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London Eye, Big Ben

Five things you might not know about the London Eye

Around 3.75 million visitors take a turn on the London Eye every year, but there’s more to it than the 32 capsules and amazing views. Read on to find out more

By Time Out editors

One of London’s most iconic sights is also one of its newest arrivals. It’s 350 years younger than St Paul’s Cathedral, for a start. Still, the London Eye has proved a huge hit since it opened to the public in spring 2000. Any visit here begins with a thrilling 4D film so you know a little bit more about the sights you’re going to see, then you head onboard for your cruise through the air.

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Five interesting facts about the London Eye


The grease used to keep the wheel moving smoothly is edible. We wouldn’t recommend you spread it on your toast, but it is edible. That’s to ensure that any birds perching on it and having a peck will come to no harm.


Workers can climb to the top via the two ‘A’ frame legs, one of which has a very slow lift, and the other has lots of steps. The technicians regularly have races to the top.



The Eye's wheel can travel at different speeds. Usually it travels at a gentle 26cm per second or 0.9km (0.6 miles) per hour. But this is only around 80 percent of its capacity – in order to complete one rotation in 30 minutes. At its fastest, it can complete a rotation in 20 minutes.


The London Eye can also go backwards.



The movie ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ featured a rather spectacular scene around the London Eye, with plenty of CGI-created drama. One of its stars, Jessica Alba, did her press interviews on the Eye. It took 31 rotations before she was done.


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