“I never thought I'd enjoy myself clambering about old ships as much as I did.” So said a recent visitor to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and with 6 attractions for 1 great value price and the option to return over the space of a year, most visitors will agree!
HMS Victory never fails to impress. She’s incredibly imposing. Her victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, led by the greatest naval figure ever, Admiral Lord Nelson, is a key date in history. But Victory is much more than just Nelson, she’s a living museum of Georgian naval life with all the gory details!
It’s no exaggeration to describe the Mary Rose collection of Tudor artefacts as timeless treasure. Expertly retrieved from the seabed by hand, where it lay for 437 years, visitors are challenged not to be moved – or astounded – by the sheer perfection of the daily objects which capture life on board a Tudor warship. It is no wonder the collection has been described as “this country’s Pompeii”.
Due to completing the complex conservation of the hull of the Mary Rose and building a new £35 million museum around it, the ship is currently out of view. However, the existing Mary Rose Museum, which remains open throughout the construction period, more than makes up for this and with some great new added features including artefacts never seen before; a new 10 minute introductory film narrated by TV historian Dan Snow and a remarkable up-close-and-personal interpretation of the hull (with some incredibly close-up photography of the hull) and expert guidance by staff, it remains a top-class attraction in its own right.
One of the first sights visitors often see in Portsmouth is HMS Warrior 1860. They are often staggered by her size and enthralled to learn that despite being so powerful and imposing, she never fired a shot. But, there is more to her – her technology captures the spirit of Victorian invention brilliantly and the story of her restoration is fascinating.
The Royal Naval Museum boasts a proud collection celebrating naval endeavour and bravery over the centuries. The stories of those who have served in the Royal Navy are told through the personal possessions and memories of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to safeguarding our nation’s freedom.
Action Stations is a high octane, simulator-led experience. It’s action-packed and the perfect opportunity to learn more about the physical and mental challenges behind the Royal Navy and perfect for the young-at-heart to let off steam!
For many, the best way to see Portsmouth is from the water. Harbour Tours take visitors behind the fences of the heritage area to see the Navy ships, historic landmarks and seascape that has made Portsmouth so distinctive.
Add to this the captivating gems of the Trafalgar Sail, the Dockyard Apprentice and the Trafalgar Experience and in the words of another visitor it becomes “one of the best days out I've had in a very well travelled 46 years!”
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard also hosts a variety of events throughout the year that are enjoyed by young and old alike. Past events include a Celebration of Steam, Model Boat Weekend, Meet Your Navy and A Victorian Festival of Christmas. Keep an eye on the website www.historicdockyard.co.uk for up-to-date event information.
The gates open at 10:00am daily and visitors are welcome to visit the shops, restaurants, cafes and Antiques Storehouse without charge, except during special events.
An Annual Admission Ticket is valid for one year with unlimited entry to Action Stations, HMS Warrior 1860 and Royal Naval Museum and valid for one entry to HMS Victory, Mary Rose Museum and Ship Hall and Harbour Tours. It is priced at £18.00 adult, £16.00 senior, £13.50 child and £50.50 family (up to 5 members of the same family, maximum 2 adults/seniors). A Gift Aid Annual Admission ticket and single attraction tickets are also available. For further information on visiting please telephone 02392 839 766 or visit www.historicdockyard.co.uk.