It is difficult to imagine Southbank without the London Eye, the world's largest cantilevered Ferris wheel, which first started spinning in 2000 to commemorate the millennium. It was supposed to be a temporary attraction that would be taken down after five years, but its unwavering appeal has secured its survival. A trip – or "flight" as it is known here – in one of the wheel's 32 glass-enclosed eye-shaped pods takes 30 minutes and, weather permitting, offers views of 25 miles in all directions. The London Eye is a spectacle, but numerous interesting facts contribute to its popularity. Read on to know more about these interesting facts.
The London Eye, at 443 feet tall, is the world's fourth-largest Ferris wheel. The wheel's circumference is 1,392 feet, therefore it would be taller than the Shard if it were not a wheel. London being a fairly flat city, the London Eye is a prominent part of the city skyline at its impressive height.
The London Eye is now the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with over 3.5 million visitors per year. This puts the London Eye ahead of ancient global wonders such as the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, and the Great Pyramids of Giza in terms of yearly tourist footfall.
The London Eye can hold 800 people per revolution, which is the equivalent of the capacity of 11 red double-decker buses in London. With a maximum capacity of 25 people per pod, the London Eye is truly a great way to see the city without having to spend a lot of time waiting in a queue.
The height of the London Eye means that you can see far and wide from the capsule on a clear day. You will be able to see up to 40 kilometers or 25 miles from the London Eye including Windsor Castle Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium, Tower of London to name a few.
Each round takes about 30 minutes, which means a capsule travels at a leisurely 26 cm per second or 0.9 km (0.6 miles) per hour - just twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting. This sluggish rate of rotation allows guests to jump on and off without having to wait for the wheel to come to a halt.
The London Eye stands at a height of 135 meters (443 feet), which is equal to 64 red telephone boxes stacked on top of each other. This also means that the London Eye has a stupendous circumference. The London Eye will circle 7668 times in a year, covering a distance of 2300 miles from London to Cairo, Egypt.
In response to a 1993 competition inviting Londoners to build a new landmark to commemorate the century, husband-and-wife pair David Marks and Julia Barfield came up with the idea for the London Eye. The competition was a flop, but Marks and Barfield's concept was a hit, and the wheel debuted on March 9, 2000.
The structure was hoisted into place in September 1999 after being assembled flat and transported onto eight artificial islands on the River Thames. The 32 capsules weigh a total of 1 tonne. To put that sum in context, it is equivalent to 1,157,894 pound coins.
There are a total of 32 capsules, one for each of London's boroughs. They are numbered from 1 to 33 for superstitious reasons, with capsule 13 being left out for good luck. These capsules are capable of accommodating guests as well as their selfie sticks so that they can capture the moments.
The fact that the Eye is cantilevered, or supported on only one side, sets it apart from other Ferris wheels across the world. This is an architectural marvel in its own rights. Orlando's new Orlando Eye, which debuted this summer, has a similar construction.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, a passenger capsule was dubbed the Coronation Capsule on June 2, 2013. This royal capsule is easily recognizable on the London Eye and is colored red. To date, this is the only one of the 32 capsules that aren’t identical.
The London Eye, like the Eiffel Tower, was intended to be a temporary building that would stand on Lambeth Council's land on the Thames for about five years. Lambeth Council granted the Eye a permanent license in July 2002. A 25-year lease was signed on February 8, 2006, following a disagreement between the Southbank Centre (which owns the property beneath one of the struts) and the London Eye.
The New Year's Eve fireworks at the London Eye is a spectacular event. Just like the Sydney Harbour Fireworks, the marquee event at London's landmark is highly anticipated by the local residents and visitors alike. The nearby viewing areas host as many as 150,000 visitors every year before the fireworks.
The London Eye is one of the most famous destinations among visitors who want to propose to their partners. The observation wheel has witnessed over 5000 proposals in its lifetime. It has, understandably, been voted the most romantic spot in the UK. It is ranked behind only the Eiffel Tower when it comes to the most romantic spots in the world.
The London Eye is great for the environment. All oil used on this observation wheel is sustainable. The grease that is used on the moving parts do not harm the ecological balance of the river Thames. All cleaning products used on the London Eye are biodegradable and do not pollute the land, air, or water in its vicinity.
London Eye is the world's largest cantilevered Ferris wheel, which first started spinning in 2000 to commemorate the millennium.
The London Eye, at 443 feet tall, is the world's fourth-largest Ferris wheel. The wheel's circumference is 1,392 feet
London Eye ison the South Bank of the river Thames, opposite to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament.
The London Eye is nearly 25 years old.
Yes, London Eye can carry 800 people per revolution, which is the equivalent of the capacity of 11 red double-decker buses in London.
The total weight of the wheel and capsules of London Eye is approximately 2,100 tonnes.
You will be able to see up to a distance of 40 kilometers from atop the London Eye and witness attractions including Windsor Castle Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium, Tower of London to name a few.
The London Eye sees nearly 3.5 million visitors per year and is one of the most popular destinations in the city.