Newest Review: ... next to the wheel was not a lot cheaper. Compare this with £18 for a standard ride on the London Eye and this is a steal. For those that... more
The Wheel of Windsor goes Round and Round
Royal Windsor Wheel (Berkshire)
Member Name: duskmaiden
Royal Windsor Wheel (Berkshire)
Advantages: reasonable, no waiittng
Disadvantages: not for those scared of heights
It seems you can't be a proper tourist destination these days without at least two of the following, an open top double decker bus, a river boat cruise or a Ferris wheel similar to the London Eye. Royal Windsor being an uber tourist destination has all three.. Is the latter the Royal Windsor Wheel I would like to review after stumbling across it on a day trip to this most royal of boroughs.
The London Eye's blue blooded smaller cousin may not look quite as impressive but looms high above Windsor's skyline not quite competing with the castle. It is located in Alexandria Gardens just a short walk from the River Thames, both Windsor railway stations and a stones throw from Windsor Castle itself. We rode the wheel on August Bank Holiday Sunday and thus were very lucky, as it is not a permanent fixture only gracing genteel Windsor in the summer months between May 13h and September 4th. One more week and we would have missed it.
The good thing about the Windsor Wheel is that it is pretty reasonable for a basic ticket. We paid £6 each for an adult ticket. It is only £5 for students an seniors and £4 for children. There's also group discounts and a family ticket for £18. For those who are organised there is a 10% discount on on line booking but even on the gate I thought it was a decent price. You would pay between £2 and £4 for an ordinary fairground ride and the mini golf next to the wheel was not a lot cheaper. Compare this with £18 for a standard ride on the London Eye and this is a steal. For those that want a more luxurious ride there are a number of different packages to choose from . You can reserve a private gondola for up to 6 people. This works out a pound cheaper if you have 6 adults but more costly with an other combination. When we were there it was not too busy and my fiancé and I managed to get a gondola to ourselves). Celebrating, why not hire a private gondola with champagne for £60 or it you wan to be very swanky hire the VIP gondola with its blacked out tinted windows for £45 for 4 people or £70 with champagne. Paying was very painless as there was no queue at the ticket booth so all there was to do was wait for our turn on the wheel.
I am not sure how busy it normally gets but I was surprised by how quiet it was that particular Sunday. There was virtually no queue and our wait was less than ten minutes until the ride that was happening at the time ended. This was a complete contrast to when we have walked past the London Eye and the queue seems to go on forever. Whilst witting we we had time to survey the magnificence of the wheel. Its 60 metre diameter (or 15 double decker buses stacked up in layman's terms ) pales in comparison with the London Eye's 135 metres. There's 40 gondolas including the aforementioned VIP one and one adapted for disabled access but very few of them seemed occupied. Just before we boarded our gondola for two, our photo was taken. I can not comment on the size, quality or price of the prints ready to pick up once you depart from the wheel, as we did not bother even investigating purchasing our souvenir photo. The cost would have bumped up our trip on a deal by quite a lot I should think.
ONE WHEELY SCARED BLOKE
i felt fairly safe on boarding the wheel. The gondola may have rocked a bit but the safety mechanisms for opening and closing the doors seem to be watertight. It was time to sit, back, relax and enjoy our 12 minute ride taking in four full revolutions of the Royal Windsor Wheel. There's a nice little introduction to the wheel before it informed you that you could either have a commentary with facts about Windsor or music from some radio station. I was dubious about the music so plumped for the sight seeing facts since we were tourists for the day. I found the facts to be fairly interesting and gave me a feel for the history and the sights of Windsor. We started off sitting on the right hand side of the gondola facing inwards. I would not recommend this if you are bit scared of heights (I would not recommend the wheel full stop if you are afraid of heights or get vertigo). My poor fiancée spent the first revolution with his eyes shut looking completely terrified especially when the wheel stopped to pick up more passengers and give us aerial views across Windsor and also when the wheel was going down. He seemed to calm down after the second one especially when we moved to the opposite side of the gondola. I mus admit even I a dare devil when it comes to rides felt my stomach disappear when we were making the descent on the first revolution.
The main reason for ridding the wheel is for the views over Windsor. Its said on a clear day you can see Wembley Arches and Canary Wharf in the background. I think that is a slight exaggeration but there were stunning views and fiancée did spot the not so glamorous towers of Didcott Power Station in the distance. I had stunning aerial views over the river Thames and fabulous views of Windsor Castle. However these must pale in comparison with the London Eye which I have not yet experienced even though I've lived in London for over five years now. There's only limited scope for spotting particular buildings, as the only real landmarks are those castle, the Thames and Eton College. I don't think Windsor Coach Park could be described as a tourist attraction.
I really enjoyed my ride on the Windsor Wheel. I had been on a similar one in in Manchester which perhaps had more attraction, as I knew the city better and again there were more landmarks to spot. Its not the type of attraction you would make a special trip to unless you lived particularly local but it was a nice little diversion for half n hour. It was a good dress rehearsal if I ever wanted to go on the London Eye but I doubt I will take my fiancé!
Summary: Big wheel in Windsor
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