City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Festival Wheel


Festival Wheel
East Princes Street Gardens
Edinburgh EH2
Festival Wheel  - view down Princes Street
Venue details
Edinburgh Area: 
New Town, Edinburgh

The Festival Wheel (aka Edinburgh Festival Wheel and Big Wheel) is a large mechanical Ferris Wheel, situated in the centre of Edinburgh, in East Princes Street Garden. It is a temporary structure, raised during Hogmanay and the summer months during the Edinburgh Festivals. Made in Holland, the Wheel is illuminated at night by 20,000 lights.

It runs from 19th November to 7th January 2017 from 10am to 10pm (last ride 20 minutes before end).

Not quite as tall as the neighbouring Scott Monument, the 42m Festival Wheel lifts you up high above the National Galleries, offering impressive views (weather permitting) of the New Town and across the Firth of Forth to the Kingdom of Fife.

After paying for tickets in a booth at the foot of the Wheel, or booking online, riders are boarded onto one of 36 enclosed pods, much like ski gondalas, at various points on the wheel. The wheel gradually climbs in stages above the gardens as the operators carefully load their human cargo, paying attention to load balancing.

The Wheel then spins for three to four rotations before, a few minutes later, passengers are disembarked.

As the Festival Wheel cycles up and down, the rider is presented with a panoramic sweep that extends West down Princes Street and across to Edinburgh Castle. In the distant North East the coastline becomes visible and then sinks behind Edinburgh rooftops, while in the other direction you get a bird's eye view of Waverley Station and the jumble of buildings of the Old Town ascending to the Castle. In the distance, Arthur's Seat and Holyrood Park also comes into view.

The views are good, and while the gondolas' perspex windows do offer 360 degree viewing, they are not clear enough for serious photography or video.

The ticket price at £8 (£6 for a child/concessions) plus £1 online booking fee, might give you pause for thought. Those more keen on heritage values, rather than a fairground ride, might consider climbing the steps to the top of the historic Scott Monument alongside the Festival Wheel for a panoramic view.

Ticket prices

£9 per person
£6 concessions
£25 family ticket (4 people, max. 2 adults & min of 1 adult)

Tickets can be booked in advance online.

If you live at an EH address bring proof of residence for a 20% discount (driving license, bus pass or utility bill).