7 July 2008

The Greenwich Wheel

While the London Eye is a famous London landmark, the recently opened Greenwich Wheel is almost unknown and relies on passing trade for business.

It is well located to attract tourists being next to the best that Greenwich has to offer, which includes the former Navy Hospital, Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory (complete with the meridian line so that you can stand with one foot in the east and one in the west), a footpath under the Thames and the Cutty Sark (temporarily unavailable due to a fire, but it is being restored).

The wheel is a modern construction but, unlike the London Eye, is a traditional design with free swinging gondolas attached to the wheel. This makes it simpler to build but it also means that the wheel obscures part of the view and the swinging motion can be a bit disconcerting for those of us who are not terribly good at heights, particularly when you are stopped somewhere near the top to allow more passengers on!

Technically the London Eye is superior in every aspect but that is not the point. The Greenwich Wheel is a traditional big wheel in a riverside location that offers contrasting views of historical Greenwich and modern Canary Wharf.

The wheel in itself is not reason enough to go to Greenwich but Greenwich has much to offer the tourist and the wheel is a worthy addition.

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