I visit Brighton quite regularly and over the last year or two I’ve been watching as the new i360 on the seafront has come together. It’s been open for some time now and on a recent visit with good weather I thought it was about time that I took a ride on it to see what it’s all about.
The British Airways i360 to give it its full title has been built on the entrance to what used to be the West Pier. As BA is the sponsor the whole experience is branded with their name, logo and colours, the staff even wear BA uniforms. After buying tickets we went through to an outdoor sort of holding area from where we waited to board the capsule for our “flight”.
The weather couldn’t have been better, virtually clear blue skies and even some sun. As the capsule descended from its previous flight we got some amazing close up views of the structure. The i360 was designed by husband and wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield who also designed the London Eye and is today the world’s tallest moving observation tower.
Once everything was ready we were invited to board. The pod is virtually all glass and very futuristic looking holding up to 200 people at a time. It’s ten times bigger than the pods on the London Eye. If you fancy a drink there’s even a bar onboard.
The doors were quickly closed and our “flight” began taking us 450 feet up into the air. It’s a bit of a strange feeling at first but it didn’t take long before everyone was enjoying the views and making good use of the bar.
The views across Brighton and the South Downs are fantastic and they tell me on a really clear day you can see the Isle of Wight and Beachy Head but I have to admit they are a bit limited. To be fair the staff on board were very friendly and did a little commentary pointing out different areas of interest.
All too quickly we were on our way back down again. You exit the pod from the lower level which takes you directly into the newly built West Beach Bar & Kitchen and the i360 gift shop. What was nice was that if you still had drinks you were invited to use the bar area of the restaurant or the outside terrace where you could finish them in your own time.
In my opinion I think they’ve done a really good job of redeveloping a rundown part of the seafront with a great attraction that, although a little bit on the pricy side is worth paying as it’s an experience you won’t get anywhere else in the world. I enjoyed my half an hour “walking on air” and if you do it I hope you enjoy it too.