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London looks like an amazing patchwork of parks, squares and streets from a height of around 135 metres. While the London Eye may turn slowly, taking a trip on it is truly an experience. Each year, more than 3.5 million people enjoy incredible views across the city. On a clear day you can see for almost 40 kilometres – the whole of London is at your feet.
The London Eye was designed by the architectural duo of David Marks and Julia Barfield. They entered a competition to design the monument of the new millennium. None of the entries won the competition but the pair were determined that their plan should go ahead and eventually British Airways became the sponsor of the gigantic Ferris wheel.
Construction of the immense Ferris wheel took over 18 months. More than 1,700 tons of British steel was used, along with more than 3,000 tons of cement for the foundations. Prime Minister Tony Blair officially opened the wheel on 31 December 1999 but it was not yet ready for use on the first day of the new millennium. Due to technical problems, the attraction only opened to the public on 9 March 2000. The wheel has a capacity for 800 people, enabling up to 15,000 people per day to enjoy the view.
The London Eye was built to celebrate and commemorate the turning of the millennium and was originally named The Millennium Wheel. Initially, the wheel was intended to stay for 5 years but this was soon extended to 20 years. The enormous steel construction has since changed its name to the London Eye and has become a symbol of the city.
“Supermodel Kate Moss has visited the London Eye no less than 25 times”
The speed at which the London Eye revolves is so slow that the giant wheel does not need to stop for passengers to get on and off. A trip lasts approximately 30 minutes, allowing you ample time to see Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Visit the London Eye 4D Experience before boarding; this 3D film features spectacular aerial photos and films of London.