Located on the bustling seafront, the British Airways i360 would perhaps look odd if it were anywhere other than ever-quirky Brighton, South East England. Perhaps the closest some of us might come to real-life UFO experience; the i360 tower is quite the spectacle towering 450 feet above the famous pebble beach, ensconced by a huge shiny doughnut and visible on some European flight paths (as I found out earlier this year!)

And when they say “take a flight”, they mean it. I wasn’t quite prepared for the airport-like environment laid out inside. We had a scheduled “flight time” but unfortunately arrived a few minutes late of the 20 min cut-off, so were put onto the next flight 30 mins later. After a short wait we were ushered into the “boarding gate”, complete with pad down from security, so don’t be bringing anything with you that you don’t want being rummaged through.

Inside the boarding lounge, there’s a photographer, a limited amount of seating, toilets and thankfully the first of two Nyetimber bars. Being that I can’t physically resist fizzy wine we were sure to try some of the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, a totally delish, yet extortionately priced glass of sparkling English wine. However, this did not stop me from having two. If there’s three or more of you I’d suggest just buying the bottle for £50 but bear in mind there isn’t a huge amount of time to enjoy it – 50 mins maximum from entering the boarding room to exiting the spaceship – although they didn’t seem to mind me swanning around the gift shop with my unfinished glass after the flight like an eccentric millionaire.

Finally, we filtered into the big silver doughnut for our flight. The platform is surprisingly stable, even though it was very windy on that particular day. I think even people who don’t love heights would feel pretty secure. There’s a full bar onboard which serves sparkling wine, cocktails, beer and soft drinks along with some small snacks. Staff are dressed charmingly as genuine BA cabin crew, which helped to drive home that whole airport vibe. Naturally, for journalistic purposes, I was forced to test the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee again for consistency and found it to be just as delicious and extortionate as it was on the ground. Bar staff were very attentive, and I already mentioned those snazzy outfits.

The viewing pod moves very slowly up and down, taking around 15 mins each way with a super smooth ride. You can expect excellent views of the beachfront, pier and more residential areas tapering back towards the South Downs National Park – which is just about visible on the horizon. There’s a small amount of seating around the interior which is suitable for anyone needing to be seated, but viewing can be obscured by people clustered around the edge, so be prepared to stand ideally. There’s plenty of room to wander around and have your own space.

As you can imagine, it’s selfie heaven and no doubt you’ll accidentally make it into a variety of guest’s holiday photos, whether you like it to not. It was pleasant to stand beside the elegantly curved glass with a cheeky glass of wine and enjoy the largely unseen view of Brighton’s rooftops. Admittedly, it’s a bit different from the cityscapes usually displayed in these kinds of viewing attractions but makes for superb viewing of the pier and seaside parades that Brighton is famous for.

Brighton doesn’t have a huge amount of attractions, so I’d say this is one of the more worthwhile ones to consider if you’re looking for activities, as it’s nice to take a serene moment away from the crowds and enjoy Brighton’s folksy charm from above. Also, it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by all age groups and physical abilities – and a great way to get a grasp of Brighton’s layout. The i360 also hosts events such as morning yoga and silent discos. Bear in mind there are no toilet facilities onboard, and I have it on good authority from a Brighton-based pal that a Gay Pride silent disco once when awry when party guests couldn’t quite hold out for the toilet and ended up making use of a bucket! Although, I’d like to imagine it was at least a classy Nyetimber ice bucket. So be sure to make use of the facilities in the boarding area ahead of time.

There is also a small cafe downstairs and super-cute gift shop with some unique items. Naturally, they are a little pricier than your usual tourist goods, but I think if you’re looking for something unique this is a great place to find it. You can also purchase the photos taken in the boarding area on the ground floor. Brighton has an arty style, and this is reflected in many of the souvenirs made by British designers.

It’s advised to book in advance, especially on weekends and during the summer months. When we visited in March, it appeared some customers were buying tickets on the spot, so might be worth trying even if you haven’t pre-arranged your flight. You can also pre-pay for drinks if desired.

If you want to add some more Brighton fun to your stay, you can purchase a Brighton Explorer Pass and accompany your i360 flight with a trip to the majestic Royal Pavillion – a summer home of King George IV filled with plentiful opulence and history – and a trip to Brighton’s Sea Life Centre, to occupy a rainy afternoon with kids in tow. Passes are valid for 30 days from your flight date, so plenty of time to truly explore.

To book your i360 flight or Brighton Explorer pass head to:

British Airways i360

Brighton Explorer Pass

*I was gifted a Brighton Explorer Pass to experience the i360, but all opinions stated are my own.