For years we’ve watched the sail form of the Spinnaker Tower fade into the gap as we set off from Portsmouth throughout the Solent to the Isle of Wight, and every time I puzzled what a go to up the Spinnaker Tower with youngsters can be like.
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Lastly, with one other journey to Hampshire and the New Forest lined up for half-term, I bought the possibility to seek out out, braving the glass ground on the first viewing degree and peeking out from the highest one at 110m up.
So in the event you’re planning a go to to Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower with youngsters, right here’s every little thing it is advisable know earlier than you soar into their superfast raise.
Visiting the Spinnaker Tower with youngsters
It typically appears that wherever you might be in Portsmouth, you get sudden glimpses of the 170m tall construction peeking above the opposite buildings, so whether or not you’re strolling from Gunwharf Quays or strolling from the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as we had been, you’ll have a number of sights of the Spinnaker Tower earlier than you arrive.
I’ve at all times cherished the sail-like form, excellent for a Portsmouth landmark given the town’s seafaring historical past, and with some blue skies breaking by the earlier weeks of October rain, we’d chosen an excellent day to move up.
As you stroll in, there’s a ‘Sail of the Solent’ introductory movie to begin off the go to, with a few of the historical past of Portsmouth, proper from Henry VIII and the Mary Rose by to extra trendy occasions – my daughter was gripped, and would have fortunately sat and watched it by a second time.
However across the nook is the raise which takes you as much as the viewing decks – the high-speed raise is totally enclosed, so in the event you hate these glass lifts which whisk you up tall buildings, you don’t want to fret.
And simply 28 seconds later – though it appears even sooner as you’re travelling at 4m per second – you’re at View Deck 1, and 100 metres above sea degree.
That is the principle viewing space, residence to the Spinnaker Tower’s well-known glass ground. Proper within the centre of the room, it’s a comparatively small part of ground, so if you wish to keep away from strolling on it, you may.
There’s no method my 11-year-old might be persuaded onto it, however reassured by the truth that it will possibly help the load of two black rhino – a complete of 288 stone – I made a decision to threat it and after taking off my boots, edged slowly throughout, wanting down on the sea under.
It’s truly made up of 4 panes of glass which helps to present it its power, however continues to be impressively clear to look by – just a few youngsters had been tiptoeing across the edge, others taking a brief stroll earlier than darting again.
Try my brief video for a style of strolling on the glass ground on the Spinnaker Tower
However whereas that’s undoubtedly a spotlight, of the go to (in the event you courageous it!), it will possibly’t evaluate to the spectacular views from the home windows throughout the facet.
On a transparent day, they stretch for as much as 23 miles and you’ll see the Isle of Wight on the horizon – though not fairly so far as France, as some guests assume – in addition to the South Downs.
There are useful indicators dotted round by the home windows with some extra info on what you may see as properly – as quickly as you enter, wanting alongside the coast, you’ll see HMS Warrior and out to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
HMS Victory is beneath scaffolding so we couldn’t get a superb glimpse of Nelson’s flagship however Warrior, the world’s largest warship when it launched within the mid nineteenth century, seemed virtually like a toy from 100m up.
Looking throughout the Solent, we may see ships zipping and chugging throughout the water in addition to the Solent forts within the distance and the waters which lined the Mary Rose wreck website.
And across the headland, you may see out throughout Portsmouth and alongside the coast the opposite method so far as Southsea Fort.
Heading over to the steps, the subsequent View Deck is 5m additional up, completely for The Clouds cafe the place you may prebook afternoon tea (although we stopped in to have a fast peek out by their window whereas it was quiet).
After which onwards, previous a complete string of quirky info in regards to the tower’s historical past, to the very best viewing platform, the Sky Backyard at 110m.
There’s a bit of Instagrammable backyard wall to pose in entrance of, just a few deckchairs to sit down in, and open sections above the glass panels for the breeze to come back in – it’s a smaller viewing deck, and with a reasonably brisk October wind blowing, it wasn’t the day to hold round.
I can simply think about grabbing one of many seats on a sunny day and simply absorbing the views although.
As a result of in addition to wanting nice from the surface, it’s properly value discovering time for a go to to the Spinnaker Tower with youngsters to benefit from the within this Portsmouth landmark as properly.
For extra issues to do in Portsmouth with youngsters, take a look at my high picks
The Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth: enjoyable info
The design for the Tower was chosen by Portsmouth residents round seven years earlier than the Tower was lastly full – the 2 sweeping arcs are designed to appear to be a spinnaker sail, giving the Tower its identify.
Over 15,000 folks have abseiled down the tower because it grew to become an possibility in 2011 – the full distance they’ve lined is bigger than the gap from the Earth to the Worldwide Area Station and again!
The concrete used to create the Tower would fill 5 and a half Olympic sized swimming swimming pools, and the metal used would stretch twice across the Isle of Wight. The structural metal used for the bows weighed 1,200 tonnes, the equal of 12 blue whales.
There are 570 steps from the bottom to View Deck 3. Fortunately, you received’t must take them, though the Tower does typically have particular stair climb occasions.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth: Have to know
When you’re planning to go to the Spinnaker Tower with youngsters (or with out!), right here’s a few of the important info you want.
Tickets and opening hours
Commonplace all-day admission tickets value £14.75 for adults, and £11.50 for kids aged 4-15. Below-fours enter free. You may as well get household tickets for £51.00 (2 adults + 2 kids, or 1 grownup + 3 kids) in addition to concessions.
You may as well purchase annual passes from £25 for adults, so properly value doing in the event you go to Portsmouth usually, or stay practically. There are additionally tickets with free cancellation obtainable through Tiqets – guide by my hyperlink utilizing the code MUMMYTRAVELS6 for a reduction.
There are sometimes particular occasions and trails throughout faculty holidays that are included usually admission.
The tower is normally open from 10-6pm on Friday-Sunday, from 10.30-6pm on different days – opening occasions could range so do verify earlier than you guide.
There are not any timed slots, your ticket is legitimate all day and you’ll return as many occasions as you need through the day, so in the event you fancy seeing the views at midday after which sundown, you may.
How lengthy to spend
There’s no restrict on how lengthy you may spend within the Spinnaker Tower after you arrive – by the point you’ve watched the introductory video, taken the raise as much as the primary ground to benefit from the views, walked on the glass ground and checked out the upper flooring, you’re prone to want round 30-45 minutes.
When you plan to have afternoon tea on the second ground, or cease within the floor cafe afterwards, you’ll clearly want a bit longer, or if you wish to spend longer gazing out to sea, you are able to do so.
When you’re wanting time, you can do every little thing inside round half an hour, though any much less and also you’ll miss out on the expertise.
What if the climate is dangerous?
You may’t at all times predict the climate – our forecast rain ended up being a pleasing, if barely cloudy, October day.
However in the event you do go to with a prebooked ticket and you’ll’t spot all three Solent forts, you may return without cost – it is advisable communicate to a Obligation Supervisor on the day in that case (and the View Assure doesn’t apply to walk-up tickets).
If there are very excessive winds, the tower is designed to flex as much as 150mm – whereas it’s completely regular for it to take action (and obligatory in any other case it might begin to crack), you would possibly favor to not expertise any slight swaying feeling.
Nonetheless, until the climate is extraordinarily dangerous, the tower doesn’t have a tendency to shut. Dramatic stormy views might be simply as fascinating as blue skies, in spite of everything.
What amenities are there?
There are bogs within the Spinnaker Tower together with on the bottom ground and the view decks, in addition to baby-changing amenities.
There’s a restaurant on the bottom ground known as the Spinnaker Kitchen and Bar – that’s open to all to purchase food and drinks.
There’s additionally The Clouds on View Deck 2, the place afternoon tea is served – this should be prebooked. Whereas there’s a small bar with drinks and cake, it’s at present solely obtainable in the event you’ve booked prematurely.
There’s no little one possibility for the Excessive Tea, though you may prepare for a youngsters lunch field possibility as a substitute: in that case, it is advisable name as much as prepare this fairly than reserving on-line.
There’s additionally a store on the bottom ground with souvenirs, starting from youngsters’ books to sea-inspired sculptures.
There’s buggy parking on the bottom ground by the lifts. The primary View Deck is accessible by raise though the upper ranges are solely accessible by stairs – inevitably there’s restricted room, so it’s higher to go away your pushchair downstairs.
Is there parking?
The Spinnaker Tower is at Gunwharf Quays, so you may park within the procuring centre automotive park throughout your go to – the outlets, eating places and cafes are additionally proper on the doorstep in the event you’re on the lookout for some other place to eat (or a little bit of retail remedy) after your go to.
When you’re additionally planning to go to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, as we had been, the Spinnaker Tower is strolling distance from the Historic Dockyard automotive park as properly, in addition to different public automotive parks in Portsmouth, equivalent to on Havant Road.
You may as well get trains on to Portsmouth Harbour station close by, whereas Portsmouth bus station, The Laborious, is near the Spinnaker Tower too.
Disclosure: My entry to the Spinnaker Tower with youngsters was free for the aim of evaluation. This put up comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee
Photographs copyright MummyTravels