London Eye Facts: A Comprehensive Guide to the World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel

The London Eye is a well-known landmark that has been a part of London’s skyline for over two decades. Despite its popularity, many are unaware of the fascinating facts that surround this observation wheel. In this article, readers will discover 23 interesting London Eye facts that will impress even the most knowledgeable of London enthusiasts.

From tales of the ragtag team of part-time actors and dancers who worked there, to obscure facts about the big wheel itself, this article is sure to provide readers with a wealth of information about the London Eye. Whether it’s for a trivia night or just to impress friends, these facts are bound to come in handy at some point.

23 Interesting London Eye Facts

The London Eye is not a Traditional Ferris Wheel

The London Eye is often referred to as a Ferris wheel, but it is actually a “cantilevered observation wheel.” Unlike traditional Ferris wheels, the London Eye is supported by an A-frame only on one side, and the capsules are climate-controlled and do not hang down.

Ferris or No, It’s Europe’s Tallest Wheel

The London Eye is Europe’s largest wheel, standing at a height of 135 meters. It was once the tallest wheel in the world, but it has since been surpassed by wheels in the USA, China, and Singapore.

It’s Not London’s First Big Wheel

The London Eye is not the first big wheel in London. The first great wheel over London Town opened in 1895 as part of the Empire of India Exhibition. It was demolished in 1906, and it would be almost a century until Londoners got the thrill of another big wheel in the capital.

A Husband and Wife Team Designed the Wheel for a Competition

David Marks and Julia Barfield, a husband and wife team, designed the London Eye for a competition in 1993. The design was initially rejected, but it finally came to life as the Millennium Wheel in 2000.

It Might Be the Millennium Wheel, But It Missed the Party

The Millennium Wheel was supposed to celebrate the changing of the millennium, but it wasn’t ready in time. Although it was opened on New Year’s Eve in 1999, the public was not allowed to ride it until March 2000 due to safety concerns.

What’s with the Name?

The London Eye has had several names over the years, including the Millennium Wheel, the Merlin Entertainment London Eye, and the EDF Energy London Eye. Since 2015, its official name has been the Coca Cola London Eye.

The 32 Capsules of the London Eye Represent London’s 32 Boroughs

There are 32 capsules on the London Eye, each representing one of London’s 32 boroughs, such as Hackney and Camden.

But They’re Numbered 1-33, with No Unlucky 13

Despite there being only 32 capsules, they are numbered 1-33, with no 13th capsule due to superstition.

One of the Capsules is Named After Queen Elizabeth

One of the London Eye’s capsules was renamed the Coronation Capsule in 2015 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s sixty years on the throne.

The London Eye Receives More Annual Visitors Than the Pyramids of Giza or the Taj Mahal

The London Eye is London’s most popular paid attraction, with over 3.5 million visitors annually. It receives more visitors than other attractions such as Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Taj Mahal.

It Was Transported Piece by Piece by Barge Down the Thames

The London Eye weighs over 2,100 tonnes and was transported piece by piece down the Thames. It was then assembled and lifted into position over the course of a week.

It Was Only Supposed to Be Temporary

Despite being built to celebrate the new millennium, the London Eye was only supposed to be a temporary structure. It was granted a permanent permit in 2002.

But the Southbank Centre Nearly Vetoed It!

The Southbank Centre was not pleased with the London Eye’s permanent placement, as part of it overhung their property. They sued, but an agreement was reached where the London Eye pays £500,000 annually for the privilege of overhanging.

The Wheel Has Hosted More Than 500 Weddings and More Than 5,000 Proposals

The London Eye is a popular place for weddings and proposals, with over 500 weddings and 5,000 proposals taking place in its capsules.

It Lights Up on Valentine’s Day and Books Up Way in Advance

The London Eye is a popular destination for couples on Valentine’s Day, with the capsules being lit up in pink and red. Private capsules are available for those looking to splurge, but they book up months in advance.

It Also Celebrates Other Weddings

The London Eye celebrates other weddings and events, such as the Royal Wedding of William and Catherine in 2011.

The Wheel Doesn’t Go That Much Faster Than a Tortoise

The London Eye moves at a leisurely pace of 26 centimeters per second, making it slower than a tortoise in a race.

In One Year, the Wheel Travels the Distance from London to Cairo

Over the course of a year, the London Eye travels the distance from London to Cairo.

On a Clear Day, You Can See Windsor Castle from the Top of the Eye

On a clear day, visitors can see Windsor Castle from the top of the London Eye.

London Eye 101: Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Millennium Wheel

How Long Does it Take for the London Eye to go Around?

The London Eye takes about 30 minutes to complete a full rotation. The wheel moves at a leisurely pace of approximately 0.9 kilometers per hour, allowing visitors to take in the stunning views of London at a comfortable speed.

Why Was the London Eye Built?

The London Eye was built to celebrate the new millennium in 2000, although it was not completed in time for the actual celebration. Originally called the Millennium Wheel, it was designed as a temporary attraction but has since become a permanent fixture on London’s skyline.

Why is it Called the London Eye?

The London Eye’s name is derived from its unique design, which provides panoramic views of London from a height of 135 meters. Although it is not the tallest observation point in London, it offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of the city, making it a must-visit attraction for tourists and locals alike.

How Many Pods Are There on the London Eye?

The London Eye has a total of 32 pods, each capable of accommodating up to 25 people. Interestingly, the pods are numbered 1-33, with the number 13 being skipped due to superstition. The pods are spacious and offer a comfortable ride, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience of London’s skyline.