On a trip to the South Coast of England, Hazel Holloway takes a bird’s eye view of Brighton on the i360 Viewing Tower before sampling some wonderful fish and chips at the  West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café.

Step into the future and experience Britsh Airway’s ultimate i360 viewing tower then return to the present for good old fashioned fish and chips on the seafront – a flight and feast you won’t forget in a hurry.

If it’s your first visit to Brighton, don’t be alarmed as when elevated the pod can easily be mistaken for a flying saucer. It’s a sight to behold and is gradually becoming to Brighton what the iconic tower is to Blackpool.

Taking the view from British Airways i360 Viewing Tower
Taking the view from British Airways i360 Viewing Tower

BA’s glass orb gently lifts 138 metres skywards giving must-see views of Brighton. It’s a fully enclosed glass viewing pod. Not unlike Willie Wonka’s great flying glass elevator but the i360 doesn’t actually go into orbit. Instead, the science-fantasy feel journey glides gloriously and gracefully to the top of the tower and down again.

i360 Viewing Tower

Construction of the i360 started in 2014 and took two years to complete. Marks Barfield Architects were the design team, the same team behind the engineering of the London Eye. It’s made from 17 huge steel cans and built from the bottom up. It’s worth popping into the exhibition centre at the back of the gift shop to read all about the development of this magnificent superstructure.

Once through the airport-style security, watch this fabulous feat of architecture land before boarding. Stepping inside, I got the distinct impression that it was much bigger on the inside, like Dr Who’s Tardis. I looked around for a woman dressed in a long, flowing coat and t-shirt with a bright rainbow stripe – may be on the look-out for a new companion. I didn’t see her, so I headed to the bar, grabbed some fizz and took in the superlative views as the pod rose. On one side, houses and buildings become Lowry like juxtaposed by the infinity of nature’s sea on the other.

West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café

West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café
West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café

After descent head downstairs to the West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café, set almost on the sands with its pretty seafront view, and opposite the hauntingly beautiful West Pier ruins.

The café presents a semi-industrial look with earth tones and perfectly placed pops of colour on the walls painted by locals.

The statement piece has to be the circular, silver mirrored bar. Evoking a contemporary sophistication, featuring sleek metallic elements. The bar is stocked with Brighton gins, Sussex wines and other tipples. Everyone is welcome from kids to cocktail drinkers, vegans to meat-eaters.

The wonderful West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café
The wonderful West Beach Bar and Kitchen Café

I opted for fish and chips which are synonymous with the sea and summer. I wasn’t disappointed. The crispy, golden breaded batter utterly complemented the flaky white sustainably sourced local fish. I’m not sure what secret ingredient went into the tartar sauce, but whatever it was I couldn’t get enough. It was the most flavourful I have tasted and made it impossible not to dip the homemade style skinny chips in – all washed down with a lush cold glass of Pinot Blush.


While on the South Coast, why not go on a 1066 Country Walk from Winchelsea to Hastings?


The café maintains a strong focus on Sussex produce.

So, if you are in Brighton, take a stroll along the prom and call in for a bite to eat. Or choose one of the award-winning coffees, sit on the terrace and watch the eclectic mix of people Brighton has to offer. Try one of their signature cakes – in my opinion, the Earl Grey and Raspberry cake was heavenly.


For more information on British Airway’s i360 viewing tower click here.

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