Today the EDF Energy London Eye reached an impressive milestone by welcoming its 50 millionth visitor.
Just over 13 years ago in March 2000, the London Eye opened its doors to the public for the first time and has since welcomed everyone from homeless charities to Royalty and guests of all ages from countries all over the globe, on the 135m high observation wheel.
To commemorate the milestone, London Eye staff greeted the Anderson family, as they prepared to board and treated them to a special celebratory Champagne Experience in their own private capsule.
In the past 13 years, the London Eye has become the symbol of modern London, hosting the New Years Eve fireworks each year since 2001, being the centrepiece for the Olympics closing ceremony and turning red, white and blue for the birthday of HRH Prince George, positioned proudly at the heart of everything happening in the city. It has become as synonymous with London as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, or the Opera House in Sydney.
Originally only due to open for five years, people the world over have taken the London Eye into their hearts and the great wheel has now been granted lifelong permission in its position on the South Bank of the River Thames.
Being a feat of engineering, innovation has always been a priority at the London Eye and the experience continues to be improved upon. Over the years a 4D cinema experience has been introduced, capsules have been upgraded to improve air temperature control and reduce overall carbon emissions, as well as the introduction of interactive touch screen guides in several languages, giving guests more information on the breathtaking views. Exciting new products such as a Pimm’s Experience and Dining at 135, a three course dining experience, are also now on offer giving guests plenty of reasons to return, with an impressive 24% of guests currently doing just that.
David Sharpe, Divisional Director at Merlin Entertainments, commented: “To reach 50 million visitors since our opening in March 2000 is a testament to the popularity of the London Eye, a structure that has become one of the most recognisable and well-loved sights in the London skyline. It is now as integral to the capital’s silhouette as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament and we are very proud to reach this milestone. London is the best city in the world and the London Eye is the best place to see it from; we are looking forward to welcoming the next 50 million guests in the years to come.”
EDF Energy London Eye – Facts and Figures
* In one year the London Eye will rotate 7668 times, or 2300 miles, as far as from London to Cairo in Egypt, home to other wonders of the world. This means that since opening, the London Eye has turned more than 30,000 miles; 1.2 times around the world and one eighth of the distance to the Moon.
* The circumference of the wheel is 424m (1,392ft) – meaning that if it were unravelled, it would be 100m taller than the Eiffel Tower.
* The height of the London Eye is 135m (443ft – equivalent to 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other), making it the sixth tallest structure in London after the BT Tower, Tower 42, 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), One Canada Square in Canary Wharf and the Shard.
* Supermodel Kate Moss holds the record for the UK celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations, standing at 25, and Hollywood star Jessica Alba holds the record for an overseas celebrity that’s enjoyed the most rotations, standing at 31.
* The London Eye receives more visitors annually than ancient wonders of the world like the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and even the Great Pyramids of Giza
* Only capsule number two has a special name: the Coronation Capsule, which was re-named in June 2013 to honour the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
* Since opening there have now been 5000 proposals (that we know of), 512 weddings, 22 civil partnerships, and over 1.5million glasses of Champagne consumed on the London Eye – one of the most romantic locations in the world.
* The London Eye featured in the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics as Daniel Craig flew past in a helicopter with the Queen, and a representation of the London Eye was central to the Olympics closing ceremony.
* The London Eye donates an average of £800,000 to charity each year as part of the section 106 agreement.
* The London Eye has played a significant role in the regeneration of the South Bank which is now a cultural hub and has the highest foot fall in London, over 22 million people per year.