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London eye

The London Eye 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 warned!

For more details visit www.londoneye.co.uk

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