London Eye marks its 20th year

The London Eye is marking its 20th year of towering over the capital – and in its time it has been graced by royals, politicians and Olympic champions, as well as a fictional supernanny.

The landmark was opened by then-prime minister Tony Blair on December 31 1999, but because of a capsule clutch problem it did not open to the paying public until March 2000.

London Eye 20th anniversary
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex, taking a ride in a pod on the London Eye with members of a mental health charity (Richard Pohle/The Times)

The Coca-Cola London Eye has 32 capsules, which are said to represent London’s 32 boroughs, and receives millions of passengers a year.

It has seen a number of royal visits including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex taking a ride to mark World Mental Health Day in 2016.

London Eye 20th anniversary
Fireworks lighting up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the new year celebrations (Yui Mok/PA)

Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah stood atop the 450-foot landmark in 2017 as he bid a final farewell to British track athletics after winning gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m at the IAAF World Championships in his home city.

A Mary Poppins stunt double also rode atop the the attraction ahead of the European premiere of Mary Poppins Returns at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018.

London Eye 20th anniversary
A Mary Poppins stunt double riding on top of the London Eye ahead of the European premiere of Mary Poppins Returns (Joe Giddens/PA)

It has also been a backdrop for the firework displays at the capital’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, lit up green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and been flown over by the Red Arrows in formation with four Typhoon aircraft celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

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