British Airways i360 is a new addition to Brighton’s landscape
But now there’s a spectacular 21st-century addition to the landscape in the shape of the British Airways i360, the world’s slenderest tall tower.
The 531ft steel tube is encircled by a glass pod which carries up to 200 people 453 feet above Brighton’s coast.
It’s taller than the London Eye yet built by the same architects who wanted to create the world’s first vertical cable car.
The impressive glass pod reminds me of a spaceship.
The glass pod carries up to 200 people 453 feet above Brighton’s coast
It’s smooth, elegant curves offer 360-degree views all the way to the white cliffs at Beachy Head and the South Downs.
I had booked to ride on what was possibly Brighton’s most blustery summer evening, so windy that I couldn’t stand on the boarding platform for fear of being tossed into the angry sea.
The thought of heading up to the heavens was daunting.
We distracted ourselves by watching the 60ft-wide glass pod glide back into position and thankfully there wasn’t a wobble thanks to a 4,000-ton concrete base.
The pod climbs at 1.3ft per-second
Once on board I was too busy ordering my Brighton gin and tonic from the Nyetimber Sky Bar (other drinks include Nyetimber sparkling, Harvey’s Brewery’s Sussex Best Bitter and Wobblegate apple juice) to even notice we’d starting moving.
We climbed at a slow 1.3ft-per-second and the whole flight took around 30 minutes.
The bar sits to one side while a narrow bench provides the only seating.
Most prefer to move around taking in as many views as they can and selfies. And what views.
The sun emerged from behind threatening clouds and cast a golden glow over the rolling South Downs.
The surf crashed on the pebbled beach below while being so high, meant we had the chance to see the murals that had been painted onto the roofs of many apartment blocks.
From this great height we could pick out the grand Regency Square, even the pier’s crazy rides hanging out over the sea, the rows of bathing huts fronting Hove Lawns and Shoreham Power Station.
The reaction from locals has been mixed.
Many would have preferred to see the rotting West Pier restored.
Instead, this futuristic attraction distracts from the forlorn rusting frame and gives a modern injection to a Victorian seafront.
Check into the charismatic Artist Residence which sits on Regency Square just behind the i360.
This boutique beauty oozes Brighton’s effortless style with exposed bricks, fabulous, modern artwork and reclaimed furniture including rustic headboards.
There are Smeg mini fridges, Roberts radios, a basket of treats and generous pump action toiletries on tap.
The Artist Residents sits on Regency Square
The 13 rooms are all different but for extraordinary views across to the i360, book room 23.
Downstairs, The Cocktail Shack bar with its ceiling covered in hanging pots attracts a funky crowd.
The Set Restaurant continues the salvaged theme with wooden tables, industrial metal chairs and herbs in pots.
A top British tasting menu of beetroot, lovage, quail egg, cuttlefish and pig cheek is available for £39. A taste on the new Brighton.
i360 (03337 720360/britishairwaysi360.com). Adults £16: £8 per child.
The Artist Residence Brighton (01273 324302/artistresidencebrighton.co.uk) offers doubles from £95, B&B.
Brighton tourism: visitbrighton.com