Fancy sailing up into the sky to enjoy panoramic views of the south coast with a glass of fizz in hand?
If your holiday has been cancelled and you’re planning a staycation instead then read on for a day out with a difference!
The British Airways i360 viewing tower in Brighton is back up and running after coronavirus lockdown and we were invited to find out what families can expect this summer as lockdown restrictions are lifted and we all get used to the ‘new normal’.
If you haven’t heard of the i360 before it’s a 450 foot high spaceship-style glass viewing tower on Brighton sea front which gives visitors panoramic views of the coastline as well as the magnificent South Downs behind.
I must admit I did think twice about taking the kids for a ride in an enclosed glass pod so soon after coronavirus lockdown, but it soon transpired my fears were unfounded.
So, if you’re looking for a family day out with a difference and are within travelling distance of Brighton here are 10 great reasons to visit the British Airways i360 viewing tower this summer.
10 great reasons to visit the British Airways i360 viewing tower in Brighton
1. You don’t have to queue to get in
Forget queuing with the masses as you would have done before lockdown: now you enter the pod from the outside road level (expect to have your temperature checked on entry to the premises) and exit via the downstairs seafront level. There’s also a one-way system through the gift shop so you’re never very close to anyone else.
2. Social distancing means there are fewer people in the pod
The two metre social distancing rule means less people are allowed in the pod than pre-coronavirus flights resulting in more space to move around and enjoy the view. Two metre squares are marked out on the floor with blue tape to help you keep your distance and seating is spaced apart too.
3. You can have a glass of fizz
Or two. Or a drop of Brighton gin if that tickles your fancy. There’s an outside bar before you enter the pod (I can vouch for the Nyetimber English sparkling wine!) and a ‘sky bar’ inside, where staff are all kitted out in PPE gear.
4. Expect panoramic views of the south coast
At 450 feet high there are 360 degree views of the south coast and the South Downs from the top of the tower. On a clear day you can even see the Isle of Wight, which is 49 miles away!
5. You get a bird’s eye view of the iconic West Pier
The derelict West Pier was the first pier to be Grade I listed in England and all that remains is its skeleton in the sea. Seeing it from above as you gently ascent and descent is really quite something and a great history lesson for the kids!
6. The air conditioning system uses fresh air from outside
So if you’re worried about breathing in recycled air, don’t be. I was surprised at how fresh the air inside the pod was – in fact it was just like being outside – and the pod is also now cleaned by a team of cleaners between each flight too.
7. The pod is 10 times the size of a London Eye capsule
Once inside it feels bigger than you think, so if you’re not keen on enclosed spaces like the London Eye this is the experience for you.
8. There’s a treasure hunt for kids
If you download the i360 app you’ll find pre-flight information about how the British Airways i360 was built as well as an in-app viewing map and a kids section with fun facts and a treasure hunt. The content is available in a host of languages including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Mandarin.
9. You can make a day of it
British Airways recommend you set aside an hour for your trip if you’re not dining but there’s so much to see and do around the i360 that you can really make a day of it. Original metal poles which once held up the West Pier have been made into an art installation; there’s an upside down house to visit and of course plenty of ice cream and fish & chips!
10. It’s a day out the whole family will remember
It’s not every day you get to ride in a futuristic glass pod and glide 450 feet up a steel pole to see what the birds see. After three months in lockdown it was so nice to get away from it all and do something ‘normal’ again – and if you’re in the area I highly recommend a visit!
We were gifted a flight on the British Airways i360 viewing tower in exchange for this post. As always all opinions are my own and based on our own honest experience. Tickets start from £14.85 for adults and £7.40 for children when booked online (under threes go free) – for more information click here.