The London Eye

This page is about the newest big London attraction -The London Eye, the world's highest ferris wheel! It is sponsored by British Airways and has a height of 135m. It is situated right at the south bank of Thames, just opposite from Westminster and central London, right next to County Hall. After it arose in 1999 it has not only become London's most popular attraction, it is now the most popular tourist attraction in the world, beating both the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty! It consists of 32 different glass capsules, offering 360 degrees views of London and its surroundings.

I always thought about it as the main attraction of this London trip, since it wasn't there the last time I visited London (in 1999). But it opened later the same year, that of course was a little bit annoying. But on the new 2005 trip, we decieded that nothing could stop us. The first time we tried to take a ride, the tickets where sold out. So we came back on the last day of our trip to get up, just after visiting British Museum, because the sky was starting to get blue again after a terribly grey day. It costed about £12 per person to take a ride for me and my girlfriend. It moves very slow and one "flight" as they prefer to call it takes approximately 30 minutes.

At the time we was in London, we heard terrible news about The Eye: The future of The Eye was uncertain. The easiest way to explain, is to citate Emporis:

"Part of the land on which the Eye sits belongs to the Southbank Centre, who were demanding an annual rent increase from £65,000 to around £2.5m and the Eye had been threatened with eviction should the rental demand not be met. Indeed, interest had been expressed by the French who were keen to hijack what is officially the world's most popular tourist attraction and ship it to Paris where it would be erected in the city's centre as a centrepiece for their 2012 Olympic bid. London's mayor, Ken Livinstone has waded into the fray by threatening to use a compulsory purchase order to acquire the land, thus allowing the Eye to stay."

It is so high it has become a plain part of London's skyline. The County Hall and the tall Shell Centre are just to the right of the wheel.

Some of the 32 capsules as seen from the ground. The windows and the roof are made of glass to give a maximum view. They measure 8 metres in length and 4 metres in diameter. They can together accommodate 800 people and afford a view of 40 kilometres (25 miles) when the weather is good.

The following pictures are taken through the trip in chronological order:

The capsules are hanging right above Thames. You have to enter the capsule right above Thames while the wheel is moving, so it doesn't have to stop all the time.
This caused a feeling of getting a little bit dizzy when getting off the wheel.

To the north: Charing Cross Station, British Telecom Tower, Euston Tower and CentrePoint (that also could be seen from our hostel room).

Crystal Palace Transmitter in the distance, one of London's tallest structures. It is a mast situated in the outskirts at the site of the old legendaric Crystal Palace.

The shadow of the wheel on Jubilee Gardens right below.

Shell Centre with Waterloo Station in the background.

Charing Cross Station and Waterloo Bridge.

Central London skyline.

Kings Reach Tower with Tower 42 and Swiss Re in the background.

Above Waterloo Bridge.

Southwark Towers (the future site for London Bridge Tower) and Guys Hospital(the world's tallest

hospital) with Canary Wharf's skyline dominated by One Canada Square in the background.

Shakespeare Tower, Lauderdale Tower, Cromwell Tower, CityPoint and St Paul's Cathedral.

Vicoria Tower with Battersea Power Station and Chelsea in the background.

Houses of the Parliament.

Right down on Jubilee Gardens.

Cleopatra Needle.

Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

To the south towards Lambeth Bridge, Vauxhall and Millibank Building.

County Hall.

The Eye at Thames after dark.