Greenwich Wheel Around The Clock

So. A few weeks (and many rides) into the visit of the Greenwich Wheel, what do we think of it? Is it, as Time Out suggests, a bit of an also-ran – that when you get to the top you can afford a glimpse of The Real Thing – or does it stand up in its own right?

I’ve been collecting together a series of photos of the wheel at different times of the day (see Rod’s enviable view first thing in the morning, above) and I thought I’d take the opportunity to chew the fat over our own local ferris wheel.

I confess I really enjoyed the experience myself. I went during the daytime, and I’m keen to take another ride when the sun’s gone down, to get a different view. It’s not as dramatic as The London Eye, but instead gives a more intimate – personal, even – image of the streets and places that we know so well. That said, I suspect it is mainly interesting for those of us who actually live here.

I don’t know about you but whenever I walk past it, it seems to be almost empty. This surprises me – I was expecting queues – but maybe it’s the victim of bad timing – the perceived credit crunch seems to be making everyone jumpy. Maybe the price is an off-putter – for a family it gets quite pricey, and I’m really not convinced about the value for money of the VIP pods, even if they do have glass bottoms (thanks Bryn, for proving that for me)

One thing that I really do think confounded some people’s expectations is the way it looks. It was originally refused permission because it would spoil the view. I’m sorry – but I think it looks fantastic – both close-up and from the park as part of the panorama – here’s one I took a week or so ago, mid-afternoon:

I particularly like it as the twilight sets in – as the sun sets…

…and the lights switch on…

Dave, however, felt it was somewhat of an anti-climax.

“I’d booked a Gondola for six (cheaper that way) but I fear this was my downfall as once everybody was settled and we were on the move it didn’t give you much space to maneuver. The non Greenwich residents in the party were quite impressed with the views but those of us who are used to standing in the shadow of the Phantom (tee hee – TGP) and gazing out across London weren’t that taken. On the plus side the gondolas do have air-con so it was nice, albeit short, rest from the heat.

If you must give the Wheel a spin (ha, ha) I think it best that just a couple share the Gondola (Blow the expense!) as this enables you to easily swap places to get a different viewpoint. But really, a walk up to the Phantoms Rest (double tee-hee – TGP) or Point Hill will give a much better vista – it’s free and will also keep you fit.

Personally I think the Wheel is a must – it’s a one-off – and a Great Greenwich Thing To Do. You may kick yourself later if you don’t.

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