The London Eye: Fun Facts About The Capital’s Very Own Visual Organ
The EDF Energy London Eye is one of London’s most popular attractions, attracting around three million visitors every single year. In fact, it even gets more visitors than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza!
Construction began on the London Eye — originally named the Millennium Wheel — back in 1998, in order to celebrate the coming of the new millennium (along with other, less well-fated attractions such as the Millennium Dome – now the O2 arena).
The London Eye is not the first wheel of its kind to find itself in London. Its predecessor, The Great Wheel was built in 1895 as part of the Empire of India Exhibition. It’s estimated over two million people had ridden it until it was dismantled in 1907 (not so great now, hey).
The modern London Eye has prompted a similar level of enthusiasm. Check out these fun facts about the London Eye that are sure to turn your world upside down:
- The structure cost an astronomical £75 million to build but proved so popular that it had recouped its costs within just a few short months.
- It’s one of the highest viewing platforms in London, with only the viewing platform on the Shard rising higher.
- On a clear day, it’s possible to see a vast 40km (or 25 miles) in any direction from the top of the Eye — that’s as far as Windsor Castle (but not as far as France).
- It takes 30 minutes to complete one full rotation, moving at approximately 26cm a second (or 0.6 miles an hour), meaning it goes so slowly it never has to stop — not even to let people get on or off! They will, however, pause the rotation to allow disabled and elderly people to enter and exit capsules safely.
- The London Eye is lit up for special events. In December 2005, it was lit in pink to celebrate the first civil partnership to take place on the wheel. In April 2011, it was lit with a Union Jack to celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
- The 32 capsules of the wheel represent the 32 boroughs of London, although they are numbered from one to 33 (13 is missing for superstitious reasons, and rightly so!)
- Each capsule weighs approximately ten tonnes — that’s the equivalent of 1,052,631 one pound coins. It’s estimated that the whole wheel weighs around 2,100 tonnes — or 1,272 of London’s famous black cabs (excluding the cabbies)
If you don’t want to ride with strangers, you can hire your own private capsule. They also run events, such as London Eye weddings, cupid’s capsules, wine tasting rides, or the option to ‘create’ your own capsule.
Riding the London Eye is a great day out for anyone, whether you are young or old, whether you are with family or friends, or whether you are a tourist or a local. Whoever you are, it’s worth visiting our wonderful city and booking a ride today! And while you’re at it, why not pop in and see us!?
You can arrange a consultation here at London Vision Clinic by leaving us a comment, sending us an email, or giving us a call us on 020 7224 1005.