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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Best places to watch the world go round

By Nikki Bayley

The world's best Ferris wheels

To celebrate the launch of the Brighton Wheel, we've put together our favourite places to sit and watch the world go round and round. Ferris wheels, or observation wheels if you're going to be posh, are a fun way to get a different view on the city and you can take some superb aerial photos while you ride. Oh -and they also make for a restful change from pounding the streets to see the sights!

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The Brighton Wheel
The most recent addition to the world of wheels, Brighton's is much-travelled. It was the one that kept everyone entertained during the recent world cup in South Africa - but now it's come to the south coast seafront. Offering views out to sea and over the famous Palace Pier, the 51m wheel will give you a 15-minute trip for just £8

The Wheel of Brisbane
Glorious Queensland has so many attractions, from golden beaches and the Great Barrier Reef to the beautiful rain forest. Head to the state capital to see a man-made marvel, the Wheel of Brisbane. At 60m high, the wheel is based in the centre of the city's cultural and entertainment district, the Parklands on the South Bank. Hop on board for a leisurely three or four turns in one of the 42 air-conditioned cars.  Transport to Gatwick Airport

The Lille Wheel
Just a quick zoom across the channel via Eurostar you'll find Lille, which hosts an annual Christmas market that is perfect for picking up bargains as well as enjoying all the fun of their Ferris wheel. The Lille Wheel (try saying that a few times!) is in place from the end of November until mid-January and is on the main square, the Grand Place. At 50m high, it's not the tallest wheel, but what it lacks in height it makes up for in festive views! Euro transfers Airport London

The Singapore Flyer
At a breathtaking 165m tall, the Singapore Flyer is the world's largest observation wheel. There are 28 pods holding 28 passengers (the number 28 means 'easy to prosper' in Cantonese), and one whole rotation takes just over half an hour. Brilliantly, the wheel used to go in a counter-clockwise direction, but changed in 2008 on the advice of a Feng Shui master. While you're up there, you'll get a superb views across Marina Bay all the way to the Singapore River and the Padang.

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, Chicago
Named and modelled after the world's very first Ferris wheel, which was built for Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Navy Pier Ferris wheel is on the upper deck in Pier Park. At just under 46m high, this little wheel gives great views across Chicago's stunning skyline and also the lake front. It's just a seven-minute ride, so make the most of it. Gatwick airport to heathrow airport taxi transfer

Montreal's Grande Roue
Head to Montreal in Quebec to ride the roue, a 45m-high wheel that you'll find in the La Ronde amusement park on St Helen's island. There are plenty of frankly terrifying rides in the park, so the Ferris wheel makes a sedate change and gives great views over the city and St Lawrence River.

Vienna's Riesenrad
Make like Orson Welles in the Third Man and ride the famous Riesenrad in Vienna's Prater amusement park. The Riesenrad was built by Brits in 1897 to celebrate Emperor Josef's Golden Jubilee and was, at the time, the highest in the world at almost 65m. You'll get a great view over the city and the rest of the amusement park from the little red cabins. A must-do if you're in Vienna.

Wheel of Gothenberg
West Sweden has its own fabulous Ferris wheel, and you can usually find it next to the Gothenburg Opera House at the bottom of the main street, Avenyn. However, at the end of this year, it's making its way across town to a new home in the famous Liseberg amusement park. The wheel is 60m high and you get a 15-minute ride within the glass-windowed gondolas. Taxi to stansted airport London

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