The Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
Dear mummy, we had the pleasure of visiting Hampshire’s tallest attraction at the weekend, the Spinnaker Tower. Not only did we see it from ground level while walking around Gunwharf Quays shopping outlet, we also had the opportunity to go up on it. It’s an impressive sight and can be seen from the motorway driving into Portsmouth.
The Spinnaker Tower opened in 2005 and so far has welcomed over 2.5 million visitors, wow mummy that’s a lot!! It’s one of the South Coast’s major attractions.
But it’s not for the faint hearted as my Grandma found out! She’s scared of heights you see, but braved the lift which transported us 100 meters above sea-level (in 28 seconds!) to see the spectacular views across Portsmouth’s historic dockland. There are 3 different viewing decks.
We found out from the friendly member of staff in the lift, Hannah, that the Spinnaker Tower is the UK’s tallest publicly accessible tower outside London. It’s even taller that the Blackpool Tower, Big Ben and the London Eye! And it weighs 30,000 tonnes and uses 201.2km of steel to reinforce the viewing decks alone! That’s enough steel to wrap twice around the Isle of Wight!
We went on one of the hottest days of the year where temperatures reached 30 degrees. But inside the Spinnaker Tower, even though it was busy, it was air conditioned and calm. At one stage we had a complete viewing deck to ourselves, before the mass of foreign exchange students commandeered the platform.
We enjoyed the 350 degree views and could see across the Solent to Southampton and the Isle of Wight, on a really clear day you can see as far as 23 miles out across the Portsmouth Harbour and we loved watching all the channel and IOW ferries sail past.
The window cleaners are going to have a job on their hands after I pressed myself up against the windows, my little sticky hands leaving prints as I pointed at the little people and boats down below.
Mummy and daddy liked the interactive touch screens and family trail which helped them make out the landscapes and found them very informative. They provided an overview of Portsmouth’s history which brought the views to life through giga-pixel technology (a bit like the maps of Google). This makes me confused as I don’t know what ‘Google’ means, so I go back to watching the boats and ignore mummy explaining this to me…
One of the bravest things we did during our visit to the Spinnaker Tower was venture across the Sky Walk, a glass floor raised 330 foot above Gunwharf Quays. We could see the tiny shoppers walking past with their little shopping bags.
It also gave us the opportunity to really appreciate the architecture of the tower. The tower takes it’s name and design from a sail of an ocean yacht and took four years to build. We had to take off our shoes as to not damage the glass floor.
Mummy went first stepping out across the open space, her bare feet stomping on the glass and I followed, at first I was nervous and couldn’t understand why people were gasping and pointing, but then I realised what people were looking at.
I was transfixed, down on my hands and knees pointing and umming in approval. I held my mummy’s hand to walk right across the Sky Walk floor and we took pictures. Grandma on the other hand was having none of it! She couldn’t bear to watch and it was a great achievement even getting her onto this first viewing platform. She was very brave!
We took the lift upwards again to the second platform, where in the corner of the room we could see abseiling equipment roped off, waiting for the next charity descent. Rather them than me, I thought, besides I could fit my whole body in one of those helmets!! It was nice and quiet up here and I got to sit by the windows and take in the views.
There was also a cafe on this deck called Cafe in the Clouds, but we didn’t venture in, we had too much too see. We didn’t go up onto the open air sky deck at the highest point as it was too busy and the stairs were packed, but we definitely got a taste for the high life.
We spent a great afternoon at Gunwharf Quays shopping and at the Spinnaker Tower, so would recommend it for something different to do with the kids. It’s not everyday you see that great view and get to walk over a glass floor with an impressive drop below.
The Spinnaker Tower hosts some great events from live music nights to comedy club nights, weddings to abseiling. Visit their events page to see what’s on. Mummy and daddy liked the look of the Ghoul Ball over the Halloween weekend 🙂
We will be back when I’m a little older, the Spinnaker Tower window cleaners haven’t seen the last of these grubby hands! Besides we have yet to see the Spinnaker Tower Mascot ‘Vugo’.
Admission is £8.95, Child £6.95 and Concession £7.95 and worth every penny we say.