Climbing High in Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben and we have been itching to climb it since it first opened way back in 2005.

Ten years on and we have finally made it!

The weather has been quite frankly awful in recent weeks with torrential rain and high winds, but we saw a break in the pattern of a few hours and decided to make the most of it. My weather app on my phone told me that we had a period of six hours which promised to be dry, however we did start to worry it may be a wasted journey as the heaven’s opened for most of the 45 minutes drive to Portsmouth but as we arrived the sun made an appearance too.

We were surprised that the signposts led us to Gunwharf Quay as I had assumed it was closer to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, but we found it tucked behind some restaurants on the Quay. Our bags were searched and we were scanned by metal detectors at the entrance before purchasing our tickets and having our photo taken on a green screen.

It was then time to take the express lift which takes all of 30 seconds to the first of the Three view Decks whilst the lift operator told us what to expect.

With full height glass walls which surround you on three sides, it really is a WOW! moment as you exit the lift as the windows allow you uninterrupted panoramic views across the city, harbour, sea and coastline. At this point you are 100m above sea level and if you are brave enough there is Sky Walk to walk across (or jump if you are my children). The unique glass floor is made up of 4 panes, each of which measure 2050 x 950mm, giving the floor at total area of 7.79m2. The overall thickness of the glass is 60mm and can hold a total weight of 288 stone – plenty of room to run across.

Spinnaker Tower

Of course the real treat is the breathtaking 350 degree city, country and seascapes which stretches over 23 miles.  The weather wasn’t perfect for us although we did manage to witness a brief sunny spell, but it was fascinating watching a storm front rolling across the Isle of Wight, brushing past us and then heading back out over the sea. A great learning opportunity for the kids.

Spinnaker Tower

We also had a fantastic view of the dockyard and HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. There are several i-View monitors on this floor which are interactive multi-touch screens which allow you to find out more about the many points of interest in the view, zoom in to get a closer look and switch between a clear day or magical night-time view. Isaac even got to drive a speedboat!

Spinnaker Tower

You can take the lift up to the 2nd and 3rd viewing decks but we chose to take the stairs, heading for Deck 3 first which is the highest deck with an altitude of 110m above sea level. When we were told in the lift that this deck was open to the elements I was looking forward to seeing the views without rain spotted glass in front of me, but sadly, the Sky Deck only lets the wind catch your hair as it is just the roof which is missing, with a large net like material above your heads.

Deck 2 is home to Cafe in the Clouds which offers hot and cold drinks and cakes to enjoy along with the breathtaking views.

Spinnaker Tower

We spent about an hour and a half in the tower and our hands were stamped so we could return anytime during the day, however we decided to head to the dockyard to look around some of the ships we had missed on our previous visit.

23 thoughts on “Climbing High in Spinnaker Tower

  1. Globalmouse says:

    I am so scared of heights that I have a feeling I might not enjoy this but it looks so spectacular that I would love to give it a try. It’s beautiful.

  2. This looks like a fun day out! I’ve been to the top of the high towers/buildings in London and they are fab, but I love the idea of overlooking the sea in this one! The habour looks stunning and its great there are lots of activities to do once up there! x

  3. Ickle Pickle says:

    Oh wow – this looks amazing. I love Portsmouth, I lived in Gosport for two years and loved the area. Kaz x

  4. I love glass floors! They add a ‘daring but safe’ element to a day out like this!!

  5. Mrs M says:

    Fab, I remember going there when they were building it but I’ve never been up it!

  6. It looks amazing but I don’t know whether I would be brave enough to step out onto the glass floors…eek! Stunning views though.

  7. oh my days think i would have had a meltdown I am a bit scared if heights! but bet it had some lovely views!!

  8. What amazing views – on a clear summers days that would be amazing!

  9. Sarah Ebner says:

    We too have been meaning to go here for some time – hopefully we’ll make it in 2016! Glad you enjoyed it. The photos are fab. There seems to be a lot to do in Portsmouth…..

  10. Eve says:

    You’re so brave!! I’d love to do something like this but I know I’d be a right wuss and end up backing out! I’ve been on the London Eye before but I had my eyes shut the whole time lol x

  11. This looks absolutely amazing! The boys and I went up the Shard just before Christmas and I SO enjoyed that!! I love a good view! Not good for vertigo though 😉

  12. Oh wow this looks amazing. Look a those views! I would love to do something like this – a place to put on my travel bucket list!

  13. Oh wow, this looks incredible. My stomach did flip a little when I saw the pic with the mug for some reason. Love the confidence of your littlies staring through the glass floor x

  14. Jen says:

    I would love to take my boys up. I love things like this. They built a vertical pier where we live, but it is only 6 stories high and should have been more like this!

  15. We love visiting GunWharf in Portsmouth, it’s amazing all the things you can do. I think next time we visit we’ll have to stop by the tower! My mummy’s a bit scared of heights though!!

  16. Mary Louise says:

    There is so much more to do at the spinnaker tower than i originally thought – and of course the shops…..
    Good excuse for a day out for all the family!

  17. Sonia says:

    Wow that looks incredible, but I could not go anywhere near that glass floor.

  18. How cool does that look! We have visited Portmouth and seen the tower but never ventured to the top. What amazing views. I love it when you can see the weather rolling in! x

  19. Keri-Anne says:

    WOW! Those views and i love that you can see the rain fallen in the distance. I bet that view was amazing x

  20. Ah wow, I love the views over the harbour! I’ve seen this a lot as I used to travel to the Isle of Wight regularly, maybe one day I’ll get up it!! 🙂

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