Things to do in London

13 London Eye facts that make it a top-tier tourist attraction

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So, you think you've seen London? Not until you've taken a spin on the iconic London Eye, my friend! From its dizzying heights to its sparkling lights, the London Eye is more than just a chance to get a bird's eye view of the Thames. This isn't just a Ferris wheel, folks—it's an engineering marvel and a piece of modern art that has captivated millions. So buckle up, because we're about to dive into some of the most fascinating tidbits that make the London Eye an unforgettable part of London's skyline!

London Eye facts we bet you didn't know!

#1 Initially referred to as the 'Millennium Wheel', the London Eye was majorly funded by British Airways. People who were present for its grand opening often nostalgically refer to it by its original name, much like how the O2 arena is still remembered by many as the Millennium Dome.

#2 Once at the top, you can enjoy a spectacular 360-degree panorama, taking in views of up to 40 kilometers on a clear day, with Windsor Castle being the furthest landmark you can spot from here!

#3 The conception of the London Eye can be traced back to a competition in 1993 aiming to design a new landmark to celebrate the Millennium. The winners, architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, proposed this giant Ferris wheel. Their vision was brought to life on the South Bank of the River Thames and officially opened in March 2000.

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#4 With the height of 135 meters, The London Eye once held the title of the world's tallest observation wheel until it was surpassed by others. Today it's the fourth tallest and remains an iconic symbol, often compared to the likes of the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty in terms of its cultural significance.

#5 It’s still the world's largest cantilevered observation deck which basically means that it’s supported only on one side much like the arm of a crane, giving it a unique bicycle-like appearance.

#6 Originally, the London Eye was intended as a temporary attraction, with plans to take it down in 2005. However, the popularity it received from locals and tourists alike guaranteed its place as a permanent fixture on the London skyline. Its lasting appeal attracted corporate sponsorships, notably from beverage giant Coca-Cola and travel company

#7 The London Eye also has a special Royal Capsule called the Coronation Capsule, which was named in honor of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

#8 The London Eye boasts 32 high-tech capsules, each with the capacity to hold up to 25 people. You won't find a capsule numbered 13 due to superstition; the numbers go from 1 to 33, skipping 13 for luck.

#9 The London Eye attracts over 3 million visitors every year, making it one of the most popular paid tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. Symbolic for romantic occasions, it has been the setting for over 5,000 marriage proposals. Furthermore, it's also hosted more than 500 weddings since the first ceremony in 2001.

#10 Celebrity appeal also underscores the London Eye's prominence; American actress Jessica Alba is known to have taken 31 spins at the London Eye until now.

#11 Maintaining this iconic structure requires constant renovation to ensure its safety and functionality. As a result, many of the original components from when it was erected in 2000 have all been replaced or upgraded, much like Ship of Theseus.

#12 The London Eye has witnessed daring feats, including the famed magician David Blaine's full rotation standing atop one of the capsules in 2003. There was also an incident in 2004 when a man donned in a Spider-Man costume scaled the London Eye. Perched atop a pod for 18 hours, he aimed to highlight issues surrounding fathers' rights in the UK.

#13 The London Eye became a rotating nightclub for one night in 2013. Sponsored by Red Bull Music Academy, this unique event featured prominent figures from the UK's music scene, with Lily Allen, Mark Ronson, and Richie Hawtin among those who performed inside the 30 member capsule.

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