Europe's tallest Ferris wheel offers new views of a great city, writes David Leggat.

If occasions can be matched to music, a trip on the London Eye is an easy pairing: The Byrds' I Can See For Miles.

That's the perfect theme tune for the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, 135m high, which has offered a new perspective on London and its changing skyline.

The Eye sits on the southern side of the Thames River, across the road from the Houses of Parliament and close to Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster Bridge tube stations. It's a short walk to the Royal Festival Hall and National Theatre.

The first tip: If you emerge from Westminster station you'll find arrows pointing left to the Eye. Ignore them. Go right, across the bridge, and you'll be there in half the time.

Second tip: Get there early. The Eye opens at 9.45am. Travel groups arrive about 11am. It is not a morning to have a lie-in.

If you're interested in buying multi-attraction tickets, which also cover the likes of Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeons, join the lengthy main queue. But if you are only doing the Eye, bypass the multi-ticket queue and head for the less obvious ticket line inside the County Hall office. Then move on with a smile to queue for the ride itself which, when we were there, consisted of only about eight people.

Each of the Eye's 32 capsules, shaped like giant throat lozenges, holds about 25 people and there's a good amount of room to walk about as it completes its circle, which takes about 25 minutes.

The wheel doesn't stop for passengers to get on and off, except for people with disabilities or special circumstances, so you need to be ready to move.

We were quite impressed to note that once everyone had disembarked the capsule, two people with long sticks went in and appeared to give the windows a quick wipe for the next sets of eyes. But, on closer inspection, these people turned out to be wielding bomb-detection devices, making sure nothing had been left behind.

The capsules are clean and air-conditioned, and afford stunning views of the great city. Admittedly we were lucky because it was a clear, sunny morning. I wouldn't recommend it as an excursion for a foggy day. One trick worth remembering: when you step into the capsule, move to the right. That will give you an unimpaired view north and west, while the giant spokes impair the line of sight on the other side for the first 10 or so minutes.

Height can lend a fresh perspective. From on high, the curve of the Thames is far more pronounced than might have been assumed.

And although Hyde Park's great expanse of green is a landmark, the sheer volume of park land is surprising, too.

Cranes dot the landscape. Buckingham Palace is just across to the west; off in the distance there's Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium and the rebuilt Wembley Stadium; down below sits Waterloo Stadium with its long, curved roof.

The spread of the city is impressive but, for all that, the feeling is that it does not look as large as you know it to be.

Time passes quickly. "You will shortly be landing," intones a woman's automated voice. "Remember to take your belongings with you as you leave the capsule."

It is a flight worth taking.

CHECKLIST
Getting there: Air New Zealand has daily flights to London.

Getting around: For information about travelling the UK by train see britrail.com.

London Eye: You can find out about the ride at londoneye.com.

Further information: For ideas about visiting the UK see visitbritain.co.nz.

David Leggat rode the London Eye with help from Air New Zealand and Visit Britain.