The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. Also known as the Millennium Wheel, its official name was originally published as the British Airways London Eye, then the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, then the EDF Energy London Eye. Since mid-January 2015, it has been known in branding as the Coca-Cola London Eye, following an agreement signed in September 2014. The entire structure is 135 metres (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres (394 ft). When erected in 1999 it was the world's tallest Ferris wheel. Its height was surpassed by the 160 m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, the 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008, and the 167.6 m (550 ft) High Roller (Las Vegas) in 2014. Supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the taller Nanchang and Singapore wheels, the Eye is described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel".
It is currently Europe's tallest Ferris wheel, and offered the highest public viewing point in London until it was superseded by the 245-metre (804 ft) observation deck on the 72nd floor of The Shard, which opened to the public on 1 February 2013. It is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.5 million visitors annually, and has made many appearances in popular culture. The London Eye adjoins the western end of Jubilee Gardens (previously the site of the former Dome of Discovery), on the South Bank of the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge, in the London Borough of Lambeth.
The wheel's 32 sealed and air-conditioned ovoidal passenger capsules, designed and supplied by Poma, are attached to the external circumference of the wheel and rotated by electric motors. Each of the 10-tonne (11-short-ton) capsules represents one of the London Boroughs, and holds up to 25 people, who are free to walk around inside the capsule, though seating is provided. The wheel rotates at 26 cm (10 in) per second (about 0.9 km/h or 0.6 mph) so that one revolution takes about 30 minutes. It does not usually stop to take on passengers; the rotation rate is slow enough to allow passengers to walk on and off the moving capsules at ground level. It is, however, stopped to allow disabled or elderly passengers time to embark and disembark safely.
In 2009 the first stage of a £12.5 million capsule upgrade began. Each capsule was taken down and floated down the river to Tilbury Docks in Essex. On 2 June 2013 a passenger capsule was named the Coronation Capsule to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In September 2014, Coca-Cola signed an agreement to sponsor the London Eye for two years, starting from January 2015. On the day of the announcement, the London Eye was lit in red.
The London Eye was designed by architects Frank Anatole, Nic Bailey, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, and the husband-and-wife team of Julia Barfield and David Marks