Why Was the London Eye Built?

Cultura Travel/Dan Dunkley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The London Eye was built to commemorate the new millennium. The turning wheel is meant to represent the passage of time, and when it opened in March 2000, it was called the Millennium Wheel. Designed by Julia Barfield and David Marks, the structure is representative of a modern London.

The London Eye has been visited by millions of tourists since its opening, and it is considered to be the United Kingdom’s most popular tourist attraction. It has 32 individual capsules, each of which can carry up to 25 people. The wheel is in constant rotation, and passengers must enter each capsule by stepping from a platform to one of the slowly moving capsules.

The view from the London Eye is remarkable and serves to link together historic and present-day London. It is the largest monument of its kind in the world, and visitors can see up to 40 kilometers away in any direction. On the opposite bank of the Thames are such iconic landmarks as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace are also easily identifiable. Perhaps the most striking time to take a ride on the Eye is in the evening. Passengers can watch as the sun sets and the city takes on its glittering, nighttime glow.