||Standing proud in
London’s Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the
River Thames, the London Eye stands at a whopping 135
metres high and weighs 1600 tonnes. It has been operational
since January 2000 and is visited by people from around
the UK and the globe.
Visitors are treated to a gently paced half-hour ride
in the 32 space age enclosed glass capsules holding 25
people each, hopping on and off as the wheel moves. On
clear days views of some 25 miles can be seen. More and
more people are choosing to visit the Eye at nighttime
when the view of the city is perhaps at its most magical.
As the wheel takes you higher into the air you feel a
keen sense of anticipation and can enjoy spotting well-known
landmarks and buildings. Some to look out for are: The
Globe Theatre, The Imperial War Museum, The Oval Cricket
Ground, The Tate Gallery, Westminster Abbey, The Houses
of Parliament and Big Ben, The Tower of London, St. Paul’s
Cathedral, The National Portrait Gallery, Buckingham Palace,
The British Museum, and The Telecommunications Tower.
The architects of the London Eye are husband and wife
team Julia Barfield and David Marks, winners of a Millennium
design competition. David and Julia wanted to present
not just a monument, but also something celebratory that
people could participate in and enjoy. David researched
and developed the idea for a giant observation wheel and
Julia found the ideal site by drawing a circle round London
and finding the dead centre – Jubilee Gardens on
the South Bank.
Three years of work went into the project and the couple
hoped to have two-and-a-half years to construct the wheel.
However, by the time the finances were in place they were
left with only 14 months. In recognition of their work,
the imaginative design and the pleasure it is giving to
millions of people, the couple have been awarded the MBE.
It is well worth booking your tickets in advance for the
Eye as, even though the opening hours keep extending,
if you turn up without a ticket you may well find yourself
disappointed. To get a ride you either have to arrive
before opening time to secure one of the few same-day
tickets or run the gauntlet of the touts. You have been
For more details visit www.londoneye.co.uk