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Travel and Leisure

Top Ten Facts About the London Eye

Ten Facts About the London Eye

Unless you live under a rock, you would know what London Eye is. The London Eye epitomizes the feisty and vibrant spirit of London. It is an observation wheel located on the South bank of the River Thames in London.

Because of its popularity, the London Eye forms an important part of every London hop-on hop-off bus tour.  

It is one of the top-listed UK attractions. It also holds the distinction of being the tallest observation wheel in Europe. The London Eye has been the backdrop of many scenes in movies all over the world.  

Did you know the famed Ferris Wheel- London Eye- is not a Ferris Wheel? 

It is a ‘cantilevered observation wheel’, supported only on one side. It is the largest wheel in Europe and the fourth largest worldwide! 

If you ever find yourself in London, you should definitely pay a visit to the London Eye. The entire ride takes 30 minutes and gives you some of the most panoramic views of the city. 

Here are the ten most fascinating about the London Eye that would make you want to book the London Eye Tour. 

The London Eye is an observation wheel, not a Ferris Wheel 

The London Eye is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a Ferris Wheel. 

The Eye is supported on only one side by an A-frame. The capsules are on the outside of the wheel rim.  

Unlike other Ferris Wheels, the London Eye does not stop to allow the passengers to board and deboard. It, in fact, rotates at a slow speed. When it is at the ground level, people are able to board it.  

It consists of 32 capsules 

The London Eye has 32 capsules each representing the 32 London boroughs. The capsules are numbered from one to thirty-three. The number thirteen has been omitted because of the superstitions attached to it. 

It is a popular London tradition to omit the 13 number while marking buildings or floors of apartments. Similarly, the London Eye also does not have a 13-number capsule. Whether the superstition makes sense to you or not, this is the norm there. 

The London Eye is not the tallest building in the UK 

The London Eye is 443 feet tall. However, that does not make it the tallest building in the United Kingdom or even in London. For the record, the tallest building in the UK is The Shard. It is 1,004 feet high. The circumference of the London Eye is 1392 feet. So if London Eye was not a wheel, it would have been the tallest building in the UK.  

The London Eye was constructed to mark the new Millennium 

The London Eye was submitted as an entry to a competition in 1993.

It was the brainchild of husband-and-wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield. The competition was sponsored by the Sunday Times and Great Britain’s Architecture Foundation, for a new landmark commemorating the beginning of the millennium.  

The construction began in 1998. The wheel was inaugurated by then Prime Minister- Tony Blair on 21 December 1999.

But it was only on 09 March,2000 that it got its first paying commissioner. The Wheel was constructed to mark the onset of the millennium but did not technically open during the millennium. 

You can rent the capsule for events 

At some point during the London Restaurant Festival, the Eye transformed into a pop-up dining spot.

Ten patrons in one capsule were served meals prepared by celebrity chefs- Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud. Each of these patterns paid a pretty penny- upwards of $30,000 for a dinner of a lifetime! 

The London Eye has also become a top engagement spot 

The makers would not have imagined it but the London Eye has become a top engagement spot. It has seen the engagements of more than 5000 people since its opening.

Some of the proposals are just usual, run-of-the-mill affairs but some are extremely extravagant- followed by a colorful flash mob. You can do the same in a private capsule.

It costs you 360 GBP and champagne is included. The London Eye has also seen more than 500 weddings. The first one was in 2001.  

The London Eye has been known by many other names 

The name London Eye suits the attraction because it gives you an impressive view of the city.  It is quite literally the ‘eye of the city’. It gives you panoramic views of the city from dizzying heights.  

However, the London Eye was not always called the ‘London Eye’. When it first opened, it was named the ‘Millennium Wheel’ to mark the beginning of the new millennium.  

The wheel has been called other names as well depending on the sponsors. It was called the British Airways London Eye; the Merlin Entertainments London Eye; then the EDF Energy London Eye. 

In 2005, its name was changed to Coca-Cola London Eye after a partnership was signed with the global soft drink company. 

The London Eye is not the UK’s first observation wheel 

There was another observation wheel in London in the 19th century. It was built in 1895 as a part of the Empire of India exhibition.

It was in operation for almost eleven years and more than 2.5 million people were able to enjoy its services. The wheel was called the Gigantic Wheel. 

It attracts millions of visitors annually 

More than 3.5 million people check out the Eye every year. It is now Britain’s most popular paid attraction. The record for hosting the most number of free visitors is held by the British museum. 

The London Eye attracts more visitors than Stonehenge, Taj Mahal, and the Pyramids of Giza. The London Eye not only attracts the common people but also celebrities. Kate Moss has been on the wheel at least 25 times, and Jessica Alba, 31.  

The London Eye lights up during memorable events 

The Wheel was illuminated with red, blue, and white lights to mark the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

It lit up in pink lights to mark the legislation of gay civil rights partnership. It even lights up on international events like New Year’s. It has also been illuminated to highlight the beginning of important events in London.  

London Eye is one of the iconic London attractions. It epitomizes the creative human spirit and encompasses within itself all the chic London qualities.

If you want to visit this contemporary masterpiece then you can book London Eye tickets with Hop on Hop off Plus. You’ll get here various London Eye tour options.  

Nicolas Mathew

Nicolas Mathew is a storyteller & a travel writer at Hop on Hop Off Plus. He loves to talk & share about his travel guides, knowledge, and travel life experiences specially about hop on hop off London and various iconic attractions in London. Being a passionate traveler, he has been fortunate to visit more than 5 countries and still has many more visits. He loves to share his travel guides, knowledge, and travel life experiences.

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