Scottish Canals set to reinvent The Falkirk Wheel

©Peter Sandground
©Peter Sandground

The Falkirk Wheel is set for a mini revolution as a £1 million programme to revamp and develop new visitor experiences at the world’s only rotating boat lift gets underway.

The project will see the 13-year-old Wheel, which links the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 35m (115ft) above, refurbished inside and out, with the existing visitor centre, trip boats, conference rooms and activity hub refreshed with new branding, signage and interpretation celebrating the engineering behind the iconic structure.

The Falkirk Wheel will remain open throughout the works, which are due to be completed this summer. The project forms part of a phased investment plan which will see further improvements and exciting new visitor experiences developed over the coming years to keep the attraction fresh and encourage people to come back time and again.

©Peter Sandground
©Peter Sandground

The revitalisation of the Wheel, the construction of which formed a key part of the £84.5m Millennium Link project, comes on the back of its busiest year ever, with more than 600,000 people enjoying a visit to the working sculpture in 2015. It’s hoped the project will encourage even more people to take a turn on The Falkirk Wheel in the years to come, with the profits generated by the attraction reinvested in safeguarding the rich heritage of Scotland’s 250-year-old canals.

Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Canals, said: “The Falkirk Wheel is a towering symbol of the renaissance of Scotland’s canals and one of the nation’s top tourism attractions. Even more than a decade since its opening, the chance to see this iconic feat of engineering in action is still drawing huge numbers of visitors, boosting the economy of the area and helping put Falkirk on tourists’ ‘to-see’ lists the world over.

“This investment will build on that success, refreshing the Wheel’s existing attractions, and encouraging even more people to take a turn on the world’s only rotating boat lift. Whether you’re soaring through the sky on the Wheel itself, taking to the water in a floating dodgem, or relaxing in the new and improved café and watching the world – and one or two boats – pass by, there’ll be no shortage of things to do.

“The Falkirk Wheel is the jewel in the crown of Scotland’s canal network and the income it generates plays a vital role in safeguarding the rich heritage of the nation’s 250-year-old waterways. With the completion of this project, and The Helix and The Kelpies nearby, the area will have even more to offer visitors. With the chance to take a turn on the incredible Wheel or stand in the shadows of the largest horse sculptures on the planet, Falkirk and Grangemouth is fast becoming a vibrant hub of sustainable tourism with the Forth & Clyde Canal at its heart.”

Share icon
Share this article: