London city View seen from the London Eye
London Eye, London
A Landmark for the new Millennium
The structure was designed by the architectural team of David Marks and Julia Barfield, husband and wife.
They submitted their idea for a large observation wheel as part of a competition to design a landmark for the new millennium.
None of the entrants won the competition, but the couple pressed on and eventually got the backing of British Airways, who sponsored the project.
Construction of the observation wheel took more than a year and a half to complete. In the process over 1700 tonnes of steel were used for the structure and more than 3000 tonnes of concrete were used for the foundations.
Side view of the London Eye
The futuristic looking capsules, accommodating up to 25 passengers, were transported all the way from France by train through the chunnel. Each egg-shaped capsule is 8 meters long and weighs 500kg. The 25 meter (82 ft) long spindle was built in the Czech Republic. The rim has a diameter of 122m (400ft), about 200 times the size of a bicycle wheel. 80 Spokes connect the rim with the spindle.
London seen from the London Eye
The Observation Wheel
The observation wheel turns slow enough for people to embark while it is moving. A complete turn takes about 30 minutes. Thanks to the construction of the glass capsules on the outer side of the rim,
London Eye Capsule
the passengers have a great 360° view over London. Many famous landmarks are clearly visible, including the Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament. On a clear day you can see as far as 40 km (25 miles).
Make sure you get your tickets in advance, lines can be very long, both the lines for embarking and for ticket purchases. It's less crowded at night when the views are even more spectacular.
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