World’s first vertical cable car opens in Brighton – here’s what it’s really like to ride

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Brighton seafront is voted one of the top 10 city-beach destinations in the world and it’s no surprise considering the miles of gorgeous sea, its iconic pebbled beach, winding cobbled streets, and the many attractions that thousands enjoy every summer. New for 2022 is the Walk 360 experience; one of the new range of extreme attractions at the British Airways i360 on Brighton beach. Russell Higham went to try out the world’s first vertical cable car just before it opens to the public. 

Long-gone is the nice gentle seaside activities like donkey rides along the beach. 

Instead, seaside holiday-makers want bigger and scarier thrills these days. 

So what better way to see Brighton in all its glory that from a viewing tower? 

Standing on top of the glass viewing pod, apparently. 

The observation tower is 162m high (532ft) and overlooks the whole of the Sussex coastline. 

You initially take the gentle ‘flight’ up to the skies in the viewing pod, before a glass panel is opened and visitors are encouraged to climb a ladder onto the roof of the pod. 

Luckily you’re attached to a safety rope and there’s an inner rail to hold onto. 

Russell explained what it is like: “I’m perched, shaking, on top of a cable car 450 feet in the sky above Brighton seafront, heart-in-mouth, doing my best to pretend I’m not petrified with fear. 

“We’re so far up in the air that even the seagulls don’t seem to venture this high. 

“It’s completely safe, of course: I’m clipped securely to a steel rail by a thick cable as I walk right around the circumference of the tower, following an instructor who points out the various landmarks which look tiny from up here.

“I could have been even more insane and chosen one of the other experiences available: dropping down on a rope from up here all the way to the ground, or climbing to the very top of the 162-metre tall tower on ladders mounted inside the central shaft. 

“But that’s only four metres wide – when it opened back in 2016 it entered the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the world’s most slender tower’ – and I’m not that slender myself anymore so didn’t fancy getting stuck inside.” 

Russell went on to reveal an exciting moment he witnessed while experiencing the i360 Walk. 

“Before I left the comfort of the Nytimber Sky Bar, my fellow i360 passenger Matt Underwood, 24, from Southampton, provided a heartstopping moment of his own as he whipped out a ring and proposed to his girlfriend of three-and-a-half years, Nicole Carpenter.

“Happily, I had time to watch her accept.” 

Russell continued: “Of course, not everybody gets their kicks by walking on the wild side, or climbing up and jumping out of it. 

“As we return to the ground, all of us feeling uplifted after our different experiences. 

“I ask a glowing Nicole how she’s feeling. Her answer is exactly the same one as I give when asked about my sky-walk: ‘On top of the world!’” 

Walk 360 tickets start from £40 (minimum age 12). Regular flights from £11.75 

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