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For amazing views of Portsmouth, take your children to the top of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower 

What is it?

The 170-metre tall Emirates Spinnaker Tower offers panoramic views around Portsmouth harbour, The Solent and the Isle of Wight.

It’s the city’s most prominent landscape and can be seen from 23 miles away.

The tower was a millennium project but wasn’t opened until 2005. Portsmouth residents voted for the design – the Spinnaker sail shape reflecting the city’s maritime heritage.

Where is it?

The Spinnaker Tower is on the waterfront in Portsmouth, in the middle of the Gunwharf Quays shopping and leisure complex. You can’t miss it!

An aerial shot of Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

What did we think?

This gives spectacular views and is a great experience for children. It’s only a quick trip but there is an animated video and quiz sheet to keep youngsters entertained, as well as two cafes.

What exactly is there to do?

*An animated video at the start.

*A lift which takes you up 100 metres to the main viewing level in 30 seconds – travelling at 4 metres per second.

A glass floor on the viewing platform at Spinnaker Tower

*The main viewing platform has a 350 degree view out of the windows. There is a Sky Walk on this level – a glass floor section in the middle of the room to walk over, which is good fun for those who don’t mind heights.

The glass floor with a view down from Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

The glass floor

*Also on the main level, for £4 per person you can have a go at a virtual reality game called Altitude for aged nine and over, which makes you feel like you are navigating your way around the outside of the tower with the harbour below.

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*On the next floor up there is a small cafe called The Clouds, with a great view, which serves cakes and drinks.

*Above that, on the top floor, is the Sky Garden – this level is open to the elements and has deck chairs and a green artificial grass floor.

*There is another bigger cafe on the ground floor with much more choice.

Also available for the adventurous:

*Abseiling 100 metres down the side of the tower.

*The Drop – jump from a platform 25 metres high (weekends only).

Our top tips 

*Don’t skip the animated video before the lift as it is good for children and tells the story of Portsmouth.

*If your child is upset by the height, there isn’t much need to take them up the stairs to levels 2 and 3. The main level is bigger and the stairs can get busy.

*Book in advance for cheaper entry and also check out special events during the school holidays such as character visits.

Don’t miss our review of a family holiday to Portsmouth by clicking here!

Emirates Spinnaker Tower information

Food: Drinks and cakes on the second floor cafe 105 metres up and a bigger cafe on the ground floor.

Opening hours: Daily 10am to 5.30pm.

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Cost: Family ticket £35 on the day. Adult entry £11.50, children (aged four to 15) £8.50. Under-fours free. A ticket is valid all day and booking online saves 10 per cent.

Best for: All ages

Time needed: 45 minutes.

Access and restrictions: The first two viewing levels (the main floor and the cafe) are available via a lift to wheelchair users. There are three disabled toilets on site.

Address: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1 3TT. There is a large car park at Gunwharf Quays.

(Main picture credit: Stefan and Sara Venter)

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