Happy Anniversary London Eye!
I always looked at this iconic structure from afar and because of my fear of heights avoided the tourist’s delight of taking in the sights of London from such a height! Anyway, I relented on 14th October, 2007 because I wanted to treat a friend. It was a pre-birthday treat and I decided that this would be a great opportunity to get a ride on the London Eye.
The day came and much to my own surprise I felt like I was going to get on an aircraft – no fear or was it Dutch courage? whatever it was I felt a sense of exhilaration the same feeling I had when I was going to do a helicopter tour of the Big Island Hawaii in 2005.
The London Eye was erected in March 2000. So many people must have entertained thoughts of the Eye being there for a short time. Others may have thought it is an eyesore. While others may have thought that it is going to be a white elephant against the London skyline. A disaster waiting to happen.
10 years down the road and looking back now, the Eye has established itself as good enough a tourist stop equal to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or the Houses of Parliament. It boasts not hundreds, not thousands but millions of tourists in its airbourne carriages (capsules). Some said that the Eye had more foreign tourists then domestic visitors but over the years the percentage has changed. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there are more domestic tourists visiting and enjoying the Eye than foreign tourists. This is what tourism should be all about – domestic tourism gives citizens the value for their taxes and attracts like-minded others from afar.
I braved my height phobia and what a great decision that was. From that vantage point I could see London, what a sight! Some photos which capture some of the stunning views of this beautiful cosmopolitan city.
For more information on tours of the London Eye and everything else about this tourism booster visit these websites: http://www.londoneye.com ; http://www.londontown.com; http://www.britainexpress.com; http://www.inetours.com just to name a few.
To complete this post I found these precious gems of interesting facts about London’s enduring ‘eye candy’ from the website:
“A TEAM EFFORT
It took seven years and the skills of hundreds of people from five countries to make the London Eye a reality
A VIEW FIT FOR A QUEEN
You can see around 40KM (25 miles) from the top as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day
The London Eye welcomes an average of 3.5 million customers every year. You would need 6,680 fully booked British Airways Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets to move that number of fliers!
The London Eye can carry 800 passengers per revolution – equivalent to 11 London red doubled-decker buses
Each of the 32 capsules weighs 10 tonnes. To put that figure into perspective, it’s the same weight as 1,052,631 pound coins!
SLOWLY BUT SURELY
Each rotation takes about 30 minutes, meaning a capsule travels at a stately 26cm per second, or 0.9km (0.6 miles) per hour – twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting; allowing passengers to step on and off without the wheel having to stop
THE ONLY WAY IS UP
The circumference of the wheel is 424m (1.392ft) – meaning that if it were unravelled, it would be 1.75 times longer than the UK’s tallest building – One Canada Square in Canary Wharf
TONNES OF FUN
The total weight of the wheel and capsules is 2,100 tonnes – or as much as 1,272 London black cabs!
UP, UP AND AWAY
The height of the London Eye is 135m (equivalent to 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other) making it the fourth tallest structure in London after the BT Tower, Tower 42 and One Canada Square in Canary Wharf
The spindle holds the wheel structure and the hub rotates it around the spindle. At 23 metres tall, the spindle is around the size of a church spire and, together with the hub, weighs in at 330 tonnes: over 20 times heavier than Big Ben“