Spinnaker Tower - Days out in Portsmouth
Spinnaker Tower is based at Gunwharf Keys, Portsmouth. The tower is 170m high and has three viewing decks. The decks have large panoramic windows affording you a view of Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and various parts of Hampshire.
Suggested Length of Visit
I spent an hour at the tower and suggest this is about the length of visit you should plan on. You are taken by lift from ground level to the first viewing deck. On stepping out onto the deck the view certainly has a "Wow!" factor. You can literally see for miles. There is also an outside lift that gives you a view of the surrounding area as you rise. The lift was out of action on the day I visited the Spinnaker Tower.
I must admit I did wonder how long the visit would take and how soon you would finish looking around, but the hour was enjoyable and there were plenty of local landmarks to see. The harbour is surprisingly busy, with a number of smaller boats sailing in and out in addition to cross channel ferries and local ferries to the Isle of Wight. Possibly the best time to visit would be when a larger naval vessel was either docking or leaving the city's naval base.
Ideal for Local and Naval People
It is hard to say just how interesting the attraction would be for people who are not familiar with Portsmouth or have a naval or maritime background. Children appeared to be entertained by the "walking on air" glass floor area on the first viewing deck. A lot of adults seemed far less sure about it. This glass floor area gives you the chance to look directly down to sea level. It's a long way down too!
The experience could be enhanced by taking a good pair of binoculars with you. You can hire some on your way in, but this does add to the cost of the visit. A camera with a long lens is another item worth taking along with you.
Discounts for Local Residents
If you are a local resident you can get a discount on entering. In order to receive the discount you need to show two form of identification to prove you do live in Portsmouth. I think this is a good idea, especially when you consider who much local residents contributed to the building costs of the tower.
Without the residents discount, price wise it is just over £20 for a family of four to visit. That feels about right for an hour's enjoyment for four people.
Café and Shop
The Spinnaker Tower also has its own café for light refreshments at the end of your visit. There is also a shop. The shop is small and the way we were shown out of the tower was away from the shop! It's not often that happens and at least you go away without the feeling that they are trying to get every last penny from you.
Getting to Spinnaker Tower
Portsmouth is a busy city when it comes to driving, so allow time to reach the Spinnaker Tower if you are traveling from outside the city. A large car park for Gunwharf Keys is available. Public transport links are excellent. You will find the attraction right next to Portsmouth Harbour railway station. It is also handy for a number of local bus routes as well.
Other Local Attractions
After you have visited the Spinnaker Tower you will find other attractions at Gunwharf Keys. These include a multiplex cinema and ten pin bowling alley. Close by you will also find HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. There are also a large number of restaurants too.