Tips + Trends

The World’s Tallest Moving Observation Tower Isn’t Where You Think

If you think the world’s tallest moving observation tower is in a skyscraper-loving city like New York, Tokyo or Dubai, you would be wrong.

The quaint seaside town of Brighton, an hour from London, claims this height-defying structure, which provides passengers with panoramic views 450-feet above the ground inside a massive moving glass-enclosed dome from its beach front promenade.

Branded the British Airways i360, the tower was designed by the husband and wife team of David Marks and Julia Barfield, who are also behind architectural marvels the London Eye and Kew Gardens. Its builders also call it “the world’s first vertical cable car,” but we’re not sure what that really means.

Altogether, the i360 measures 531 feet in height, just 23 feet shy of the Washington Monument, providing views that stretch as far as 26 miles on a clear day.

(Above and below): The British Airways i360 is the world’s tallest and thinnest moving observation tower. (Photos courtesy of British Airways i360)

There are, of course, taller structures with observation decks providing some very impressive views.

When it comes to towers, Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower is the highest in the United States at 1,149 ft, followed by San Antonio, Texas’ Tower of the Americas, at 750 ft. Chicago’s Willis Tower has the highest observation deck in the U.S. at 1,354 ft.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa has the world’s highest observation deck at 1,823 ft on its 148th floor. The tallest tower in the world is the Tokyo Skytree, at 2,080 ft. When it opened in 1976, Toronto’s CN Tower, at 1,815 ft., was the tallest free-standing structure and world’s tallest tower.

But at 905 ft., Paris’ Eiffel Tower is the most visited observation deck in the world, with around six million visitors a year.

What makes the i360 unique is that it’s the tallest “moving” observation tower–moving being the operative word.

Up to 200 passengers can take each journey for around $19, which lasts around 20 minutes during the day and 30 minutes in the evening.

A free multilingual British Airways i360 app provides details of what passengers can see below them.

There are also food options on board, including champagne from the Nyetimber Sky Bar.

(Above) Inside the i360 tower. (Below) The view the 200 guests inside the glass dome will see high above Brighton, the seaside town that’s an hour from London. (Photos courtesy of British Airways i360)

The i360 is the latest attraction to open in the family friendly city known for its amusement parks and beaches. It cost $60 million to build the tower.

“Our idea behind this is very simple,” says architect David Marks. “It is to give people pleasure. People love to see a landscape from above Anyone who’s ever visited the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building or the London Eye knows that a bird’s-eye view of a famous city is a sight that never leaves you. Landmarks like these not only enhance the skyline—they celebrate the cities they belong to.”