The London Eye is one of London’s top tourist attractions. This enormous Ferris wheel has fast become a major part of the city skyline, and draws visitors from all over the world, eager to see London from a unique viewpoint. While the attraction itself has already found great fame, few people know much about the London Eye. Here are six facts about London’s famous Ferris wheel which you may not have heard before…
It’s Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel
Until 2006, the London Eye was also the largest Ferris wheel in the world, but that title was snatched away by the 520ft Star of Nanchang. Today, it remains the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, which will not surprise anyone who has ever got up close to it. The London Eye can be seen from various vantage points around the city, and is so iconic that it’s naturally featured in lots of holiday snaps and promo photos of London. The exact dimensions of the Ferris wheel are 443ft, with a diameter of 394ft. However, despite its vast size, it doesn’t come close to being the largest building in London.
The capsules each have a theme
There are 32 capsules on the London Eye, and each of them symbolises a different London borough. Intriguingly, there is no capsule 13 because of superstitions surrounding the number. It takes just thirty minutes for each spin of the London Eye to be completed, and the wheel never stops to allow new people on during this time. Each capsule weighs about 10 tonnes, and there’s ample room for up to 25 people. Today, you can rent out a private pod for special events, providing a luxurious way to experience it during your stay at the Chilworth Hotel.
Millions visit each year
It’s estimated that around 3.5m people try the London Eye every year, and it’s now the city’s most popular paid tourist attraction. If you’re staying at a Paddington Hotel, you’re ideally situated to try it for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. From the top of the wheel, you can even see Windsor Castle, some 25 miles away.
Built to mark the new millennium
At a cost of around £70m, the London Eye was built to commemorate the turn of the new millennium, and was originally intended as a temporary exhibition. However, it proved popular enough to have real staying power. The London Eye moves at a leisurely pace, so it’s great for a gentle sightseeing activity after indulging yourself at a Paddington spa.
It wasn’t the first giant Ferris wheel in London
That title belongs to the Empire of India Exhibition, which featured the Great Wheel. Built in 1895, it was still on show until 1907, and around 2m people enjoyed a spin.
The London Eye looks like a bicycle wheel
The design of the Ferris wheel resembles the wheel of a bicycle, with steel cables to support each spoke. This creates a stunning aesthetic for the attraction, which makes it all the more impressive for visitors.