Without a doubt the best views in Brighton are from the British Airways i360 tower, which stands at an impressive 162-meter height. Located on Brighton’s seafront, the viewing tower offers a 360 panoramic view over the entire Sussex Coast, all the way to Rottingdean, Eastbourne and the Seven Sisters in the East, and the South Downs National Park in Kent, in the West. On a very clear day, you might even spot the white cliffs on the Isle of Wight.
The British Airways i360
The British Airways i360 observation tower is built on the site of the old West Pier, and it was inaugurated in August 2016. Since then it became a symbol of Brighton and a must to visit while you’re in this gorgeous seaside town. It is a vertical tower with a glass pod, and stands 136 meters high, making it the world’s tallest moving observation column with a moving viewing pod.
The pod is very futuristic looking, shaped as a sphere and made out of glass, with a capacity of 175 people. It was designed by the same architects who conceived the London Eye. The pod is very spacious, with plenty of room to move around and take in the views in any direction.
There are three types of tickets which you can buy for the British Airways i360 observation tower:
A timed BA i360 ticket – you must pick a time for your flight (£16.50 walk in; £14.85 booked online)
A flexible BA i360 ticket – you can take your flight whenever you like (£17.50 walk in; £15.75 booked online)
A timed BA i360 ticket with a sparkling wine experience (£26.50 walk in; £21.20 booked online)
Furthermore, you can check out the website for different events that are organised in the capsule.
I arrived at the British Airways i360 about 20 minutes before the flight, and I passed through security quite quickly as there weren’t many people in front of me. In fact, I really liked that the number of visitors was kept to a minimum as it made the experience more enjoyable. I am known for not liking crowds and avoiding places where I have to queue or wait for too long.
I only had my handbag with me, so I breezed through security, the same way I do every time I travel at the airport. I picked up my drink from the bar on the upstairs terrace, and took a few sips before the pod was ready to board. You can either book a ticket that includes a drink, or buy one at the bar. The choices include the South Downs Nyetimber sparkling wine, the local Brighton gin and tonic, the Somerset Devon Blackdown Vodka and the East Sussex Harvey’s Brewery Wharf IPA.
The boarding time soon arrived, the pod rose up from ground level, the doors opened and we were invited in, just like on a real plane. I liked that the staff was wearing British Airways uniforms, it made my experience as close as possible to a real boarding – which I haven’t had since March!
The inside of the pod is very spacious, with a few seats in the middle and a sky bar stocked with the same drinks as the bar at ground level. So, if you missed your chance to buy a drink whilst waiting for boarding, you can always buy one now.
I barely noticed when the pod started to move and climb towards the sky. The pod rises silently and smoothly, revealing better and better views. As someone who is afraid of heights, I had no problem at all enjoying every bit of the experience. The curved windows and railings made it feel very safe, even for people like me, who don’t do very well with heights.
The flight lasts for around 25 minutes, plenty of time to take in the breathtaking views of this most loved seaside city and discover hidden treasures, such as the beautiful street art on the rooftops of the surrounding buildings, visible only from above. From time to time, seagulls passed by, below the pod, which was quite cool to see too: I was higher than the birds can fly. 😊
After the flight I popped down to West Beach Bar & Kitchen for a delicious lunch, about which you can read in my review here.
The i360 organises different events during the year, which you can book on their website. At the moment there is a morning Yoga in the Sky which runs until the end of September, and an iDrop Experience that runs to the end of the first week in October. The pod can also be hired for private events such as parties, proposals, even weddings! Imagine that, having your wedding in the sky!
- The British Airways i360 is located on Brighton’s seafront, easily accessible from the train station with a 15 minute walk. I wouldn’t recommend driving to Brighton because parking is very expensive, and the traffic is busy most of the times. The train from London is faster anyway, and in some cases it might cost less than parking in Brighton!
- If you book your i360 ticket online, you save 10% on both tickets and experiences. At the moment, the Sparkling Wine experience is 20% off, so why not go ahead and treat yourself?
- The British Airways has a Weather Guarantee, which means in case of poor visibility you will receive a complimentary ticket to be used in the following three months of your visit.
- The best time to visit Brighton and enjoy a flight on the British Airways i360 if you are looking for a quieter experience is during the week, Monday to Thursday, and outside of the school holidays.
- Check the weather before you go. The views are glorious from up there, but a rainy day can reduce visibility.
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Please note that I was a guest of British Airways i360 and my ticket was complimentary. However, all comments and opinions in this article are my own.