Saturday, June 22, 2024

Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower with children – overview


For years we’ve watched the sail form of the Spinnaker Tower fade into the space as we set off from Portsmouth throughout the Solent to the Isle of Wight, and every time I questioned what a go to up the Spinnaker Tower with children could be like.

View from the water of the Spinnaker Tower on a sunny day against a blue sky - my review of the Spinnaker Tower with kids

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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 search out out, braving the glass flooring on the first viewing degree and peeking out from the highest one at 110m up.

So when you’re planning a go to to Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower with children, right here’s every thing you might want to know earlier than you leap into their superfast raise.

Visiting the Spinnaker Tower with children

It generally appears that wherever you’re 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 beloved the sail-like form, excellent for a Portsmouth landmark given town’s seafaring historical past, and with some blue skies breaking via the earlier weeks of October rain, we’d chosen a fantastic day to go up.

As you stroll in, there’s a ‘Sail of the Solent’ introductory movie to start out off the go to, with among the historical past of Portsmouth, proper from Henry VIII and the Mary Rose via to extra trendy instances – my daughter was gripped, and would have fortunately sat and watched it via 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 when 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 primary viewing space, residence to the Spinnaker Tower’s well-known glass flooring. Proper within the centre of the room, it’s a comparatively small part of flooring, so if you wish to keep away from strolling on it, you possibly can.

There’s no manner my 11-year-old could possibly be persuaded onto it, however reassured by the truth that it might probably assist 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 beneath.

My legs and feet in colourful socks looking down through the glass floor of the Spinnaker Tower to the sea and the quayside at Gunwharf Quays below - my review of a visit to Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower with kids

It’s really made up of 4 panes of glass which helps to provide it its power, however remains to be impressively clear to look via – a number of children had been tiptoeing across the edge, others taking a brief stroll earlier than darting again.

Try my quick video for a style of strolling on the glass flooring on the Spinnaker Tower

However whereas that’s positively a spotlight, of the go to (when you courageous it!), it might probably’t examine to the spectacular views from the home windows throughout the aspect.

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 suppose – in addition to the South Downs.

There are helpful indicators dotted round by the home windows with some extra data on what you possibly can see as properly – as quickly as you enter, wanting alongside the coast, you’ll see HMS Warrior and out to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Try my overview of a go to to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with children

HMS Victory is below scaffolding so we couldn’t get a very good glimpse of Nelson’s flagship however Warrior, the world’s largest warship when it launched within the mid nineteenth century, appeared nearly like a toy from 100m up.

Searching 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 coated the Mary Rose wreck website.

And across the headland, you possibly can see out throughout Portsmouth and alongside the coast the opposite manner so far as Southsea Fortress.

Heading over to the steps, the following View Deck is 5m additional up, solely for The Clouds cafe the place you possibly can prebook afternoon tea (although we stopped in to have a fast peek out via their window whereas it was quiet).

After which onwards, previous an entire string of quirky info in regards to the tower’s historical past, to the best viewing platform, the Sky Backyard at 110m.

View of the plant wall with the logo for the Spinnaker Tower on View Deck 3, the highest viewing deck of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

There’s somewhat Instagrammable backyard wall to pose in entrance of, a number of deckchairs to take a seat in, and open sections above the glass panels for the breeze to return 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 children to benefit from the within this Portsmouth landmark as properly.

For extra issues to do in Portsmouth with children, take a look at my prime 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 turned an possibility in 2011 – the overall distance they’ve coated is larger than the space from the Earth to the Worldwide House 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 gained’t have to take them, though the Tower does generally have particular stair climb occasions.

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth: Have to know

Should you’re planning to go to the Spinnaker Tower with children (or with out!), right here’s among the important data you want.

Tickets and opening hours

Customary all-day admission tickets value £14.75 for adults, and £11.50 for youngsters aged 4-15. Below-fours enter free. You can even get household tickets for £51.00 (2 adults + 2 kids, or 1 grownup + 3 kids) in addition to concessions.

You can even purchase annual passes from £25 for adults, so properly value doing when you go to Portsmouth usually, or reside practically. There are additionally tickets with free cancellation accessible through Tiqets – e-book via my hyperlink utilizing the code MUMMYTRAVELS6 for a reduction.

View of the exterior of the white sail-shaped Spinnaker Tower from Gunwharf Quays - my review of the Spinnaker Tower with kids during a family day out in Portsmouth

There are sometimes particular occasions and trails throughout faculty holidays that are included on the whole admission.

The tower is normally open from 10-6pm on Friday-Sunday, from 10.30-6pm on different days – opening instances could differ so do verify earlier than you e-book.

There aren’t any timed slots, your ticket is legitimate all day and you’ll return as many instances as you need throughout the day, so when you fancy seeing the views at midday after which sundown, you possibly can.

How lengthy to spend

There’s no restrict on how lengthy you possibly can 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 flooring to benefit from the views, walked on the glass flooring and checked out the upper flooring, you’re more likely to want round 30-45 minutes.

View down through the glass floor of the Spinnaker Tower to the sea and the quayside at Gunwharf Quays below - my review of a visit to the Spinnaker Tower with kids

Should you plan to have afternoon tea on the second flooring, 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.

Should you’re in need of time, you might do every 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’ll be able to’t at all times predict the climate – our forecast rain ended up being a nice, if barely cloudy, October day.

However when you do go to with a prebooked ticket and you’ll’t spot all three Solent forts, you possibly can return at no cost – you might want to communicate to a Obligation Supervisor on the day in that case (and the View Assure doesn’t apply to walk-up tickets).

View from View Deck 1 towards the Solent forts and harbourfront land of Portsmouth from the Spinnaker Tower

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 vital in any other case it will begin to crack), you may favor to not expertise any slight swaying feeling.

Nevertheless, until the climate is extraordinarily dangerous, the tower doesn’t have a tendency to shut. Dramatic stormy views might be simply as attention-grabbing as blue skies, in any case.

What services are there?

There are bathrooms within the Spinnaker Tower together with on the bottom flooring and the view decks, in addition to baby-changing services.

There’s a restaurant on the bottom flooring known as the Spinnaker Kitchen and Bar – that’s open to all to purchase foods and drinks.

There’s additionally The Clouds on View Deck 2, the place afternoon tea is served – this have to be prebooked. Whereas there’s a small bar with drinks and cake, it’s presently solely accessible when you’ve booked prematurely.

There’s no youngster possibility for the Excessive Tea, though you possibly can prepare for a children lunch field possibility as an alternative: in that case, you might want to name as much as prepare this reasonably than reserving on-line.

There’s additionally a store on the bottom flooring with souvenirs, starting from children’ books to sea-inspired sculptures.

There’s buggy parking on the bottom flooring 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 depart your pushchair downstairs.

Is there parking?

The Spinnaker Tower is at Gunwharf Quays, so you possibly can park within the procuring centre automotive park throughout your go to – the retailers, eating places and cafes are additionally proper on the doorstep when you’re searching for some place else to eat (or a little bit of retail remedy) after your go to.

Should 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, corresponding to on Havant Road.

You can even get trains on to Portsmouth Harbour station close by, whereas Portsmouth bus station, The Exhausting, is near the Spinnaker Tower too.

Disclosure: My entry to the Spinnaker Tower with children was free for the aim of overview. This publish accommodates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee

Pictures copyright MummyTravels

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