A relatively recent but already very popular tourist attraction is the London Eye, a giant observation wheel located in the Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank. The 135 meter (443ft) tall structure was built as part of London's millennium celebrations.
The structure was designed by the architectural team of David Marks and Julia Barfield, husband and
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.
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.
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,
have a great 360° view over London. Many famous
landmarks are clearly visible, including Buckingham
, St. Paul's
and the Houses
. 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.