Wednesday, August 20, 2014

View From the Top - the London Eye

The London Eye only opened in 1999, but has quickly become the UK's most popular paid tourist attraction, with over 3.5 million visitors every year!

The London Eye (aka the Millennium Wheel) stands on the south bank of the River Thames. It is a giant ferris wheel, offering travelers to London unbelievable views of the city. When erected over 15 years ago, it was the world's tallest Ferris wheel. Since, it was been surpassed by the Star of Nanchang, the Singapore Flyer and High Roller. It also offered the highest public viewing point in London, until The Shard opened to the public in 2013. From the top, travelers to London can see around 25 miles, as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day!

The London Eye was designed by architects Frank Anatole, Nic Bailey, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, and the husband-and-wife team of Julia Barfield and David Marks. It took seven years and the skills of hundreds of people from five countries to make the London Eye a reality.

The London Eye has 32 sealed and air-conditioned ovoidal passenger capsules, that each hold up to 25 people. The wheel rotates at a slow rate of 10 inches per second, which is slow enough to allow passengers to walk on and off the moving capsules at ground level without stopping the rotation. The wheel is stopped, however, to allow disabled and elderly passengers on and off safely. One revolution takes about 30 minutes.

The nearest London Underground station is Waterloo, although Charing Cross, Embankment, and Westminster are also within easy walking distance, making this London attraction easily accessible.

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