All aboard the big wheel

The "guinea pigs" on the maiden spin of Belfast's answer to the London Eye expressed themselves delighted by the experience yesterday.

It was only by chance that the Walker family from Dromore, Co Down, heard about the opening of the Belfast Wheel and decided to head to the city "for a nosey".

And Martin Walker admitted that despite his and his wife Heather's natural nerves, their two sons "had a ball".

"We just came up to see what was happening but we never imagined we'd actually get on the thing," Martin said.

"We were the guinea pigs I suppose but we had a wonderful time. It was exciting and scary all at the same time and the boys loved it.

"It's great for the city and there was quite a crowd gathered."

The 365-tonne wheel finally began spinning at noon yesterday after weeks of round-the-clock work.


Its maiden spin should have happened on Saturday but was delayed due to the weather hampering final preparations.

Now that it is in full motion, it is expected that the grounds of the City Hall will be swamped this winter with people keen to have a turn on the Belfast Wheel.

The wheel is the first of its kind on the island of Ireland, although there are similar constructions in Manchester and York.

John Lowery, from World Attractions, owners of the wheel, was looking forward to the opening because of the opportunities it presents for the city.

The Belfast Wheel boasts 42 fully enclosed and heated capsules which can seat up to eight people.

A luxury gondola with leather seats, a glass floor and an onboard entertainment system is also available.

Tickets cost 6 and 4 for children, with a four-person VIP gondola costing 50 or 65 with champagne.

Online booking is available at