Meredith Collins , July 29, 2016
It’s here, the British Airways i360. Welcome the world’s first vertical pier – a dizzying 450-foot-high observation tower offering breath-taking views that stretch a whopping 26 miles along Brighton’s seafront. Afraid of heights? You may want to give this one a miss.
The tower has been the story on every Brightonian’s lips over the past few years. Whispers of will it be built became discussions of how will it look to when will it be ready. Since 2014 we have watched in awe as the enormous sky-piercing tower began construction on Brighton’s famous beach near the old West Pier. Most recently, as the tower seemed nearer and nearer completion, the question on everyone’s lips has been when can I go up it! Next week, the British Airways i360 is open for business and we’re practically taking flight in anticipation.
The experience will prove to be an unmissable one for those who live in the city and holiday makers alike. Designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the team responsible for creating the world famous London Eye, the i360 is a terrific addition to the architecture and famous attractions of this Regency seaside city.
We love this shining beacon. Of course it’s a symbol of progression for the city we hold dearly in our hearts but it also juxtaposes the old with the new so finely. So what can you expect from a climb up this UFO-like viewing pod? A 20-minute flight on this British Airways beauty will present miles of glistening sea, the stunning Brighton Beach and other far off Sussex beaches, the rolling hills of the South Downs and possibly if you squint really, really hard, Africa. Okay, so maybe not that far, but it still seems well worth the trip.
For the ultimate flight experience, enjoy a glass of Nyetimber, the award-winning sparkling wine as you admire everything the city has to offer. The building beneath the soaring tower will be home to the aptly named Belle View restaurant as well as the West Pier Tea Room built in a reconstructed 1866 West Pier tollbooth. Groups visiting the site can also kick back and relax in the casual beach café and outdoor terrace. With the historic skeletal West Pier to admire and the mirrored i360 pod shining down on you from above, this spot is bound to be perfection on a sunny afternoon.
We can’t wait to admire in the breath-taking views as they slowly unfold on the journey up the i360. See you at the top!
To find out how you can get on board this exhilarating flight during your visit to this seaside city, head on over to our list of Brighton activities here.
Photographs provided by British Airways i360