We would be surprised if there were any people in Europe or even beyond who hadn'Â?Â?t heard of this well known city. The sights and attractions are limitless: from historic buildings, theaters, arts, the Royal Family, world class shopping and business facilities to a lively and vibrant night life consisting of pubs, clubs, and wine bars. One of the more recent attractions, well worth a visit, is the London Eye. A giant Ferris wheel located on the banks of the River Thames. The wheel is 443 feet high and 394 feet in diameter. It may surprise a lot of people to know that it is now the most popular tourist attraction in the UK, as well as one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world with an incredible 3.5 people visiting annually.
The actual construction of the wheel was quite a feat in itself. The wheel was constructed in sections and floated up the Thames by barge to then be assembled lying flat on platforms in the river. Once the wheel was complete it was lifted into an upright position by a strand-jack system. The wheel was gradually raised by 2 degrees per hour until it reached 65 degrees, remaining there for a week until the engineers were ready to lift to the final position. The total weight of steel that makes up 'The Eye' is 1,700 tonnes. The wheel rotates at 26 cm per second and one revolution takes about 30 minutes, the rotation is slow enough to allow passengers to get on and off safely without actually stopping. Each of the 32 air-conditioned capsules weighs 10 tonnes and holds 25 people, whilst champagne evenings can be organised to make the most of the fantastic views of a London all lit-up.
The views of greater London from the Eye on a clear day are quite spectacular; stretching from Big Ben and the Parliament buildings to King'Â?Â?s Cross and Waterloo railway stations. The Eye could eventually do for London what the Eiffel tower did for Paris. Getting to the wheel is really quite easy with Waterloo the nearest underground station. Connections with National rail services are made at London Waterloo Station. London river services stop at the nearby Waterloo Millennium Pier or you could travel by road by arranging a tour with Coach Hire. No visit to London should miss a trip to the Eye.