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Published on : Monday, August 8, 2016
The UK’s London Eye has a successor in the seaside town of Brighton. The biggest tourist attraction to be built in Brighton for over a century made its first official “flight” last week, carrying passengers 138 metres above the seafront in a glass viewing pod.
The futuristic, doughnut-shaped viewing platform elevates up to 200 passengers at a time via a 162 metre-high (532 ft) steel observation tower. It is the world’s tallest moving observation tower and also its Guinness record breaking slimmest thanks to a diameter of 3.9 meters (12.8 feet) and a height-to-width ratio of over 40:1. At three times the height of Nelson’s column, many who look up at the i360 from the seafront promenade comment that it is too high to contemplate riding in.
Visitors have to go through airport style security checks to enter this futuristic glass-and-steel pod and slow glide to a height of 138 meters (453 feet), an experience akin to floating in the air given the 360-degree views out as you walk around the cabin.
The tower is located in front of the city’s historic, much-loved West Pier. This is also the 150th anniversary year of Eugenius Birch’s Grade-I listed Brighton West Pier, which opened in 1866. The modern interpretation of that now-defunct icon was conceived as a “vertical pier,” according to CEO Marks Barfield Architects, David Marks.
Marks said that, their vision was to follow in the spirit of the original pier, inviting visitors to walk on air and gain a new perspective of the city, just as in the past they walked on water
The tower’s cantilever design, is designed to withstand typical Brighton wind conditions.
The 93-tonne “doughnut” glides silently down to an access platform at ground level where two glass doors automatically part. The i360’s viewing pod is 10 times the size of a London Eye capsule. The ride up takes 20 minutes, or 30 minutes in the evening when the pod turns into a Sky Bar serving English sparkling wine, Harvey’s Ale and Sussex Wobblegate juices. Tickets cost £13.50 adults; £6.75 children. Under 4s free.