The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is a Ferris wheel located on the south bank of the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge in London.
Its construction, which began in 1998, was completed on March 9, 2000. At 135 meters, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world and was later surpassed with the construction of the Star of Nanchang (China). This wheel is supported by connecting bars that make it look like a large bicycle wheel: it was in fact represented in an advertising poster of a charity bicycle race. The London Eye has become the most popular paid attraction in the UK, with around 3.5 million visitors per year.
In addition, every New Year’s Eve, at the stroke of midnight, the traditional fireworks of the British capital are fired from the wheel. The inauguration was held by Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 31, 1999, although it was not open to the public until March 2000 due to some technical problems. The Eye is operated by Merlin Entertainments, was initially sponsored by British Airways and later by EDF Energy, and was sponsored by Coca-Cola in 2015.
Initially the Tussauds Group, British Airways and the family of Marks Barfield (the principal architects) owned one third of the Eye each. On May 25, 2005, news leaked of a letter in which the South Bank Center, owner of part of the land west of Jubilee Gardens, on which the Eye facility is located, required the attraction to be closed and requested an increase in lease, also on May 25, 2005, London Mayor Ken Livingstone promised that the attraction would remain in London and ensured that, should the conflict not be resolved, he would use his powers to ask the London Development Agency to issue a mandatory purchase order.