Every city across the world has some or the other unique place of its own which apart from being its landmark also tend to be a favourite tourist destination too. In case of London, one such place is London Eye – it is a Ferris wheel which is used as an observatory to view the skyline of the entire London city. The London Eye, inaugurated in the year 1999, is a round structure of height 135 metres which has a diameter of 120 metres. It is a standout in being the biggest Ferris wheel existing in the entire Europe. Another name of the London Eye is also the Millennium wheel.
The London Eye is a major tourist destination of the United Kingdom and receives about 3.5 million visitors every year. As part of a sponsorship agreement, it is now being called the EDF Energy London Eye and also takes an important part in hosting a number of important events being held in London. The exact location of the London Eye is on the Southern Bank of the Thames River and nearly opposite to the Westminster arena.
The London Eye has been a combined effort of seven architects, namely Frank Anatole, Nic Bailey, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, and the couple duo of Julia Barfield and David Marks. To make the design a success high tension steel cables were used to make the rim of the London Eye thereby giving it a look of a bicycle wheel. The structure has been further adorned by LED lights which make it look glorious during the evenings and during important events. The entire London Eye seems to be floating on the Thames River with the help of the flat platforms beneath it.
In order to make London Eye an observatory, there are 32 capsules 10 tonne which carry passengers in their sealed and air-conditioned compartments. These capsules are attached to the outer circle of the wheel and get rotated with the help of an electric motor. As the compartments of the capsules are surrounded by sealed glasses and they have seating arrangements too so, the tourists can easily roam about or sit to have a panoramic view of the entire London city and its attractions like the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and so on. The movement of the wheel is very slow and it takes about 30 minutes to complete one rotation. This ensures that the ride is not uncomfortable for tourists of any age.
Apart from being an attraction on its own, the London Eye is also the venue for the spectacular London Fireworks which take place every year on the New Year’s Eve. It is currently under the ownership of the Merlin Entertainments’ group and has particular entry timings as well as entrance charges too. The best way of accessing the London Eye can be walking from the tube stations of Waterloo, Embankment, or Westminster. There are also Thames cruises which cover this wonderful destination.