Travel

Up the Spinnaker Tower with kids – a day out in Portsmouth

As I mentioned in the Diggerland post a few months back, we do enjoy using our Tesco Clubcard points. So on a beautiful sunny Sunday, we decided to ignore the low temperatures and go with the kids to Portsmouth to admire the view from the Spinnaker Tower.

We had previously been to Portsmouth twice. Once for no reason whatsoever. The second time to visit the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and walk onboard HMS Alliance, the only remaining WW2 era submarine. Each time we noticed the Spinnaker Tower (it is hard to miss as it’s a 170-metre observation tower). We became curious to go up and see the view. And that’s what we did on this particular Sunday. We drove more than 2 hours (1h36m was the Waze estimate for the journey), parked the car at Gunwharf Quays and made our way up the Spinnaker.

Tickets can be booked online, 24 hours previous to the visit. Since for us the visit was a spur of the moment, we bought the tickets at the entrance. We paid with 3 Tesco vouchers and £0.50 for the whole family. After that, we waited for the lift to come and take us up to View Deck 1. And as soon as we got off the elevator, this is what we saw:

West view from Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
West view from Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

In the photo above, the boat crossing the channel is a ferry that takes you from Portsmouth to Gosport. This is the ferry we had previously used to go to the Portsmouth Submarine museum.

View of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Portsmouth
View of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Portsmouth

As you may have noticed, the above photo is somewhat green, even after trying to apply some filters and adjust the colours. This is because the glass through which you can admire the view from Spinnaker Tower is green. I managed to adjust the white balance to most of the photos. Yett I also wanted to include the ones that remained “greenish” because I like them too.

View of Haslar Lake from Spinnaker Tower
View of Haslar Lake from Spinnaker Tower

So here we are, on View Deck 1, looking all around us. Admiring the view and taking pictures, we could also see a painting only wall, close to the lift.

Wall paintings - Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

And then, all of a sudden, our kids were drawn by a magnet which looked like this:

The glass floor of Spinnaker Tower
The glass floor of Spinnaker Tower

A glass floor, on which you could step only barefoot. My kids just loved running, playing, hoping and relaxing on it (I mean it!). This was definitely the main attraction of this tower, from their point of view. So we did what any other parent would do. We let the kids enjoy the view beneath Spinnaker Tower and walked around enjoying a really relaxing view.

Wight Link Ferry to Isle of Wight
Wight Link Ferry to Isle of Wight
South view from Spinnaker Tower
South view from Spinnaker Tower
Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
East view from Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
East view from Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth


The sky was clear blue and the view was clear and lovely. We knew there is an upper view deck, with a restaurant. Then there is another one where you can feel the breeze as the deck is outside. We went there.

You are safe at all times and it’s quite a nice place to be. There are beanbags and telescopes for the kids to enjoy. Also, some deck chairs for the parents to enjoy while admiring the view.

And as much as my son would have loved us to go visit the moon, we had to come down from the Spinnaker Tower (after another half an hour of play on the glass floor on View Deck 1, of course) and head home, stopping on the way for some delicious fish and chips.

What you need to know when planning a visit to Spinnaker Tower with kids:

What year did Spinnaker Tower open?

The tower was opened on 18 October 2005 – its construction had started in 2001.

How high is the Spinnaker Tower?

Its total height is 170 m. The View Deck (with the glass floor) is up at 100 metres, The Clouds is at 105 metres high and the highest Sky Deck is at 110m. A lift takes visitors up to the View Deck and The Clouds. There are only stairs up to Sky Deck (highest viewpoint).

Other useful information:

  • booking tickets online can save you up to 10%; you need to book at least 24h before the actual visit
  • kids under 4 years old go free
  • any ticket comes with a view guarantee: if you can’t see the 3 Solent forts on the day of your visit, you can visit again for free within 3 months
  • the tower is open daily from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm

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