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British Airways i360

Brighton East Sussex BN1 2LN

It’s officially the world’s thinnest observation tower, and opened in August 2016 to much fanfare as the latest – and, yes, perhaps even the coolest – addition to Brighton’s patchwork seafront. Built by the creators of the London Eye, which in the 15 years since it went up has inexplicably become the country’s most popular visitor attraction, they clearly have the same sort of ambitions for this contraption, which occupies a somewhat iconic place on the seafront close to where the treasured old West Pier still pokes its remaining rusty girders above the water. This is effectively its replacement, a ‘vertical’ pier if you like, and as such is a palpable vision of Brighton’s future following the West Pier’s sad and controversial passing.

It’s the same sort of thing as its London cousin, but different – an ‘eye’ but not a wheel, with just the one viewing capsule – ten times the size of London’s mini pods – in which you make the 160-metre journey to the top.  The pod has seating, air-conditioning and is fully accessible, and it hosts a bar in the evening that will – they say – host music and special events and maybe even make up for visiting on a cloudy evening.  There’s a pre-ride show to take you through the vital statistics of the whole thing and point out what you’ll see from the top, while at the bottom the ‘beach building’ houses a restaurant and tea room and is open to folk too squeamish (or just too poor) to ride to the top – nope, at £15 a pop it’s not cheap! But, as sponsors British Airways say themselves, there is nothing else quite like this on the south coast. And you know what? For once they may be right.

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