The London Eye – 5 Fascinating Facts About this Popular Tourist Destination
The London Eye is easily one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK, pulling in over 3.75 million visitors every year. This massive “Ferris Wheel” was once one of the tallest in the world and through the years has continued to cement its popular reputation.
Though you may have heard of this amazing attraction or even visited it before, here are some fun facts to think about when you happen upon this giant wheel in the future.
Europe’s Tallest “Ferris Wheel”
At the time it was built, back in 1999, the London Eye stood as the tallest “Ferris Wheel” in the world, with a height of 135 metres. Today, it’s placed as the 4th tallest behind the Star Nanchang, the Singapore Flyer and the High Roller. It can still claim that title in the continent of its origin though. The London Eye was also once the highest public viewing point in London though it lost that title in 2013.
You may be wondering why all mentions of “Ferris Wheel” thus far by been under quotations, well, the answer to that is that the standard Ferris Wheel is supported by frames on both sides plus the carriages hang below. The London Eye on the other hand only has a frame on one side and the carriage jut out of the wheel’s rim.
It was Meant to Be Temporary
The London Eye was initially planned to only stand for 5 years on the Lambeth Council’s grounds on the banks of the Thames. However, in July of 2002, it was granted a permanent licence by the Lambeth Council.
Later in February of 2006, the result of a dispute between the London Eye and the Southbank Centre, which owned the land beneath one of the struts, was an agreement of a 25-year lease that has the London Eye provide at least £500,000 to Southbank Centre every year.
The Parts that Make it Up come From All Over Europe
While the design team for the project was from the UK, the parts needed to actually build the thing were pulled in from all over Europe.
The wheel was built in The Netherlands with steel from the UK, cables from Italy, bearings from Germany and the London Eye’s iron spindle and hub were cast in the Skoda Factory within the Czech Republic. The capsules for the carriages were made by Poma in the French Alps and the glass for the pods in Venice.
There’s One Royal Capsule
In June of 2013, one of the passenger capsules was named the Coronation Capsule to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
It has had Different Names Over the Years
Another name by which the popular attraction has been referred to is the Millennium Wheel. Though officially speaking, the current name for it, since January of 2015, has been the Coca-Cola London Eye, admittedly, no one really calls it that.
Its previous official names include, due to its various owners and sponsors, British Airways London Eye, Merlin Entertainment London Eye and EDF Energy London Eye.
The Capsules are Oddly Numbered
There are a total of 32 capsules on the London Eye, said to represent London’s 32 Burroughs. However, the numbering for the capsules is slightly odd, going from 1 to 12 and then 14 to 33, skipping over unlucky number 13.