London is unlike any other in so many ways; it remains to be a top destination found in every wish or bucket list, even by people who are not much of a traveller. Why? Because it is London! It is a coveted city for its shopping, nightlife, history, amazing diversity in its people, and finally its famous sights – the Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and of course, the London Eye.
The London Eye is the Eiffel Tower of London, a symbol and a landmark of the city capital, which is a must-see during a London holiday. The giant observation wheel is also called “The Millennium Wheel” having been built in 1999.
Interesting Facts to Know about the London Eye
- The Biggest Shocker: The London Eye is often described as a giant Ferris wheel, it is not. It is a cantilevered observation wheel, the tallest in the world at 135 meters or 443 feet, and loftiest structure in the city. Its predecessor was The Great Wheel used between 1895 and 1906; it was demolished in 1907 after carrying two million people.
- A Scenic Location: It is to be found in the Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank and can best be admired when you’re on the south side of the Thames River, nearby Big Ben.
- A Couple’s Dream: The design was made by a team of husband and wife, David Marks and Julia Barfield, as contestants for a competition to create a landmark for the coming millennium. Though nobody won the contest, the British Airways agreed to sponsor the design of the couple.
- A Landmark Indeed: The construction of this millennial landmark took a year and a half using 1,700 tons of steel for the wheel and more than 3,000 tons of concretes for the base.
- Just For Luck: The great wheel has 32 capsules representing the London boroughs and numbered 1 to 33. Why 33? There is no capsule 13. Each can carry 25 passengers or a total of 800 people in each rotation.
- A Giant at a Baby’s Pace: A complete turn of this giant observation wheel takes 30 minutes or at an unhurried pace of 26cm per second. It is so slow it doesn’t need to make a full stop for the passengers to get off.
- Sweeping the London View: It has glass capsules that allow the passengers enjoy a sweeping 360 degree view of the city and its attractions (Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle. Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, etc.) extending to as far as 40km (25 miles) on a clear day.
- Time is Gold in London: Avoid wasting time, get your tickets in advance. You may also get tickets online. If you want to avoid very long queues, go for a ride at night when the sights are even more impressive.
- Welcome New Year with a Bang! This Millennium Wheel is the venue for the celebrated New Year’s Eve firework show in London. Every year it is colored differently to commemorate important milestones – pink in 2005 to celebrate the first Civil Partnership and the colors of the British flag (red, white, and blue) in 2012 to revel the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Typically, it has a blue hue.
- It’s in Everyone’s Wish List: This landmark gets about 3.5 million visitors a year, more than the number of tourists visiting Taj Mahal or the Great pyramids of Giza.
More Reasons to Visit London
Though the London Eye is a great attraction, you can’t fail to be thrilled by the city’s other amazing offerings for entertainment and one of a kind attractions to shopping and restaurants.
- The very Best theater scene: Your night spent in London can’t be complete without watching long-running broadways, classic plays, musicals, or new productions over at the West End Theater.
- London’s iconic skyline: The city’s skyline keeps changing, yet it has always remained unforgettable with its spectacular views and new additions. Make sure to go up at some high point like the London Eye to get that far-reaching view of the city.
- “Shop ‘till you drop:” How can you not love shopping in this shoppers’ paradise where you’ll be spoilt for wide-ranging options. Do names such as Harrods, Selfridges or Stratford and Westfield ring a bell?
- It’s a green city: London, despite its modern lifestyle, managed to preserve some beautiful, renowned gardens within its perimeter – Kew Gardens, Hyde Park, Royal Parks, Richmond Park, St James’s Park, and Hampstead Heath in North London among others.
- Water, water everywhere! There is the Thames River and London canals such as Little Venice and Regent’s Canal that give tourists and locals a naturally spectacular view. Beat the traffic by joining river tours and by taking river bus services.
- It’s a top spot for sporting events. London is a popular site for major sporting events. It is home to several world-class sporting venues – Lord’s Cricket Ground , Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium and more.
- Stop by at its famous museums: London is also home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world – Tate Modern, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and more. Meet a luminary at Madame Tussauds and come face-to-face with some of the world’s most priceless treasures at the British Museum or meet with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.
This is not the end of the list. Always there is something new that’s popping up in London. No matter how often you visit, there is always something novel for you to experience in this city.