London Eye

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The Merlin Entertainments London Eye (commonly the London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, formerly the British Airways London Eye) is a giant 135-metre (443 ft) tall Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames in the British capital.

It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually.[2] When erected in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until surpassed first by the 160 m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, and then the 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008. It is still described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel" (as the wheel is supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the Nanchang and Singapore wheels).[3]

The London Eye is located at the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Lambeth in England, between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. The site is adjacent to that of the former Dome of Discovery, which was built for the Festival of Britain in 1951.

Contents

Design and construction

The wheel carries 32 sealed and air-conditioned egg-shaped[4] passenger capsules, attached to its external circumference, each capsule representing one of the London Boroughs.[5] Each 10 tonne[6] capsule holds 25 people,[4] who are free to walk around inside the capsule, though seating is provided. It rotates at 26 cm (10 in) per second (about 0.9 km/h or 0.6 mph) so that one revolution takes about 30 minutes. The wheel does not usually stop to take on passengers; the rotation rate is slow enough to allow passengers to walk on and off the moving capsules at ground level.[6] It is, however, stopped to allow disabled or elderly passengers time to embark and disembark safely.[7]

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