York's big wheel opens to the public

York Press: A view of York Minster from the Big Wheel which is now open to the public A view of York Minster from the Big Wheel which is now open to the public

YORK’S big wheel is turning once again, after a postponed opening in the Royal York Hotel gardens.

The 53-metre wheel opened to the public at 4.45pm yesterday, offering a new view over the city centre and beyond.

Great City Attractions Global had hoped to open at the weekend, but work on putting up the structure was held up by the high winds.

The opening ends a three-year wrangle for the company, which had seen its attempts to open at three other sites thwarted.

John Lowery, GCAG’s UK operations manager, said: “I think it’s fantastic, especially being from York myself.

“It is a fantastic site. I have been on the wheel myself and the views are amazing.”

A ride on the wheel costs £8.50 for adults, £5.50 for students and OAPs, £5 for children, or free for babies less than a year old.

A family ticket, which covers two children and two adults, is £20 and the VIP pod is £55.

Riding high above the birds

RIDING 53 metres above the ground, Rachel Banning-Lover was treated to a ride on York’s most hotly anticipated new tourist attraction, the Big Wheel. Here’s what she thought.

Sitting in one of the wheel’s 42 pods, I had high expectations for what the audio guide promised would be a view stretching more than 30 miles on a clear day.

Treated to the ultimate bird’s eye view of the city (once you get over the fact that the birds are actually below you) as the pod rose, it was exciting to watch as York’s historical marvels were revealed one by one.

The gentle ride began with a rising view of the Museum Gardens, the playing fields of St Peter’s School, and the boats and barges on the River Ouse. Seeing the river winding across the city was the first advantage of our increasing height.

As we climbed further, the towers of York Minster slowly grew until the whole cathedral became entirely visible, encircled by the tiny roofs and chimneys of the buildings around it – that proves the most striking part of the scene before us.

For thrill seekers, the climax of the ride was the part where you go “over the top” and for just a moment, it felt like we were about to land within the Bar Walls as the Cedar Court Grand Hotel loomed ever larger.

The wheel’s impact was somewhat spoiled by the screeching high winds that penetrated our pod – and how accurate the audio guide was in estimating the length of the view visible is uncertain. But the view certainly was impressingly expansive, stretching well beyond the notable landmark of the Foss Islands chimney beside Morrisons.

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