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The Great Laxey Wheel

As the song says, it keeps "turning, turning, turning..." 

Well, we suppose it would. That's what wheels are supposed to do. The Laxey Wheel, though, isn't just any old wheel. It's the largest working waterwheel in the world. We could tell you just how big it is (72½ feet in diameter, as it happens), but that's actually fairly meaningless. It's only when you're standing under the structure's massive bulk that you can really appreciate the size of  it. In short, it's really, really big.

Built in 1854 to pump water from the Great Laxey Mine, the wheel is a marvel of elegant engineering, which has become a Laxey landmark and a genuine Manx icon. Falling into a state of some disrepair after the mines closed, it was acquired by the Isle of Man Government in 1965, following which it was restored to working order. Further recent landscaping projects in the valley mean that old paths have been reopened allowing for many interesting walks around the old mine workings, including the adit entrance where you can put on a hard hat and walk into the mine for about 100 yards to get a little taste of what life might have been like below ground.

It's even more famously Manx than chips, cheese & gravy*, and as the single most recogniseable structure on the Isle of Man, no visitor should miss out on a chance to see the Laxey Wheel. The views from the top are undoubtedly stunning, although many people begin to doubt the wisdom of climbing the precarious spiral staircase once they get more than half-way up. It's not a journey to be undertaken by the faint-hearted!

Children especially will love travelling to it on the thoroughly charming Laxey Mines Railway, which operates in the summer between the old Washing Floors at the Valley Gardens and the Mines Yard terminus near the wheel.

Laxey itself is a beautiful small village, full of excellent cafes, charming pubs, lovely walks and fantastic, quirky shops. It's well worth exploring. You'll probably be unsurprised to learn that we're fans of the little tearoom at JJ Ribbons, who serve absolutely phenomenal jam & cream scones as well as tea in proper china cups.


*not as good as cake - The Editor.



Photo by Tk420 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43760086

 

 

Access

There is plenty of carparking plus toilet facilities but, due to the nature of the site, there is no disability access.

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Opening Hours

 

Day of the Week Opening Hours
Monday 9.30am to 4pm
Tuesday 9.30am to 4pm
Wednesday 9.30am to 4pm
Thursday 9.30am to 4pm
Friday 9.30am to 4pm
Saturday 9.30am to 4pm
Sunday 9.30am to 4pm

The above hours apply 1st Apr to 29th May 2020, and 7th Sep to 1st Nov 2020. Between 30th May and 6th Sep, the site closes at 5pm
There is an entrance charge.