience and I know that the next time we pay a visit… times will have changed again. We will be able to leave the pushchair behind and take our very grown up boy to the skies again, where he will find a whole new appreciation for the experience.

Disclaimer: We were issued with tickets for our London Eye experience in exchange for my honest opinion.

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