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Since first opening 15 years ago in 2000, the London Eye has become one of the world’s most iconic landmarks, and it’s now hard to imagine South Bank without it. As the UK’s number one paid for visitor attraction, each one of its 32 capsules offers unrivalled 360 degree views over London and is now one of the most identifiable features of the capital’s skyline.

A source of pride for the whole country as well as the capital, the London Eye has much more to offer alongside its inspiring views and exquisite engineering. The attraction has become an internationally recognised symbol for London, and a hugely popular filming location; it also played an integral role within the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic, Games, highlighting its iconic place amongst the capital’s historic treasures.

The attraction was featured in both the opening and closing ceremony, whilst also playing host to The Olympic Torch, which was displayed on top of one of the 32 capsules.

London Eye architects David Marks and Julia Barfield said: “It is hard to believe that 15 years ago we conceived, designed, led a team of architects and engineers, and started a new company to create something that is now as much a part of London today as Tower Bridge or Big Ben. We are proud that the London Eye has become an integral part of our culture as well as a much loved symbol of London.”

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the London Eye, and of one of the best places to visit in London, here are 15 things about her you probably didn’t know!

15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the London Eye

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  • As the UK’s official number one paid for attraction, the London Eye helps to drive over 25 million people to the South Bank each year.
  • If you add up each rotation the Eye has completed during the past 15 years, it has totaled an astonishing distance of 32,932 miles – (considering that the earth’s circumference is 24,901 miles, it means The London Eye has travelled around the world 1.3 times).
  • The Olympic torch took a ride on top of the London Eye in 2012, held by 17 year old Amelia Hempleman-Adams, the youngest person to ski to the South Pole.
  • Over 5000 couples have proposed on the London Eye since opening in March 2000, most of these were in private Cupid’s Capsules accompanied by a host and Champagne.
  • Supermodel Kate Moss holds the record for the UK celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations, standing at 25, and Hollywood actress Jessica Alba hold the record for the overseas celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations on the London Eye standing at 31.
  • The London Eye’s 4D show features the first ever 3D aerial footage of London and the Mayor of London’s NYE fireworks.
  • In January 2015 the London Eye welcomed a new sponsor – Coca Cola.
  • On a clear day, you can see around 40km from the top of the Coca Cola London Eye – as far as Windsor Castle.
  • The London Eye can carry 800 passengers per rotation, equivalent to 11 London red double decker buses.
  • The London Eye has 32 capsules in total, one for each of the London boroughs. For superstitious reasons they are numbered 1 to 33, with capsule 13 left out for good luck.
  • In one year the London Eye will rotate 7,668 times, or 2,300 miles – as far as from London to Cairo.
  • The circumference of the wheel is 424m (1,392ft) – meaning that if it were unravelled, it would be about 1.25 times higher than the UK’s tallest building (The Shard, which is 308m tall).
  • The height of the London Eye is 135m (443ft – equivalent to 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other).
  • Since opening in 2000, the Coca-Cola London Eye has welcomed almost 60 million visitors and has won over 40 awards for national and international tourism and engineering achievement, as well as numerous people’s choice awards.
  • It took seven years and the skills of hundreds of people from five countries to make the London Eye a reality.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo Credits: Featured by Martin Hesketh. Instagram shots (all square photos) courtesy of Official London Eye. Radiant London by Alan Perestrello. Pinterest Images by Martin Hesketh & Steve Jurvetson.

    24 Comments

  1. Haha… Great post, found myself smiling a couple of times, even kicked myself that when I lived in London for a year, I didn’t ride the London eye. Guess I’ll just have to get back so I can tick that bad boy off the list.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve done it twice now, and the views really are just awesome. Would love to head back though and book in for one of the champagne capsules – was pretty impressed with the general admission that they don’t cram too many people in, though would still be awesome to experience a whole capsule to yourself :D!!

      …And I may have thrown money at the tacky tourist photo that they snap of you before you head on in :D I figured it was one of the most iconic landmarks so a cheesy and overpriced tourist snap from the shop was worth it on this one account :D

      Hope you can get back to London soon!!

  2. So gorgeous! I can’t wait to get there and see the views for myself.

    • Views are absolutely amazing at night in particular, so I highly recommend booking in for a run once the sun goes down :) Once the skyline lights up and you’ve got Parliament and Big Ben reflecting in the Thames – it’s magic!

  3. Damn, I lived in the UK for more than a year and never done the London Eye but only a few of its little brothers in York and other areas. I’ll have to do it once!
    I love the fact that so many people got engaged in there! I bet that’s a hell of a romantic view and one beautiful setting to do that!

    • Isn’t it just! Re the romantic view! Especially when you’ve got a whole capsule to yourself and watching the sunrise with a glass of champagne – that’s sure to be a 100% recipe for success :D

      Hope you have the chance to take a run on the Eye soon Marie :) I’ve done it a few times now on different visits to London and really loved it :)

  4. We’ve been to London twice, but we didn’t ride the London Eye. Lots of cool facts in your post, And 800 passengers.. Wow!

    • I know, isn’t that crazy!! So many people! Which is cool too though because you really don’t feel too crowded in there, so they handle the crowd management really well for such a popular tourist attraction :)

      Hope you have the chance to head back to London for a ride soon!

  5. I’ve never ridden the London Eye, but I have been on the new Orlando Eye that just opened here…. somehow it seems less impressive lol.

    • Ooooh you have to when you’re in London next!! Nothing beats the real thing :) Lol I had no idea they had just opened a version in Orlando – will have to check it out when I’m in Florida next :)

  6. I only took my son on the London Eye a few months back, even though we live here, and we loved it – such a great way to see the sights, as we loved that you saw different things depending on where you were on the cycle. Great facts here too!

    • Absolutely just as good for locals as it is for tourists :) Glad you took the time to head on out for a ride Sarah!

  7. We enjoyed the London Eyes the one time we did it, and it helped that the day was sunny. Not big on the price or the long queues. Ineresting to see all these random facts about the Eye!

    • Glad to hear that Samiya! Definitely helps having a sunny day – the views are the best part of the trip :) The price and the queues definitely take away from the experience if you get it on a bad day crowd wise, though I genuinely believe this is one of the things you absolutely should not miss when you head to London :) Absolutely worth it in my view :)

  8. I’ve been to London several times, but have only seen the Eye from afar. Maybe next time I should pay more attention. Good info!

    • Definitely make a stop by the Eye the next time you’re in town – aim for a sunny day and the views are just incredible. Happy travels Pola!

  9. This is inspiring. And impressive for a landmark that is actually only 15 years old.I like the fact about proposing, I had no idea.

    • So glad you enjoyed the facts Zof :) Totally impressive for such a popular landmark to be only sitting at 15 years old! Feels like it’s been part of the Southbank landscape for much more!!

  10. Great post! I didn’t realise they had Cupid Capsules! That would be perfect for a romantic evening! The pictures and facts definitely make me want to go back and ride it again someday!

    • Thanks Kim! How great of an idea are the Cupid Capsules! You should definitely head over to London for a romantic getaway and book one of these! :)

  11. Ooh – this ticked all my geeky boxes. Super stats… thanks for collating them xx

    • I’m so glad Elle! :D I love a little fact splurge myself :D

  12. One thing I didn’t realize about the London Eye is that it doesn’t stop! I had to jump on and off while it was (slowly) moving. Not so bad with a brawny staff member nearby to catch us as we tripped off!

    • That’s true too Lesley! Took me by surprise also the first time I went on … it would be interesting to catch a blooper reel of the most ungraceful exits!!

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