London's Top Attraction: The London Eye
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London's Top Attraction: The London Eye

Article about the Londone Eye. The top tourist attraction of the British capital with over 3 million visitors per year.

One of the major attractions in London is the London Eye. It is situated on a bank of the River Thames at the western end of the Jubilee Gardens and close to the Parliament. Over 3.5 million people are visiting the London eye every year and this makes it the most popular tourist attraction of the British capital.

Design & Construction

The construction of the Ferris wheel was completed in 1999 and was with 135 meters the biggest Ferris wheel in the world. The wheel carries 32 passenger capsules and each of these capsules has a weight of 10 tons and a capacity of 25 people. During the ride the passengers can walk free and enjoy the view. The wheel rotates with a speed of just under 1 km/h and one rotation takes around 30 minutes. The wheel does not top to take passengers on board and people have to step in and out while the wheel slowly passed the entry points on the ground.

The attraction was erected to celebrate the new millennium and was designed by architects David Marks, Julia Barfield, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, Steven Chilton and Nic Baily. The design won the Dutch National Steel Price in 2000. Although the attraction was finished in 1999, it was only opened for the public in March 2000.

The wheel is constructed in sections that are brought to its final destiny by boats. The wheel was then completed and raised to the upright position as it is today. Raising the wheel was done with a speed of 2 degrees per hour. The entire construction has a weight of 1,700 tons. Building the attraction was a truly European joint venture. The Dutch construction company Hollandia built the entire steel construction and the cables came from an Italian company. The bearings were made by FAG Schaeffler in Germany and the capsules came from Poma in France.

The London Eye is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe and the third largest one in the world. Only the Star of Nanchang with a height of 160 m and the Singapore Flyer with a height of 165 m, are bigger. The difference between the London Eye and the two other wheels is that the London Eye is only supported by one A-frame and the others have support frames at both sides.

Opening

The attraction was opened by Tony Blair on the 31st of December 1999 but public was not allowed to take rides until March 2000. The original plan was to make the attraction temporarily for five years, but the success persuaded the city to change the attraction into a permanent one as an addition to the other great landmarks of London. Since 2005 the attraction is the décor of the annual London New Year events.

How to get thereT

he attraction is easy to reach by underground, train, bus and boat.

By Underground – Closest tube station is Waterloo.

By Bus – Bus 211, 77 and 381

By Train – Closest railway station is Waterloo and Charing Cross.

Website: www.londoneye.com

Picture Credit: wikipedia

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