When planning any short break to a city, I always set out to make the most of my time there by cramming all the popular attractions I can into one trip. Despite this aim, I do often come away from my city breaks saying ‘I wish I had more time’ or ‘I’d love to see that next time’. While this is the perfect excuse to visit cities again and again, sometimes money and time just won’t allow it. This led me to ponder…which are the best and most efficient ways to see a city on a short break? There’s walking tours, bike tours and river cruises, all of which are excellent, but what about big wheels?

Big wheels, giant Ferris wheels, observational wheels; whatever you prefer to call them, they are the ideal solution for seeing everything a city has to offer in a short space of time. It’s something I’ve often overlooked as a tourist, but after doing some research I would definitely consider a big wheel attraction on my next short break. Combining an exciting and unique ride with beautiful views of the surrounding area – you really can’t go wrong. Here’s my top 3 big wheels in the UK I think are a city break must try.


Photo Credit: UGArdener

The London Eye
By far the most famous wheel in the UK and also the largest reaching 135 metres high, The London Eye is the perfect way to see the capital and all its famous sights! Offering spectacular views across the city, visitors can enjoy many iconic London landmarks from the sky such as Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben. On a clear day you can even see as far as 25 miles to the top of Windsor Castle! With a complete turn taking just 30 minutes, it’s by definitely the quickest, most affordable and exceptionally fascinating way to see London.

The London Eye Facts:
9th March 2000
Height: 135 metres
Capsules: 32 capsules
Annual Visitors: More than 3.5 million
Time: 30-minute rotation
View: Up to 25 miles of surrounding areas
Unique extras: Interactive capsule guide + entry to the 4D cinema experience


Photo Credit: Elsie esq.

The Brighton Wheel

Although smaller than The London Eye, the Brighton Wheel is no less spectacular with its fantastic seafront location and breath-taking sights. Offering visitors panoramic views of stunning coastline and famous landmarks, the 50m tall tourist attraction is a definite highlight when visiting this city. Described as a sky voyage of Brighton and Hove, you can see up to 30 iconic and historical landmarks from the Royal Pavilion and Clock Tower to St Mary’s Church and Queen’s Park. With a fun ‘I Spy from the Sky’ map and humorous commentary from Steve Coogan, this is one attraction all the family can enjoy!

The Brighton Wheel Facts:
Opened: 24th October 2011
Height: 50 metres
Capsules: 36
Time: 12 minutes, 3 revolutions per sky voyage
View: Views of the coastline, Brighton + Hove
Unique extras: Commentary guide by comedy genius Steve Coogan


Photo Credit: ronsaunders47

The Liverpool Wheel

Located outside the ECHO Arena, The Liverpool Wheel provides magnificent views of the famous landmarks and attractions in the surroundings areas, including the River Mersey, the Welsh Mountains and Liverpool’s World Heritage Site Waterfront. Reaching an impressive 60 metres, visitors on The Liverpool Wheel can enjoy panoramic views and fascinating commentary from one of the 42 air-conditioned capsules. You can even opt for a luxury VIP capsule with a glass floor, leather interior and DVD player. For a really fancy voyage throw in some champagne and live it up on the ultimate attraction in Liverpool.

The Liverpool Wheel Facts:
14th February 2012
60 metres (196ft)
42 capsules
Approx. 10-12 minutes, 3 revolutions per ride
View: River Mersey, the Welsh Mountains + the World Heritage Site Waterfront
Unique extras:
1 Luxury VIP capsule with glass floor, leather interior + DVD player