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London Eye celebrates 15th anniversary

The London Eye is offering champagne to some of its visitors this week to celebrate the observation wheel's 15th anniversary.

London Eye celebrates 15th anniversary

The London Eye was one of the centrepieces of Britain's millennium celebrations on 1 January 2000 but it wasn't until 9 March that the first paying passengers took a spin on the wheel.

"The 'iconic' tag tends to be bandied around a little too readily these days, but in the case of the London Eye I say bandy away," said Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

"Originally conceived as a temporary addition to London's millennium skyline it's still here, 15 years on, delighting Londoners and visitors alike.

"Here's to many more years of it being an iconic London landmark."

As part of the birthday celebrations illustrator Jamie Cullen will become artist in residence at the wheel, spending a day in a capsule to draw inspiration from the view. His work will also appear as limited edition merchandise available to purchase later this year.

During the anniversary week the attraction is offering a 15 per cent discount on advance online bookings and some lucky ticket holders will receive free upgrades to the 'champagne experience'.

"The London Eye has far exceeded any of our expectations and has now become one of the world's most recognised and loved landmarks," said David Sharpe, divisional director of London Midway attractions for Merlin Entertainments.

"Our first 15 years have been truly amazing – we've been part of some incredible events, stunts and celebrations and we have all taken enormous pleasure in welcoming guests from across the world as well as the UK.

"We hope our guests have a fantastic time helping us celebrate this milestone birthday and are all sharing our excitement about what the future holds for the attraction."

Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey said: "The London Eye is a must for all visitors and it has given huge pleasure to our local community. I just can't imagine the South Bank without it."

Architects David Marks and Julia Barfield said: "It is hard to believe that 15 years ago we conceived, designed, led a team of architects and engineers, and started a new company to create something that is now as much a part of London today as Tower Bridge or Big Ben.

"We are proud that the London Eye has become an integral part of our culture as well as a much loved symbol of London."

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