Russell Higham checks out Brighton's latest attraction
British Airways i360, Brightoncredit: Adam Petto
Brighton’s iconic seafront has been transformed by the recent addition of the world’s tallest moving observation tower which just happens to be the world’s first vertical cable car. It also holds the Guinness World Record for Most Slender Tower, with a diameter of just 3.9 meters at its widest point.The British Airways i360 took two years to build on the redeveloped site of the former entrance to the old West Pier, just a 15 minute walk from Brighton’s main railway station (an hour’s ride from London Victoria). Up to 195 guests plus crew, including champagne-serving bar staff, are transported up the 162 meters tall tower at 0.4 meters per second in a space-age glass pod affording 360° views of Brighton, the South Downs National Park and surrounding countryside, not to mention the English Channel which is officially the busiest seaway in the world, carrying over 400 ships each day.
British Airways i360, Brighton credit: Adam Petto
Since opening this July, over 190,000 guests have taken ‘flights’, each one lasting 25 minutes, giving ample time to enjoy a glass of locally produced Nyetimber wine whilst admiring the panorama, taking photographs or even getting married: wedding ceremonies can be performed on board and there are reception rooms back at ground level which can be hired for parties or corporate events. The i360 operates all year round with a range of daytime and evening bookings available. The pod is fully accessible by wheelchair and free entry is given to an accompanying carer. Flights cost from £13.50 if booked in advance; children are half-price and under-4’s ‘fly’ for free.
If you fancy seeing in the start of 2017 from this unique vantage point, a few tickets are still available for their black-tie New Year’s Eve event with welcome drink, five-course meal including canapés and coffee, then a glass of sparkling wine to toast in the new year at midnight from the top of the tower plus DJ entertainment through to 1am for £125/person (10% discount for a table of 10).