The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel that sits along the River Thames in London, England. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and it’s considered a “must-do” when paying a visit to England. However, there’s more to this interesting structure than it just being a mammoth Ferris wheel. Keep on reading to learn 20 looping facts about the London Eye.
Fact 1: The London Eye is a revolving observation wheel, located in London, in the borough of Lambeth.
- It is also known as the Millennium Wheel and is one of the largest observation wheels in the world.
Fact 2: At an overall height of 443 feet, the London Eye was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel from 1999- 2006.
- Today, the title of being the world’s tallest Ferris wheel belongs to High Roller, which has a height of 550 feet, and is 520 feet in diameter. The High Roller was opened to the public in 2014, and it is based on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, United States.
Fact 3: It’s one of London’s most popular tourist attractions with 3.5 million people visiting the Eye annually.
- A small-scale model of the London Eye can also be found in Legoland Windsor, which also features models of the Palace of Westminster, the Millennium Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.
Fact 4: The Ferris wheel is supported by an A-frame on one side only. This type of structure provides the wheel with great strength and durability.
- The A-frame is what sets the London Eye apart from the several other mammoth Ferris wheels around the world like the Star of Nanchang, and the Singapore Flyer.
Fact 5: It’s the brainchild of David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects.
- What is now called the London Eye, was originally an entry submitted by Marks and Barfield in a competition in 1993. The aim of the competition was to come up with a new landmark to commemorate the millennium in London.
Fact 6: Its construction began in 1998.
- Much of the funding was provided by British Airways. Construction began in 1998, and the wheel was put together over the river, in a horizontal position, before being pulled upright.
Fact 7: On December 31, 1999, the London Eye was formally opened by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
- However, the attraction did not open to the paying public until March 9, 2000, because of a capsule clutch problem.
Fact 8: The London Eye was originally just a temporary attraction.
- But in December 2001, operators submitted an application to Lambeth Council to give the London Eye permanent status, and the application was granted in July 2002.
Fact 9: By June 5, 2008, roughly 30 million people had ridden the London Eye.
- During the holidays, the London Eye attracts hundreds of thousands of Londoners and tourists alike line the banks of the Thames for a chance to get inside a capsule for a whizz around the capital London Eye style.
Fact 10: The Ferris wheel’s design is similar to that of an enormous bicycle wheel.
- It features a central hub and spindle connected to outer and inner rims by cable spokes. Its steel design forms an “A” shape, with two large tapered legs at the base: 65 feet apart and each over 190 feet in length.
Fact 11: The London Eye rotates at a speed of 26 centimetres per second, which means one revolution will take you about 30 minutes.
- The Ferris wheel doesn’t stop to take on passengers, but since its rotation is so slow, passengers can simply walk on and off the capsule when it’s at ground level.
Fact 12: Mounted on the wheel are 32 ovoid “capsules,” which can carry 25 passengers at a time.
- The capsules are numbered 1 to 33, with no capsule number 13 for superstitious reasons.
Fact 13: Each capsule on the wheel weighs 10 tons or a hefty 20,000 pounds.
- In 2013, one of our capsules was named the Coronation Capsule. This was to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Fact 14: In 2010, the London Eye was turned into a pop-up restaurant manned by world-famous chefs.
- Each night a capsule was taken over by a different chef, these chefs included Richard Corrigan (Corrigan’s Mayfair), Georgio Locatelli (Locanda Locatelli), Tong Chee Hwee (Hakkasan), Francesco Mazzei (L’Anima), Gordon Ramsay (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay), Joel Antunes (Brasserie Joel at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge), Atul Kochhar (Benares), Mark Hix (HIX), Gary Lee (The Ivy), Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud), and Angela Hartnett (Murano).
Fact 15: Allegedly, on a clear day you can see the Eiffel Tower in Paris from the London Eye in London.
- Paris is roughly 300 miles away from London, so you’d certainly need a pretty clear day to see the tower… or maybe Pinochio’s been on the London Eye!
Fact 16: The best time to visit the wheel is apparently around sunset.
- You’ll have a different experience at this time because you’ll not only see the city as it comes alive in the night but actually, there’ll be less of a queue!
Fact 17: The Eye is open in most weather conditions.
- Obviously, there are occasions when it closes, but come rain or sunshine the ride is usually open… but you can’t complain about the lack of view though if there’s fog!
Fact 18: A lot of A-list celebrities have been on the London Eye.
- Jessica Alba has been for a spin 31 times already, and the English model, Kate Moss has gone on the ride 25 times.
Fact 19: More than 5,000 people have said “I do” on the Eye since it opened.
- More than 500 weddings have also happened there, with the first one taking place in 2001.
Fact 20: In 2013, Red Bull Academy turned the London Eye into a rotation nightclub.
- More than 80 artists performed as part of the event, which celebrated UK club culture.