British Airways i360 Brighton review

Our rating 
3.4 out of 5 star rating 3.4
User rating
british-airways-i360_208366

In a nutshell

A unique sky-high experience beside one of Britain’s best-loved beachfronts, this is a great way to start or round off a seaside adventure
Fun for kids
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Fun for parents
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Worth the money
2.0 out of 5 rating 2.0
Facilities
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Family friendliness
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Pros: Incredible views from the top, enjoyable for all ages, pod glides up and down very gently
Cons: Not great if you’re afraid of heights; pricey tickets for the relatively short 25-minute experience

When we visited:

We visited on a hot and sunny weekday at the start of the summer school holidays in July

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What age is the i360 best for?

Best for: Children aged 3+

Still good fun for: Children aged 0-3

How much does it cost?

  • Gate prices: Adults £16.50, children £8.25
  • Online prices: Adults £14.85, children £7.40

Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for British Airways i360?

At the time of publication, Picniq offered a £5 voucher on purchases over £50 and if you travel by National Rail you can get 2-for-1 adult tickets. Local Brighton residents get a 50% reduction on standard prices if they pay £1 for an annual membership.

Any extra charges once I’m there?

There’s a cool shop full of funky gifts and interesting toys and books at the base of the tower

How long will we spend at British Airways i360?

Allow around 1h 15m minimum. You need to arrive at least 20 minutes before your chosen flight time, then the trip itself lasts 25 minutes. There is an exhibition and the gift shop, as well as a table of Duplo bricks to keep little ones entertained while you look at photos of the tower under construction. Allow more time if you visit the tearoom or restaurant.

What does British Airways i360 offer for families?

At British Airways i360, visitors take to the skies to glide 450ft up in the space-age glass viewing pod, which sits on an ultra-slender tower on Brighton’s seafront. On a clear day you can spot the Isle of Wight 49 miles away – and everything in between.

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What were the best bits?

  • Our daughters are aged 5 and 7 and loved the seafront walk towards the tower with the anticipation of ‘going into the sky’, as they described it
  • It’s hard to appreciate how massive the British Airways i360 is – it’s 162m tall with a pod for visitors that glides up to 138m. But until you’re walking along the beach towards it, those figures are hard to comprehend. We approached it from the east and at first thought we were much closer than we were because of its sheer scale!
  • When you arrive you can purchase tickets at street level from a beautifully remodelled Victorian ticket booth, 1 of 2 reproduced and harking back to the original West Pier tollbooths which stood in similar positions in 1866
  • Around 20 minutes before our scheduled flight we went through security to a large terraced area with glass balustrades. It’s a great viewing point to watch the pod ascend and we were surprised how quiet the whole thing was; it seems to glide almost silently and definitely reminded me of a UFO
  • The terrace offers good people watching opportunities down on the beach but our girls were more excited to see a giant Jenga game available, as well as giant Connect Four
  • There were a few deckchairs but I was disappointed there weren’t more because these were quickly snapped up and our girls were tussling for the only one left. There is ample bench seating but for our children that just wasn’t as exciting as a deckchair!
  • When the time came for our flight I was pleased to see the double doors sliding wide open, which meant eager kids could safely rush on ahead
  • The pod is an oblate ellipsoid shape (although locals are more likely to call it a doughnut!), and as I’d hoped the glass panels are vast
  • Five-year-old Hannah loved the fact that the curved glass swoops under your feet. She stretched her tippy toes out to ‘stand on the air’ and was thrilled as she watched the ground below diminish as we went up
  • Seven-year-old Catherine enjoyed watching the people far below turning into little creeping ants ­– we felt like giants playing with miniature toys as we watched the cars zip along the roads like dinky trucks
  • The views are spectacular, but kids will enjoy spotting the brightly coloured rooftops specially painted in eye-catching geometric designs on top of tower blocks and high-rise hotels. They were an unexpected surprise because of course they’re completely invisible from street level to the average land-based tourist!

What’s it like inside the British Airways i360 pod?

We visited on a very hot day – something like 28C in full sun – and the i360 was pleasantly cool with its air conditioning. We could hear a collective sigh of relief from passengers as they embarked. The journey upwards is very quiet internally too, and because it climbs at a sedate pace it can come as a surprise to realise how high you’re going.

Is there a guided tour during the experience?

There isn’t, but I enjoyed the fact there is no official guided talk as you ascend and descend, which felt very family-friendly. It meant everyone is free to chat amongst themselves and as a parent there’s no need to self-consciously shush the children in case other visitors are trying to listen to the tour guide.

What you need to know before you go:

  • Check the weather forecast! If it’s a rainy day then visibility will be reduced and you won’t see as much from the top. Sometimes the sea mist can roll in on pretty sunny days and the top of the tower can even disappear into the fog
  • Download the multi-lingual free app for information on how the i360 tower was built, and to play on the kids’ section to the app too, with its simple tower-building game and a photo treasure hunt. There’s also an interactive viewing map pointing out notable Brighton and Sussex landmarks on a panoramic photo
  • Don’t forget your camera because the panoramic views are breathtaking
  • Allow plenty of time before your flight to go through security and get your bag checked
  • Pop to the loo before your flight, and change your baby’s nappy, because there are no loos in the pod
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Was British Airways i360 pushchair friendly?

Yes, pushchairs are welcome, making this ideal for a family day out even for newborns. They won’t remember much but the rest of the family can still enjoy the views!

British Airways does state that on very busy days parents may be asked to fold up their buggy or leave it in the buggy park while on board, although I have visited on very busy days in the past and not seen anyone asked to leave their pushchair behind.

What if you’re afraid of heights?

If you’re acrophobic – afraid of heights – this won’t be top of your list. Vertigo sufferers take note, this takes you even higher than the London Eye so if you went pale at the thought of that, this is probably not for you.

What are the food and drink facilities like at British Airways i360?

The ‘flight’ is short enough that you don’t need to get a drink or snacks while you’re up in the air, but there are options if you fancy a treat.

  • Although snacks like biscuits, popcorn and soft drinks are available for children, visitors are allowed to take their own refreshments on board, just not alcoholic drinks
  • You can buy these on board and prices are not much more than your average Brighton bar – £10 for a glass of bubbles, £6.50 for a gin & tonic and £4.70 for a can of Harvey’s Brewery Gold Ale. I would suggest treating yourself to a drink from the bar and letting your little ones stick to their own drink of water or juice!
  • At beach level there’s the West Beach Bar & Kitchen, with ample indoor seating and a lot of outdoor seating right next to the promenade. Huge sun-umbrellas are provided for shade and on a hot and sunny day it feels like you could be in southern Europe. The food promises to showcase local Sussex ingredients – think gastro pub with fairly standard prices of between £8.50-£9.50 for sandwiches on artisanal bread and hot fillings. The children’s menu has mains for £6 or a main course and a dessert for £7.50
  • There’s also a tearoom with a high level terrace overlooking the promenade and the beach. And don’t forget the vast expanse of Brighton’s pebbly beach stretches out in front of you, offering picnic space or somewhere to scoff takeaway fish and chips from a nearby chippy

How well does it cater for disabled visitors?

  • The large glass pod is fully accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs and is very spacious inside
  • Bench seating is available around the middle of the capsule but most visitors wander around admiring the view
  • There aren’t any seats close to the floor-to-ceiling windows so those less able to stand would have a restricted view when the pod was full with its maximum of 175 visitors
  • There are ample accessible loos on the boarding deck and in the beach building at beach level although there are no toilets in the pod itself
  • There are lifts connecting the street level/boarding deck entrance to the i360 and the beach level exhibition/shop/restaurant
  • For more information visit British Airways i360’s accessibility page

Opening dates and times:

Flights are on the hour and every half hour from 10am to 7.30pm Sunday to Thursday, and 10am to 8.30pm Fridays and Saturdays every day until 30 September. The i360 runs throughout the winter months but opening hours have not yet been released.

Best time to visit:

British Airways i360 is quietest on Wednesdays and Fridays

Tips for getting to the i360:

British Airways i360 is on Brighton seafront, just over a 10-minute walk from the pier

  • It’s a 15-minute downhill walk from Brighton Railway Station
  •  If you drive the postcode for your SatNav is BN1 2LN, but parking can be very expensive and there are frequently queues to get into the seafront multi-storey car parks
  • Park and Ride is located at Withdean Sports Centre (postcode BN1 5JD), and there is no charge for parking here

Worth a long car journey?

Brighton is already a much-loved destination for day-trippers, and a trip up the i360 would be – literally – the high point of your visit. Going up the attraction is a relatively short experience so it would be best to combine this with a classic day out at the Great British seaside to make it worth a long car journey.

Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near British Airways i360?

The Brighton beachfront location means there are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including:

Nearby attractions for a longer day out:

Brighton’s pebbly beach provides hours of fun, while the fun-filled pier and intriguing shops in The Lanes are a few minutes walk. Kings Road playground is right next to the tower. SEA LIFE Brighton is a 25-minute walk away along the beach, or walk into the town to the Brighton Toy and Model Museum.

MFM verdict:

The i360 feels like a real family-friendly activity for everyone, no matter what age. Our girls loved the unusual perspective of being so incredibly high up, whilst still feeling completely safe. They are a few years off seeking thrills on high-level rollercoasters!

If I’m honest I think the price is a bit steep for a relatively short trip. Even if you don’t spend any money on drinks, food or in the shop, it still works out at almost 50p per person, per minute for a family of four. It is a brilliant experience and was the highlight of our day out, but it’s in the splurge category for many families.

Visit British Airways i360 website

See more reviews of British Airways i360 on TripAdvisor

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Intro to me:

We took our daughters, aged 7 and 5, on a hot and sunny weekday at the start of the summer holidays in July