To be honest, this isn’t my kind of “attraction” and I arrived here by accident, but when I saw the Falkirk Wheel in action I was glad I came. To my surprise, it was a great day out.
Not only that, I was also surprised to see lots of kids, and at that point I was wondering what on earth is the point of kids being here. But they all seemed happy enough.
The Falkirk Wheel
The Wheel was completed in 2002 and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen.
It really is an exceptional feat of engineering, the first rotating boat lift in the world, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.
The Wheel connects the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal, replacing 11 locks across central Scotland, that were abandoned in the 1930’s. I can understand why it was voted one of the top seven waterway structures in the UK. It’s unique in the sense it can carry eight or more boats at any one time, scooping them out of the water and depositing them either up or down on the waterway between the two cities.
Apparently there was much discussion as to whether this was necessary, but it’s now a tourist attraction which has had a huge impact on the area. Its success may lead to other developments around the newly renovated canals in the Falkirk area.
The Visitor Centre is easily accessible, with disabled car parking provided.
The centre provides you with a magnificent viewpoint from which to see the Wheel in action. There’s also a cafeteria and gift shop, and there is no charge for entrance.
There is also an interesting boat tour with full audio and video support. The trip takes about an hour and provides a better than average day out for all family members.
Tickets for Boat Trips can be booked in the Centre, although it is recommended that you pre-book with the Scottish Canals website.
In addition to the boat trips you can watch interactive exhibitions in the centre that allow visitors to learn more about the rotating boat lift and the canals, and you certainly won’t have to worry about the kids, because they can have a great time in the Irn Bru Fun Factory.
The Wheel is situated in the Tamfourhill area of Falkirk, and served by two railway stations, both a short distance away, although most visitors travel by road, with every approach well signposted from the M8 and M876 motorways. Falkirk is a modern town in the centre of Scotland, easily accessible from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
There are excellent shopping centres, and the High Street is pedestrian only.
Also in the area is the remnants of the Antonine wall, built between the Firth of Forth and the Clyde to form the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. Falkirk’s history has connections with William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and John Logie Baird.
When dark, the illuminations enhance the Falkirk Wheel’s stature as one of the most popular visitor attraction in Scotland, behind the likes of the National Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and what will be no surprise, Edinburgh Castle.
Audio Visual Boat Trip – Audio Walking Tour – Interactive Exhibition – Outdoor Play Area – Gift & Souvenir Shop – Picnic Areas – Cycle Paths – Canal Walks – Cafe.
Not what I expected, but at the end of the day, I have to admit I had a good time.
See the Scotland Travel Information page for all the information you need for travelling to and within Scotland. Get helpful advice on passports and visas, currency, weather, holiday extras, useful travel links and much more.
MORE SCOTTISH ATTRACTIONS….
Kelvingrove Art Gallery: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, with one of Europe’s great civic art collections is Scotland’s number 1 visitor attraction, and well loved.
Glasgow Science Centre: This science and technology museum was awarded a five star rating in the attraction category by the Scottish Tourist Board, Visit Scotland.
Blair Drummond Wildlife Safari Park: The children definitely won’t get bored, when you consider the number of attractions that make up this whole wildlife adventure.