The world’s only rotating boat lift is set for a £2.7m upgrade this winter.

The works, which are part of Scottish Canals’ annual winter works programme 2023/24, will take place at The Falkirk Wheel and will include upgrades to its control system.

The Falkirk Wheel, which celebrated its 21st birthday in May this year (2023) will benefit from new and innovative technologies which will include: state of the art water level sensor technology, improved energy efficiency and enhanced safety systems.

Speaking about the revolutionary upgrade Scottish Canals’ Chief Operating Officer Richard Millar said: “The Falkirk Wheel is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors from all over the world head to our flagship destination each year keen to marvel at the working sculpture. These essential works are needed for us to make sure this unique boat lift continues to provide that all important, revolutionary link between the Union and Forth & Clyde canals for many more years to come.”

The Falkirk Wheel opened as part of The Millennium Link, a £83.4m project that restored Scotland’s inland waterways to a navigable state for the first time since the 1960s. The Wheel replaced a flight of 11 locks that once stepped the Union Canal down to the level of the Forth and Clyde over a distance of 1.5km that took more than a half day to traverse. Now, The Falkirk Wheel allows vessels to transit between the two canals in just seven minutes, operating extremely efficiently it wastes no water and using hardly any electricity.

The works, which will be carried out by Fairfield Control System, will begin from 30th October, 2023 and will continue until March, 2024.

Unfortunately, due to the scale and complexity of the works being undertaken large areas of The Falkirk Wheel site will be fenced off to the public and the canal will not be operational during this time.

Please find a diversion map below, red section is closed with yellow section detailing the diversion in place. 

However, our visitor centre shop. café and car park will remain open Wednesday to Sunday throughout. 

The Falkirk Wheel visitor centre winter opening hours can be found below.