Top Frequently Asked Questions at Spinnaker Tower

We get asked a lot of questions by guests and there are a few that pop up over and over again. Read on below to learn the answers to all of our most frequently asked questions!

Who owns Emirates Spinnaker Tower?
Although Emirates Airlines were named as sponsors in June 2015, Portsmouth City Council still retain ownership of the Tower. The visitor attraction business, i.e. the management of the Tower, is the responsibility of Continuum Attractions and all members of staff at Emirates Spinnaker Tower are employed and trained by Continuum.

Will the external lift ever work?
No, the external lift has now been removed and the tracking on the side of the Tower has also gone. Without the external lift, abseiling has been introduced which has proved incredibly popular and sees over half a million pounds raised for charity every year!

Does that mean we have to climb the stairs?
No, we have a high speed internal lift which takes just 28 seconds to get to View Deck 1 at 100 metres above sea level, travelling at 4 metres per second.

Where do you abseil from?
The abseiling platform is at 94 metres on one of the legs of the Tower, visible from the east window. The platform is lowered on the morning of the abseil and is accessible from view deck 1’s stairwell down a small number of stairs.

How far does the Tower move in the wind?
The Tower sways up to 150mm each way in high wind conditions. The Tower needs to be flexible to deal with the weather conditions on the harbour-side.

How do you change the lightbulbs?
Luckily, the lightbulbs do not need to be changed very often! When they do, they are changed by our abseiling team who can get to the difficult to reach places. The aircraft warning light on the spire can be changed by opening a hatch right at the top and, whilst harnessed, leaning out and changing the bulb.

How do you clean the windows?
Our abseiling team are true multi-taskers! They clean our windows every 6-8 weeks to ensure viewing remains optimum. They can’t take large buckets of water with them as they are too cumbersome so they carry tanks of water on their back to fill-up their mini-buckets round their waist.

Is that France?
No. As incredible as the views are from Emirates Spinnaker Tower (they stretch for up to 23 miles), they don’t stretch quite as far as France. The island our visitors see from the south window which is often confused for France is actually the Isle of Wight.

Which one’s Victory? Which one’s Warrior?
HMS Warrior 1860 is the ship closest to the Tower and is floating in the Harbour. She and her sister ship HMS Black Prince were the first armour-plated, iron-hulled warships and was built for the Royal Navy in 1859-61. HMS Victory is painted in a striped black and cream design and is in a dry dock to the left of the Mary Rose Museum.

How strong is the glass floor?

The unique glass floor is made up of 4 panes, each of which measure 2050 x 950mm, giving the floor a total surface area of 7.79m2. The overall thickness of the glass is 60mm and can hold a total weight of 288 stone. That means 2 black rhinos could cross the glass floor at the same time without it breaking!

Well, we hope that’s cleared up those questions for you! To find out more about the Tower’s history, construction and the visitor experience, click here.