10 things you probably didn't know about Spinnaker Tower

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The Spinnaker Tower's design was chosen for its nautical nod to Portsmouth's history - Credit: Flickr/Nick Goodrum

The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth has recently been named the top destination that Brits are looking forward to visiting the most. If you’re one of them, these facts are interesting to know before taking a trip… 

1. Sail away
The name and shape of the tower comes from the type of sail that balloons as the wind blows into it – fitting as Portsmouth is well-known for its boating history. 

2. Taking the cake
High tea is a popular partaking at the tower, so popular in fact that over the last 10 years they have served approximately 382,720 slices of cake there.

3. Stairway to heaven
Those whose fitness watches nag them to reach their step goal will be pleased to hear that there are 560 steps to the top of the tower. 

READ MORE: 7 things you might not know about Winchester 


4. Twinning
One of the world’s most famous skyscrapers, the Burj-Al Arab hotel in Dubai, has a very similar design.

5. Light up
Before 2019, the system that runs the 50 show lights and 7 aircraft lights on the tower was ran from floppy discs.  

6. Topping the polls
The choice of design for the tower was put to the Portsmouth public in 1990, with the Spinnaker winning 60% of the votes over two more rectangular designs.  

7. Hanging on
Since 2011, adrenalin-seeking punters have been able to abseil down from the building. For just £100 – or £30 extra for a photo and medal – you can do so too.


8. Flex those assets
When it is especially windy, the tower can flex up to approximately 150mm. Don’t worry if you’re there and you feel the movement as it is perfectly safe.

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9. Room with a view
Views from the tower can stretch as far as 23 miles. Although often confused for France, the furthest place in the distance is actually the Isle of Wight.

10. Floored by its strength
The glass floor, which was once the largest in Europe, can hold up to 288 stone in weight. 

Find out more about Spinnaker Tower at spinnakertower.co.uk

Places to visit near the Spinnaker Tower


Gunwharf Quays
The luxury shopping centre is full of designer outlets, perfect for picking up those luxe labels without the hefty price tag. Shop until you drop, then dine at one of the many onsite restaurants.
gunwharf-quays.com

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
There is a range of ship-shape attractions to suit all the family, from big boats that are in the history books to child-friendly exhibitions like the Horrible History pirate adventure.
historicdockyard.co.uk

HMS Warrior
The grand former Royal Navy vessel on the dockyard invites visitors to experience the life of a Victorian sailor, with the ship being accurately restored and being full of remarkable detail.
hmswarrior.org

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