The London Eye

London Eye

Built in 1999, the London Eye, which is also known as the Millennium Wheel, was constructed in time for the new millennium and though it was officially opened on New Year’s Eve 1999 it didn’t start operating until March 2000 because of technical issues. Once it did start operating, the London Eye rose to become the biggest paid-for attraction in London and one of the most popular in Britain.

London Eye at night

flickr image by Anna & Michal

The original planning permission for the London Eye only ran for 5 years, meaning it would have to be dismantled and possibly moved to another location. Luckily though, due to the huge success of the Eye the permission was extended indefinitely, so the London Eye will be a permanent feature of the London skyline!

The London Eye is the largest Ferris wheel in Europe and at the time it was built it was also the largest in the world. Unlike most Ferris wheels at amusement parks which rotate quickly, the London Eye goes round extremely slowly (about 0.6 mph or 0.9kph or 26cm per second!), taking about 30 minutes to complete a full rotation and giving passengers plenty of time to marvel at the views.

The London Eye

Passengers stand or sit in a large pod, and at full capacity the London Eye can carry 800 passengers at a time, taking them to a height of 135 metres. On a clear day (which is the best time to go on the Eye!) you can see for as far as 25 miles (40 km), so that’s the whole of London and well into the surrounding countryside.

Tickets can be booked in advance or visitors can arrive on the day and buy a ticket for a ride, though this may involve a long wait if it’s a busy day.

River Thames

The London Eye is located on the South Bank of the River Thames. The nearest Underground stations are at Waterloo and Westminster , and both are within walking distance of the Eye.

Date posted: 3rd March, 2016

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