I360 - Brighton
A few weeks ago we visited Grandma and Grandad and Auntie Alice in Brighton and went on the I360. I was a bit nervous about this as I'm not hugely height friendly and this is HIGH!
We turned up on one of the windiest days I've ever felt in Brighton, we were literally fighting the wind across the sea front and standing at the bottom of the I360 and watching the clouds scudding across the sky so fast induced quite the sense of vertigo! I decided to focus on the sea and watched amazing huge waves crashing onto the shore, Little Q has never seen the Sea so lively and was amazed. We got snacked up and lined up for our turn on the I360.
On the way in they checked our tickets and our bags were searched (just like a flight!) which was handled really respectfully and quickly and was really reassuring. After you've been allowed in you are lined up and told to stand in 3 different poses for the bonus novelty photos you can buy at the end. I'm always sceptical of these but will get it done and see what it looks like at the end as part of the fun.
We were welcomed onto the I360 by British Airways air stewards and parked the buggy out of the way in the middle and then let Little Q loose. This took quite the deep breath on my part as watching your toddler hurtle towards a glass wall even at ground level is a little unnerving - even when you KNOW it's doughnut shaped and she's not going to hit it! Once we were all on board, the doors closed and we started to rise into the air so slowly and gently that only the sudden disappearance of the ground really gives you any clue you are moving!
Little Q loved it, she couldn't get enough of leaning over the bar and looking down through the glass doughnut at the sea appearing below us. My nerves seemed to be holding up so I started to really enjoy the views and Grandma and Little Q went on a whirlwind tour of the doughnut to see every side.
The ride was not particularly packed out, there are plenty of seats in a ring around the centre if you do need to sit down but it felt buzzy but like we still had our own space which was great! Having a toddler in a crowded space is a nightmare and this has been really well thought out in terms of numbers.
There is a bar with a lovely range of drinks which we decided not to take advantage of as we had lunch booked for straight after (and it was 11 am and drinking at 11 am with a toddler in tow feels naughty and not in a good way).
We really lucked out with the weather as it was beautifully clear and despite the epic winds not cold at all. We could see for miles from the top (which is the point really!) and it was amazing to see the sea front stretching out before us in both directions, it made everything look really close up, like a miniature town!
Something really cool I'd never been aware of is how many Brighton buildings have paintings on top of them and Little Q loved pointing out the pictures we could see. It was then time to come back down and we found ourselves descending below the entry level to the actual sea front. You exit through the gift shop (of course!) which is actually very tasteful and full of lovely Brighton based memorabilia and a great range of kids books and toys. (The Jolley Pirates of this weeks book review was bought here on impulse!) There are super cute ray, whale and sea gull soft toys but Little Q's dad gave me 'the look' which reminded me that I'd recently sworn that Little Q needed no more soft toys and so they remained sadly unbought.
As you exit you walk past the photo collection point, and you can buy all sorts from just the picture to a special album with your photos printed and presented in! I couldn't help but notice that because I was wearing a green cardigan and they obviously use a green screen technology to put the images together I kept disappearing into the background and was a floating head in most of them! Luckily I find this hilarious and wasn't really intending on getting the picture anyway but it was a bit of a shame as they were actually nice pictures. SO if you want to get the pictures don't wear anything light green!
We went for Lunch in the restaurant below the I360, we'd booked a table with a highchair as it was a special occasion and when we arrived they'd put us in a round booth as it was the special table. This was a lovely thought but wasn't going to work with Little Q who see's booths like this as an extension of soft play rather than a dining table (sigh) so Grandma spoke to the waiting staff and very quickly we had a normal table with a sea view instead. It's awful feeling like you are making a fuss but they didn't batt an eyelid and sorted us really quickly which was a relief. One settled we had to choose what to eat. THIS was hard! The menu was broad and all ingredients locally sourced which was amazing and made you want to try it all! Auntie Alice and myself ended up going for a few of the sharing mix and match dishes instead of a full main and were really happy with our choice. The burger Little Q's dad ordered was HUGE and apparently delicious but I'd have struggled to finish it!
In summery, this is a great little trip, the ride itself is short and so plan to do other stuff around it, can really recommend the associated restaurant ! We arrived for an 11am ride and had lunch booked for 12.30, after the ride we had about 20 minutes to wait before going to our table so Little Q and Daddy ran up and down the promenade and worked up an appetite whilst I stayed with the buggy and watched life guards zipping up and down the beach on their beach quads making sure people stayed clear of the 6 foot waves.
- there is no toilet on the ride and only 2/3 (inc disabled) at the launch pad so make sure you arrive in good time to pop to the loo
- bring a good camera! the views are stunning
- don't let vertigo put you off!
- book a table at the resteraunt if you are going to go there after / before as it was BUSY
- do have a look in the shop as there is lovely quality stuff in there.
- don't wear green if you want a novelty photo!
http://britishairwaysi360.com/ - for the ride itself
http://britishairwaysi360.com/eat-drink/west-beach-bar-kitchen/ - the restaurant