THE i360 welcomed back visitors today as the country entered the next stage of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

Gliding to 450ft above Brighton, The Argus was given an exclusive look inside the seafront attraction that reopened its doors as part of the government's easing of restrictions.

The i360 had been closed since the third national lockdown was introduced in January, forcing the venue to remain empty for the entire year to date.

Now, as many hospitality venues across the country opened for the first time this year, people were able to board the attraction and soar high above the city once again.

Among many changes to comply with restrictions, Ian Hart, chief operating officer at BA i360, said the attraction "continuously supplies" fresh air from the seafront, rather than recirculating it.

 

The Argus: The view from the top of the i360The view from the top of the i360He said: "We are thrilled to reopen our doors to the public. Our team are really looking forward to welcoming visitors once again to enjoy the unique BA i360 experience and the incredible views.

"BA i360 is the perfect venue to reunite and celebrate with friends and family - it’s a fun and uplifting experience – just what people are looking for after so many months in lockdown.

“We have of course reviewed and updated our Covid secure measures and our confident that we provide a safe and hygienic environment for all visitors and staff.

"Our location on Brighton’s beach means plenty of fresh air and outdoor space.

The Argus: It was a quiet flight as our reporter glided 450ft in the air It was a quiet flight as our reporter glided 450ft in the air

"The BA i360 pod is ten times the size of a London Eye capsule so it is extremely spacious. Visitors can easily socially distance while freely moving around to enjoy the 360-degree views.

"We also have a sophisticated air conditioning system that brings in a continuous supply of fresh air from outside and then expels it rather than recirculating it.

"We use our outdoor deck for pre-boarding and after their flight, visitors can enjoy a meal or drink on our café’s sun terrace or on West Beach restaurant’s beachfront terrace.

“It’s great that the city will be able to get back to doing what it does best – ahead of what we hope will be a great summer for our tourism sector.”

The Argus: One couple enjoyed the view One couple enjoyed the view

Taking around 25 minutes, the pod climbed steadily to 450ft, giving a 360-degree view of the city and the landmarks around it.

Once there, the pod was suspended in the air for almost ten minutes, before making its descent back to earth.

Crews had been working throughout the week to prepare the venue for its reopening, which included scaling the 162 metre structure.

Pictures taken from the top of the pod showed crews wearing protective equipment, while they harness themselves onto the viewing pod.