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Top 12 Facts About The Spinnaker Tower

One of the most amazing towers in the world can be found in the south of England.

In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about the Spinnaker Tower.

1. The tower is located in Portsmouth

The Spinnaker Tower is located in the city of Portsmouth, a port city in the south of England. The city is part of the county of Hampshire and is for the most part built on an island referred to as Portsea Island.

facts about the Spinnaker tower Aerial view of Portsmouth
Aerial view / Paul A’Barrow /

2. It’s the centerpiece of a particular area in the city

The observation tower is located in the harbor area of Portsmouth and is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. It was originally built to become the centerpiece in a redevelopment plan in the early 2000s of the Portsmouth Harbour.

Spinnaker tower aerial harbor area
Harbor Area / Tony Holkham /

3. How tall is the Spinnaker Tower?

The tower isn’t the tallest structure in the world by any means as it only stands 170 meters (560 feet) tall. It consists of 4 floors with the top floor being located at a height of 105 meters (344 feet) and the roof at a height of 110 meters (360 feet).

Spinnaker tower height
Height of the tower / Pixabay

4. Construction of the tower took 4 years

The original plan for the tower was to turn it into a commemorative monument for the turn of the Millennium in 2000. That’s why the original plan was conceived back in 1995 and it was called the Portsmouth Millennium Tower. Construction didn’t start until 2001 due to various reasons and the tower was officially opened 4 years later on October 18, 2005.

Spinnaker tower facts

5. It was a very expensive tower to build

There were 3 sponsors for the tower, the Millennium Commission, the Portsmouth City Council, and the Berkeley Festival Waterfront Company Ltd. Most money came from the Millennium Commission which used the National Lottery to raise funds. The tower ended up costing £35.6 million with the local government contributing £11.1 million to the construction cost.

Spinnaker tower from the water

6. The tower represents the sail of a boat

As the name suggests, the design represents a spinnaker, a particular type of sail that balloons as the wind blows into it. The main reason this design was chosen is that Portsmouth has a long history as a port city, dating back to Roman Britain. It maintained its status as one of the most important port cities in England all through its history and is home to the world’s oldest dry dock.

Spinnaker tower sail
Design of the tower / Oxfordmale /

7. There’s another tower in the world with a similar design

Did you know that a famous skyscraper in the world has a very similar design to the Spinnaker Tower? Well, that’s certainly the case, because the Burj-Al Arab, a famous hotel in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was also designed to represent a spinnaker and look remarkably similar.

burj al arab built on an island

8. The tower wasn’t built to last forever

Art-Facts Youtube Channel

One of the most remarkable facts about the Spinnaker Tower is that its design was selected from a number of designs by the residents of Portsmouth. It was designed by a local firm named HGP Architects as well, with the assistance of the renowned international engineering group the “Scott Wilson Group.” Remarkably, the design life of the tower is just 80 years!

Spinnaker tower storm
Before a storm / Rob Faulkner /

9. The tower instantly became a popular tourist attraction

The high cost to build the tower definitely didn’t mean that its sponsors suffered a big financial loss. On the contrary, the tower has been a very popular tourist attraction ever since it opened its doors. In the first year alone over 600,000 people visited the tower and it has maintained a visitor count of over half a million visitors every year since its opening.

Spinnaker tower observation deck
The first floor of the tower / Steve Daniels /

10. The naming rights of the tower were sold in 2015

Owning such a popular tower obviously opens up multiple other avenues of generating profits from it. That’s why the Portsmouth City Council actively sought out investors who were interested in purchasing the naming rights of the tower.

On June 5, 2015, it was announced that airline company Emirates had purchased the naming rights. The tower was subsequently renamed the “Emirates Spinnaker Tower.” This deal ended in 2020 so it has its old name back right now!

Spinnaker tower landmark

11. The tower has been featured in various television programs

As one of the most prominent landmarks in the city and all of the south of England, the tower has been featured in the media quite often as well. Apart from appearances in various television programs, it’s even included in the intro of the “BBC South Today news,” clearly indicating the importance as a symbol of the south the tower has become.

Spinnaker tower from ground level
Spinnaker Tower from ground level / Pixy

12. The observation deck offers stunning views of Portsmouth

At the top of the tower, there’s a triple observation deck that allows visitors to get a 360-degree view of Portsmouth and its surroundings. One of the decks contains a glass floor that allows you to directly look down to the ground, and the top floor is located at a height of 105 meters (344 feet) above sea level!

View from the Spinnaker Tower
View from the tower / Christine Matthews /