The stunning 170 metre high Spinnaker Tower on Portsmouth’s Harbourside dominates the landscape of one of the world’s most famous ports. The striking landmark has been built on top of the sea bed on the edge of Gunwharf, near Portsmouth Harbour. It is the UK’s tallest building which is open to the public outside of London. The Tower offers stunning panoramic views which stretch as far as the Isle of Wight, Southampton and along the Hampshire and West Sussex coastlines. There are three visitors’ viewing galleries which sit at 100, 105 and 110 metres. If heights don’t bother you can also look straight down through the tower’s unnerving glass floor in the centre of the concrete and steel structure. Built as the centrepiece of the Millennium Project for the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour, at 170 metres high, the tower is two and a half times the size of Nelson’s Column in London.With the tower standing at the entrance to the Naval Base and historic dockyard, the design is intended to represent billowing sails and the city’s strong maritime traditions. The construction of the tower was plagued by delays and controversy and fell way behind schedule – it was originally conceived in the mid-90s and planned to be completed in time for the millennium.
The last piece of the structure, The ‘top cone’ spire which is 27 metres tall and weighs 14 tonnes was finally fitted on 17th January 2005 – five years later than originally planned. After years of delays, the opening date for the tower was finally planned for summer 2005, but the date was put back due to problems with the external lift. The operators, Heritage opened the tower for business on Tuesday, 18 October 2005. The opening day didn’t go smoothly, with one further embarrassing delay when the city council’s project manager, David Greenhalgh was trapped in the tower’s external glass lift for over an hour.
Soaring 170 metres (557 feet) into the sky above the historic harbour of Portsmouth, gateway to the English Channel, the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth’s newest attraction is now open to view. Glide to the top in style in the panoramic lift. Or take the high speed internal lift. Step out onto View Deck 1 and you step right into the best view in the country. On a clear day you can see for 23 miles or more. Dare you “Walk on Air”? See if you dare cross the glass floor, the largest in Europe. Go higher!
On View Deck 2 see the modern view or watch history unfold on the unique Time Telescopes, where you can catch Mary Rose or H.M.S. Victory sailing by. Go higher! Feel the wind in your hair on the “Crow’s Nest”. On the top deck, you are exposed to the elements.
This shot was taken from a ferryboat at Gosport