The London Eye, ‘take a ride in the sky’|GianFranco Belloli|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2018.06.29
  • The London Eye, ‘take a ride in the sky’
The London Eye is one of London's most beloved (and among its newest) symbols.
It offers breath-taking views of the city, a pleasurable break from the bustle of the city below and an unrivalled position from which to take photos of the river Thames.
From its top you can see many of the most famous tourist attractions in the city and, if you are not afraid of heights, it is one of the best things to do both for tourists and locals alike.
But there is much more than you think behind this huge “Ferris wheel” on the Thames.

The London Eye was inaugurated on December 31st 1999 (the English were not afraid of the bug of the year 2000) by Tony Blair himself but, due to technical problems, the public had to wait until March 2000 to take a first ride on the wheel.
In just over a decade the London Eye has established itself as an iconic landmark in the British capital, attracting more than 3.5 million visitors a year!
Some Londoners like to say that the London Eye is the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a landmark, an iconic monument that can take visitors to discover a breath-taking and unique view of the City.
The wheel advances at the speed of 26cm per second which means it goes very slowly and that is to allow its visitors to enjoy the ride more.
This way, the wheel does not have to stop to let people get on and off, making the ride smoother for all. The London Eye moves at a speed of about 1 kilometre an hour and it takes approximately half an hour to complete the tour.

I say “Ferris Wheel” using inverted commas because, technically speaking, the London Eye is a cantilever observation wheel. ‘Cantilever’ means that the wheel is fixed and supported on one side only.
The London Eye is indeed also the tallest cantilever observation wheel in the world.
It took 7 years and over 70 million pounds to build the London Eye.
The main components of the structure were built elsewhere and, once ready, were transported to the place where the wheel was then assembled.
In the past, the London Eye was called Millennium Wheel, but its name was later changed to its current, London Eye, in 2011 for reasons unknown.
On clear days (unfortunately rare in London) from the top of the London Eye you can see up to 40 kilometres in the distance and you can view the most distant suburbs of the city.
The capsules of the London Eye are numbered from 1 to 33, but in reality, they are only 32.
For reasons related to superstition in the Anglo-Saxon world, the number 13 has been left out as in most hotels and buildings where there is no room number 13 or floor number 13.
Each capsule represents one of the areas in London and each capsule weighs 10 tons and can hold up to 25 people.
The London Eye is the fourth tallest structure in London with its 130 meters of height and the circumference of the wheel is 400 meters.
The capsules of the London Eye are not only a great place to enjoy a panoramic view, in fact, you can do anything, such as a tasting of wine, chocolate or champagne.
You can rent a special couples capsule for proposals or just to have a romantic drink “alone in the sky.”
In the evening the London Eye is illuminated, but it can also give life to a real show of lights; for example, to celebrate the Royal marriage it was illuminated with the colours of the British flag.


Views from the London Eye



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  • GianFranco Belloli
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I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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