Never let it be said that this website doesn’t go further than most in the pursuit of the best experiences for our wonderful readers, even if it includes dangling 450 ft in the air from Brighton’s iconic British Airways i360.
Despite the fact that I regularly suffer from vertigo (there’s an infamous family story that involves me, the see-through floor of the Sealife Centre in London and a queue that built up to epic proportions), and get sweaty palms when looking up at tall buildings, this week I said yes to doing two things I never thought I would.
Thing one, go up in the i360, climb out of a hatch on the roof, and walk on the top of the pod.
Thing two, after a nice (albeit high) walk, re-enter the pod, only to abseil 450ft to the floor.
I can’t give my reasons for saying yes. Suffice it to say they include turning a certain age and most definitely do not include some sort of mid-life crisis where I’ve decided I need to live life on the edge. Promise.
But I did. I said yes, and I am so thrilled I did. And I think you should too.
Sure, you can go up in the pod as usual. You can even sign up to do wine tastings, yoga or go to a gig within the i360. I’m sure they’ll be fun. But, the team behind the i360 has curated three epic high-adrenaline experiences, and having experienced two, I can heartily recommend the Walk360 and the Drop360.
First things first. The team is incredible. We were taken through every health and safety check clearly and concisely both on and off the ground. Our harnesses and all the other trappings were fitted by two highly knowledgeable experts who checked and rechecked everything, so you know you’re in good hands (sometimes literally; it’s fair to say there’s a little manhandling which goes with an adult being secured into a harness, but I preferred that to the alternative and something failing).
The ascent in the pod is in parts terrifying and breathtaking. It goes pretty quickly and you don’t necessarily realise how high you’ve gone until you peek out. I was just starting to question my decision to say yes when we’d reached our final destination, the very top, and honestly, by that point, I was laughing at how utterly ridiculously high everything was. It didn’t feel real.
Then our safety team called us through, one by one, to climb up a ladder out of the hatch, and be secured to the rail that encircles the top. I went first. I’m very much a “eat the frog” kinda person when it comes to this sort of thing, might as well be out in front rather than worrying near the back. So for a beautiful few minutes, it was just me, the clearest of evenings and the most ridiculous view.
Apparently, we could see roughly 15 miles on all sides, which included spotting the Isle of Wight in the distance, as well as Brighton Marina and further towards Rottingdean on the other side. To be that far up, with no barrier to the view was incredible, there’s nothing else like it.
The sounds of the busy after-work crowd on the beach rescinded, the traffic noise was muted, the air was fresh and I could have breathed it all in for hours. Of course, I couldn’t because as lovely as the Walk360 is, we’d said yes to the Drop360 too. So, myself and the other brave press pack, made their way back down into the pod (again, one by one).
Once again we were met with safety experts who checked and rechecked all our equipment. And then it was time. So of course I went first again. Lady Vertigo who gets the wobbles at the merest thought of anything like this usually, was taken over with adrenaline after seeing such a stunning view just moments before.
The Drop360 works by the team setting up a series of abseil ropes that let you out of the side door and you sit into the harness, before descending relatively slowly down the line. There was the briefest, head spinning moment when I looked out before I did the drop, but very quickly the excitement of doing it takes everything else away.
Entirely on my own, I enjoyed seeing the view from all angles.
I looked up at the underside of the i360 and caught my reflection in it which made me laugh at how bonkers I’d been to say yes. It’s a really, really long way from the top. But it doesn’t feel like it. As I came nearer to the ground there were plenty of onlookers ready to clap and cheer the descent, which was good as the elation of doing it is something you want to share.
As soon as I got down, I was ready to do it all again. And you will be too.
Prices start at £40 for the Walk360.
If you fancy a go, to book go to britishairwaysi360.com/extreme-360 and have a look at all the experiences.
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This post was contributed by Lisa Brace