These Astonishing Facts about the London Eye Will Bend Your Mind

Fact about London Eye
The London Eye is an architectural marvel that graces the banks of the River Thames in London. It is said that the wheel of the London Eye is three times as tall as the Tower Bridge and four times wider than the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
Did You Know?
It is said that, on an average, the London Eye receives more visitors every year than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid of Giza.
London is one of the cities with stunning architectural beauty, reminiscent of the old world. But in stark contrast to the Westminster Abbey and the Westminster Bridge in the backdrop, stands the London Eye. The idea of building the London Eye was pioneered by an architect couple, David Marks and Julia Barfield. The couple envisioned the idea of a Ferris wheel where people could sit and enjoy a beautiful view of London. The project was financially funded by the British Airways and The Tussauds Group.

Today, it is fully owned by Merlin Entertainments Group, which is the parent company to The Tussauds Group. Other valuable contributions for constructing it came from:

  • The Construction Management Company: Mace
  • Steelwork Contractor: Hollandia
  • Consulting Engineers: Tony Gee and Partners, who designed the foundation works
  • Marine Works Design: Beckett Rankine
Hundreds of people from 5 different countries worked on London Eye for 7 years till it was finally erected. The London Eye had its formal opening ceremony on December 31, 1999 at the hands of then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, but was opened to the public only on March 9, 2000.
It is truly a modern breathtaking spectacle, and the view from the London Eye is even more spectacular. This makes it a popular fixture in the travel itinerary of anyone visiting London. So, if you are planning a vacation to London and visiting the London Eye, here are some cool facts, which you would like to know.
Interesting Facts about the London Eye
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London Eye: At Night
◈ London Eye had a predecessor called the Great Wheel which was modeled on the lines of the Chicago Ferris Wheel. It was built specially for the 'Empire of India Exhibition' at Earl's Court. It was in a working condition from 1895 to 1907, after which it was demolished.

◈ The London Eye (previously known as the Millennium Wheel) was one of the structures built in Britain to celebrate the new Millennium. The other structure was the Millennium Dome.
◈ The London Eye has been called the Millennium Wheel, British Airways London Eye, and Merlin Entertainments London Eye. Since January 20, 2011, owing to a three-year sponsorship deal, it is now known as the EDF Energy London Eye.

◈ On a clear, sunny day, a person inside the London Eye capsule can see up to a distance of 40 km, as far as the Windsor Castle.
◈ The total expenditure to build the London Eye was around £75 million. However, it booked huge profits in the first few months itself and recovered the expenses.

◈ It is one of the most popularly visited, paid attractions in Great Britain. It is said that the London Eye is visited by an average of 3-3.5 million visitors every year.

◈ The capsules are air-conditioned, and seats are also provided for the passengers to sit. The passengers are allowed to walk around and enjoy the view.
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London Eye: At Daytime
◈ Each capsule is designed in such a way that it gives a 360-degree viewing angle to the passengers.

◈ The official capacity of each of the 32 capsules is 25 persons. This means that the London Eye can carry a whopping 800 people at a time!

◈ It revolves at a stately speed of 26 cm per second (0.9 km per hour), which is twice the speed of a tortoise sprinting. It takes 30 minutes to complete one revolution.

◈ It is said that the wheel turns approximately 60,000 times every year.
◈ The total weight of the wheel is estimated to be around 2100 tons, with each capsule weighing about 10 tons.

◈ The circumference is 424 m, and if straightened and held upright, it would be almost 1.75 times taller than the tallest building in the United Kingdom.

◈ Even without being unraveled, the current height of the London Eye is 135 m, making it the fourth tallest structure in London.

◈ The diameter of the London Eye is 120 m.
◈ The spindle that holds the wheel and the hub rotating around the spindle weigh about 330 tons, which is 20 times the weight of Big Ben.

◈ There is an A-frame which supports the wheel in its vertical position at a 65° angle from one side only. This helps in positioning the wheel over the river and supporting it from the bank.

◈ The wheel has 64 spoke cables and 16 rim rotations.
◈ Since February 2004, it is kept open on the night of Valentine's Day, so that couples can enjoy a romantic ride as well as a lovely view of London.

◈ It does not stop to take on passengers, as the rate of rotation is slow, and passengers can easily walk in and out of the capsules at ground level. However, it is halted in case a disabled or an elderly passenger wants to board or get off the capsule.

◈ For good luck, the 32 capsules are numbered from 1 to 33, with number 13 being left out.
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Close-up of London Eye Capsule
◈ It is an iconic building and a focal point for London's New Year firework display.

◈ It was also lit up in the colors of the Union Jack on the occasion of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April, 2011. A similar celebration was repeated to rejoice the birth of the Royal Baby, Prince George in July, 2013.

◈ The London Eye was lit in pink color in December 2005 to mark the celebration of the first Civil Partnership performed on the wheel.
◈ In the year 2009, Merlin Entertainments started a pre-flight 4D Experience, the cost of which is included in the ticket price.

◈ A passenger capsule was named as the 'Coronation Capsule' on June 2, 2013 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
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◈ One of the interesting facts for kids is that the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer―released in 2007―featured the monument in its opening sequence. The London Eye also appeared in the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2007.

◈ Apart from this, the London Eye has also been featured in few Bollywood movies and animated films.

◈ Supermodel Kate Moss has visited the London Eye 25 times, which is higher than any other celebrity in the United Kingdom.
The ticket rates are standardized and not costly at all. There is a special discount for children between the age group of 4 to 15 years, and there is no ticket available for children under 4. Also, booking tickets online is advisable, as they come at a further discounted rate. A ride in the London Eye is a great experience, and one that you wouldn't want to miss during your next trip to the city!