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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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.