The new British Airways i360 tower on Brighton’s seafront opens to the public on Thursday – Business Traveller took a preview “flight” today.
The world’s tallest moving observation tower, at 138 metres, i360 has been designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the creators of the London Eye, and has been sponsored under a five-year deal by the airline.
Located at the spot where the mostly destroyed West Pier once stood, it holds up to 200 people at a time in a doughnut-shaped glass pod, which ascends 138 metres up the slender 3.9-metre-wide tower to provide 360-degree views of Brighton and Hove, the south coast and English Channel.
Visibility was unfortunately poor on the afternoon that Business Traveller took a trip up but on clear days passengers can expect to see for up to 26 miles, as far as Beachy Head and Seven Sisters to the east and the Isle of Wight to the west.
Rides last 20 minutes during the day and 30 minutes after 6pm and cost £15 for adults (£13.75 if booked online in advance) and £7.50 for children (£6.75 in advance).
The pod houses a Nyetimber Sky Bar serving drinks from the Sussex vineyard. At beach level, the attraction will also comprise the Belle Vue restaurant – serving food from “Sussex’s larder” created by MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards – plus a café and a tea room, the opening dates for which have not yet been confirmed.
The beach building also houses event spaces accommodating ten to 1,000 people, which are available for hire from September 1 onwards. The pod can also be hired on an exclusive basis.
At the preview event, Lynne Embleton, British Airways’ director of strategy and managing director for Gatwick airport, said: “Normally, views of the amazing coastline are the preserve of our pilots flying into Gatwick and from today everybody else will be able to join in in seeing those stunning views too.”