The London Eye is a glorified ferris wheel that was erected on the South Bank adjacent to County Hall in 2000 to celebrate the Millennium. Owing to sponsorship by a utilities company its formal name is presently the EDF Energy London Eye.
Designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield, it is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel. The 32 glass capsules complete one revolution every half an hour, giving their occupants (a maximum of 25 apiece) an unparalleled array of often surprising London vistas.
Itself visible across the rooftops from many parts of the capital, it quickly became a London landmark, and what was intended to be a brief existence has been extended until at least 2031. The appearance (often temporary) of similar wheels in cities around the world is testament to the Eye’s success.
During London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display the Eye is nowadays transformed into a gigantic Catherine-wheel, a telegenic gimmick that ensures its appearance in news bulletin clips around the world.