Located on the southern bank of River Thames, the London Eye is not just any other Ferris wheel. Rather, it is the tallest cantilevered observation in the world. It is a global icon. The 443 feet high London Eye was opened on March 2000 in order to celebrate the millennium, but it wasn’t meant to stay this long. Soon it turned into the most popular paid for attractions of United Kingdom. About 3.75 million people visit the London Eye each year. The bird’s eye perspective of River Thames, the long London towers, the streets and all its beauty are truly mesmerizing. The list of following facts will help you understand the enthralling details about the London Eye.
1.London Eye had a predecessor
Yes, a long time ago before the London Eye was ever made, there was another Ferris wheel called the Great Wheel. The Great Wheel was opened for public on July 17, 1895. It was 308 feet tall and carried 40 people at a time. It operated till 1906 and was demolished after carrying 2.5 million passengers.
2.Making of London Eye
In 1993, a competition was held asking people to give ideas in order to design a new landmark to celebrate the millennium. A husband and wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield came up with the idea of making the London Eye. The contest did not work well, but the couple’s idea sustained and the wheel opened on March 9, 2000. The complete construction of this huge Ferris wheel took a span of 7 years.
3.It is definitely gigantic
The London Eye is approximately 443 feet high and 1.392 feet in circumference, making it the fourth highest Ferris wheel in the world. The wheel is supported on huge A-frame legs made up of 2,200 tons of concrete on 44 concrete piles set 33 meters deep in the earth. The weight of the wheel itself is 1,000 tons. The wheel can carry up to 800 passengers at a time.
4.The one-of-a-kind experience
Unlike other Ferris wheels having open seating facility, the London Eye is far more comfortable. It has 32 closed capsules which have cooling and heating systems. These capsules are very spacious and have comfortable seating. The capsules are fully accessible by guests on wheelchair. It takes 30 minutes to complete a ride. The wheel moves at a speed of 0.6 miles an hour which allows passengers to move within the capsules in order to take a better look. From the peak height of 443 feet, it is possible to see up to 25 miles (40km) away. It is said that on a clear sunny day, without clouds, one can see Windsor Castle from the eye. Each capsule carries up to 28 people at a time.
5.The many names
When the London Eye was first opened, it was called the millennium wheel. Later, the name was changed to British Airways London Eye. In 2006, it was bought by Tussauds. This ownership was soon passed on to Merlin Entertainment, the name then changed to Merlin Entertainments London Eye. In January 2011, a deal was formed between EDF Energy and Merlin Entertainment, the name was again changed to EDF Energy London Eye. But after January 2015, the name has been changed to Coca Cola London Eye after an agreement with the Coca Cola Company. These may not be interesting London Eye facts for kids, but they are worth pondering upon.
6.No number 13
Number 13 is said to be unlucky. The little too superstitious makers of the London Eye have excluded the number 13 while numbering the capsules. There are 32 capsules in total, however, they are numbered from 1 to 33, leaving number 13.
7.Celebrities who love the London Eye
Apparently, Kate Moss, the U.K based supermodel, has been on the London Eye 25 times. The American celebrity who holds a record is Jessica Alba, she has been on the Eye literally 31 times.
8.Popular for love proposals
It is estimated that more than 5,000 couples have proposed on the London Eye since the year 2000 of its opening.
9.Book your own capsule
Yes, booking an entire capsule is possible. Private capsules can accommodate a minimum of three guests and a maximum of 25 guests. The cost is £500 per capsule irrespective of the people. Themed rotations are also an option. A chocolate-tasting experience offered by Hotel Chocolat will cost you £44.75 for an hour. A champagne-tasting rotation costs £970 for up to 20 people, or visitors can have a glass of champagne in a shared capsule, taking the total ticket cost to £35.04. There are also seasonal treats like Pimm’s and mulled wine tasting in store for you. If it fits your budget, it is also possible to have dinner on the London Eye. A three-course meal is served over three rotations which costs £5,000 per group.
London Eye is the most popular destination during the famous London’s New Year’s Eve firework show. Major events are celebrated at the London Eye by lighting it with a variety of colors. As one of the famous London Eye facts, it was lit up in the colors of the British flag i.e. red, white and blue in order to celebrate the wedding of Prince William with Kate Middleton. Usually, the London Eye is light up in blue, but in 2005, it was lit pink to celebrate the first Civil Partnership performed on it. The new lighting done on London Eye is power efficient and saves 69% more power than the previous one.
11.London Eye River Cruise
The London Eye also has a sightseeing cruise on River Thames. This cruise lasts for 40 minutes with live commentary about the city to life, presented by specialist guides. The London Eye River Cruise has won many awards including the prestigious London Tonight People’s Choice Award at the Visit London awards in 2005, as voted for by the public. The cruise departs from the London Eye and shows various landmarks on the river that include Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe as well as Westminster, Millennium and Tower Bridges. The boat is fully accessible for the disabled people. The most interesting feature about this cruise is the audio commentary which is available in number of languages like French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Mandarin.
12.London Eye and Films
Yes, many international films have featured the famous London Eye. Some of these movies include Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Wimbledon, Thunder birds, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream and well known TV programs such as The Simpsons, Doctor Who, Project Catwalk and The Apprentice.
A 30-minute ride on the London Eye not only provides a breathtaking view of London and its beauty but also gives you an unforgettable experience. Truly, this gigantic Ferris wheel is both an iconic structure and an engineering marvel. The London Eye River Cruise is definitely a cherry on top!
Don’t keep your kids waiting, plan a trip today.