It was the job of two visionary architects, David Marks and Julia Barfield, to come up with an astonishingly simple, yet amazingly creative structure to commemorate the Millennium in the UK, their idea was to be turned into the London Eye. They wanted to give London something that was physically beautiful, technologically innovative and would allow people the chance to see one of the world’s greatest cities from a new and exciting perspective.
Standing on the River Thames, at 443 feet (135 metres) high, The EDF London Eye, which has been said looks like a giant Ferris wheel, has now become a world famous landmark in England’s capital. There are 33 capsules in total, one for each of the London boroughs. For superstitious reasons capsule 13 has been left out for good luck. Each rotation takes approximately 30 minutes, meaning that a capsule travels at 0.6 miles (0.9 km) per hour – this slow rate of rotation allows guests to step on and off without the wheel having to stop.
I was booked into the 8.30pm slot, which is perfect in the summer if you want to experience London after sunset and the magic of the light changing over the beautiful city. I had a huge sense of anticipation as I stepped into the futuristic looking glass capsule and drew a deep breath as it slowly started to rise into the evening sky.
The first thing you notice is how the city starts to open up in front of you and how at every level you start to see London in a whole new light. I was amazed at how stunning everything looked from a great height, from the historic Houses of Parliament and St Pauls Cathedral, to the newest addition to London’s skyline, The Shard, which is now the tallest building in Europe.
The 360 degree view is really breath-taking and the 30 minute ride doesn’t feel long enough to really take in everything that the capital has to offer, near and far away. I cannot recommend the experience of taking a ride, on what has now been named ‘The Wheel’ highly enough and if you ever find yourself visiting London or like me already, you already live here, you must give it a go.
With an average of 3.75 million visitors a year, riding The London Eye is the closest feeling you’ll ever have to flying and with a view like that, you may never want to come down.