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Happy Birthday London Eye

9th March 2010

The London Eye is 10 years old on Tuesday and evening visitors to the giant Thames-side wheel will get a free glass of champagne to mark the anniversary.

Opened in March 2000, the Eye has welcomed more than 36 million visitors and has become a symbol of London.

The 443ft (135m) high wheel has turned more than 45,000 times and hosted 433 weddings.

In its first year of opening, as many as 78% of visitors were UK residents. But the majority of visitors now are overseas tourists, with foreign residents making up 70% of visitors in 2009.

The most-frequent Eye enthusiasts from Europe are the Spanish, the French, the Italians and the Germans. Outside Europe, the most frequent visitors are Americans.

Originally planned to be just a five-year attraction, the 2,100-tonne Eye will now operate until at least 2025.

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