Wednesday, August 12, 2015

LightRocket via Getty Images

Although not as storied as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace, the London Eye has unabashedly become one of the city’s central landmarks. From appearances is Cars 2 to 28 Days Later, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix­ to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Millennium Wheel punctuates the city’s South Bank, and this year it celebrates its fifteenth anniversary.

Skirted by the river Thames, the Millennium Wheel, at 443 feet, began its life as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel—a title since usurped by the High Roller in Las Vegas. As the country’s most paid-for attraction, with more than 3.5 million visitors a year, its popularity is unparalleled.

“We are proud that the London Eye has become an integral part of our culture, as well as a much-loved symbol of London,” London Eye architects David Marks and Julia Barfield described in the release announcing the 15-year milestone.

If you added up the distance of every rotation it’s made, it totals 32,932 miles—equivalent to circling the globe 1.3 times. Supermodel Kate Moss holds the record as the U.K. celebrity who has circumnavigated the Eye’s path most regularly (25 rotations), while American actress Jessica Alba holds the overall winning record at 31.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Sir Richard Rogers described the Eye (now the Coca-Cola London Eye) as doing, “for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris.” With more than 5,000 proposals made in the sky since its opening, he might have a point.

Fun facts about the London Eye
  • As the UK’s official number one paid for attraction, the London Eye helps to drive over 25 million people to the South Bank each year.
  • If you add up each rotation the Eye has completed during the past 15 years, it has totaled an astonishing distance of 32,932 miles - (considering that the earth’s circumference is 24,901 miles, it means The London Eye has travelled around the world 1.3 times).
  • Over 5000 couples have proposed on the London Eye since opening in March 2000, most of these were in private Cupid’s Capsules accompanied by a host and Champagne.
  • The Olympic torch took a ride on top of the London Eye in 2012, held by 17 year old Amelia Hempleman-Adams, the youngest person to ski to the South Pole.
  • Supermodel Kate Moss holds the record for the UK celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations, standing at 25, and Hollywood actress Jessica Alba hold the record for the overseas celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations on the London Eye standing at 31.
  • On a clear day, you can see around 40km from the top of the Coca Cola London Eye - as far as Windsor Castle.
  • The London Eye has 32 capsules in total, one for each of the London boroughs. For superstitious reasons they are numbered 1 to 33, with capsule 13 left out for good luck.

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