Eying the 50 millionth person

By | Category: Travel news

The 50 millionth person will travel on the London Eye today. And that has been achieved in just thirteen years.

The Eye is the most popular paid-for attraction in the UK enticing just under 3.9 million people a year to look down on the architecture and sights of London. It seems a permanent feature of the south bank in London yet there was a time when it seemed its life would be limited. Initially the idea was that the British Airways Eye would be short lived and just available for visitor rides for a few years after the millennium was celebrated. After that thought ended, it was thought it would close when the rent for the ground it was stood on looked as though it was going to rise from £64,000 to millions. Was it due to the former mayor, Ken Livingstone, that it remained after he announced – during the rent row – that the Eye would remain?

Now it seems that the landscape would be odd without the Eye. Other cities in the UK and around the world suddenly saw its success and introduced their own Ferris wheels. Some succeeded with their attractions, some didn’t. The London Eye, though, boomed.

Now when the world celebrates the 120th anniversary of the very first Ferris wheel in Chicago in 1893, the queues to take a ride on the Eye seem as long as ever in summer and the recommendation is still that you book in advance. But I prefer to check the weather first and then decide even if I have to queue. In summer that’s only an option if get there early. Get there after ten o’clock or so and you could be there for a while. In winter I would certainly see what the weather had in store.

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