Featuring world-famous ships the Mary Rose and HMS Victory, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a great day out for all the family.
Attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Experience the only remaining WW2 era British ocean-going submarine HMS Alliance, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Harbour Tours and much, much more, this working dockyard really is the ultimate place to explore the past, present and future of the Royal Navy.
Open all year round, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a place to bring the family, celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Spend some holiday time here, enjoy weekends and days off, having quality time out in good company. There are a wealth of attractions for you to experience at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard.
There have been many celebrated warships in Britain’s naval history but HMS Victory can justifiably claim to be the most famous of them all. Having served as Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, she has become one of the UK’s most-loved visitor attractions.
Experience the HMS Victory Under Hull Walkway which gives you the opportunity to descend into the base of the dry dock and view the 3600-tonne ship from below.
The Mary Rose Museum
The Mary Rose was the flagship of Henry VIII that served in his fleet for 34 years before sinking during the Battle of the Solent in 1545, with the king watching from nearby Southsea Castle. Her remains were raised in 1982, and are now on display along with thousands of the original objects recovered alongside the ship, giving a unique and moving insight into life in Tudor England. She is the only ship of her kind on display anywhere in the world.
At the Mary Rose 1545 Experience, you can Re-live the final moments on board the Mary Rose as it sinks during the Battle of the Solent on 19th July 1545. Step back in time to hear from King Henry VIII and the crew of Britain’s most famous shipwreck.
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is located in Gosport on the former site of HMS Dolphin; home to the Submarine Service for 100 years. A complimentary waterbus takes visitors across the harbour from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
HMS Alliance is Britain’s only remaining World War II submarine and stands as a memorial to the 5,300 British submariners who have lost their lives in service.
A tour of Alliance begins in the forward torpedo store, through the accommodation space to the control room, where the navigation systems including the working periscopes are on display. The tour continues through the galley and onto the heart of the submarine, the engine room, before culminating in the aft torpedo compartment, where you can see how submariners would escape in an emergency.
HMS Warrior 1860
The great Warrior is an icon today as much as it was one hundred and fifty years ago during the Age of Steam. Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured battleship was the largest and fastest of all Royal Navy ships, HMS Warrior’s fame worldwide made her the jewel in the crown – an icon that attracted thousands of visitors during the Tour of Britain. Now, Warrior has undergone a re-interpretation, reflecting what she was like in 1863 by opening up new areas of the ship and bringing stories from the period to life.
National Museum of the Royal Navy
The Royal Navy has helped to shape the world. It made Britain a dominant sea power, protected its trade in troubled times and defended Britain from invasion or carried the attack overseas.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth brings history to life. It showcases treasures from the past 350 years and examines the common threads which link the sailor of England’s ‘Wooden Walls’ to the professional crews of today.
Action Stations is a high-tech, interactive indoor attraction featuring a unique series of physical challenges, simulators and technological experiments, which put visitors at the heart of the modern naval experience.
At Action Stations, visitors can reach dizzy heights when they attempt to scale the tallest indoor climbing tower in the UK. Soaring to a height of 8.4 metres (over 27 feet), a built-in LCD timer and differing degrees of difficulty are available, assess your own speed and agility, as well as compete against friends and family.
Set over 2 floors which represent the bridge of a hijacked container ship and a pirate stronghold, Laser Quest provides challenges inspired by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, with lighting effects, billowing smoke and a heart-pounding atmosphere (additional charge applies).
Designed specifically for children ranging in age from 2-7 years old. The Sky Tykes course puts agility to the test with rope bridges and balance beams, and has no set route or time limit – you’re limited only by your imagination.
Take your seats for Command Approved, the state of the art large-screen film and projection technology brings you 25 minutes of heart-pumping action fit for James Bond himself, as the fictional HMS Monarch combats gold bullion pirates in the South Seas. This is the Royal Navy at its best in an action-packed drama combining excitement, danger and intrigue.
Release your inner Ninja and jump, swing, climb and balance your way through the 40-metre course, designed for ages 7 and up. Ninja Force is the first course of its kind in the UK based on the popular Ninja Warrior TV series.
HMS M.33 is not only the sole remaining British veteran of the bloody Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-1916 but also of the Russian Civil War which followed. The ship is one of just three British warships from World War I still in existence.
Portsmouth is still the home of the modern Royal Navy and taking the Harbour Tour offers unrivalled views of Britain’s modern frigates, destroyers and helicopter carriers, as well as historic buildings and the dramatic skyline.
On the 45 minute Harbour Tour, you will see many of the fortifications that were built to protect Portsmouth over the centuries, in particular the Round Tower at the harbour entrance and the Solent forts which formed the centre of a string of fortifications along the coast during the Napoleonic Wars.
Built in 1939 in response to the need for a rapid rearmament programme prior to the start of World War II. Boathouse 4 is a vast building, incorporating its own dock and locks, which is typical of 1930s military-industrial architecture.
This great family attraction has hands-on children’s activities and fantastic exhibitions.
200 years of history are retold through the eyes of workers who constructed the great dreadnought battleships of the 20th century. Take in the stories of those who built Britain’s most feared fleet and the ingenuity behind traditional boatbuilding techniques.
Located across the water at Gosport, the story of naval warfare is told in dramatic style at Explosion, an interactive museum housed in the Royal Navy’s former Ordnance Depot at Priddy’s Hard, centred around the powder magazine designed in 1771.
Food and Drink
There are a range of cafés where you can enjoy a delicious hot lunch, reviving Costa coffee, or a refreshing cold drink with some tasty homemade treats. The Camber Lights Café is one of Gosport’s best kept secrets. Sit back and admire the scenic surroundings of Portsmouth Harbour, an ideal viewpoint for seeing HMS Queen Elizabeth when she’s alongside Portsmouth Naval Base.
For families and individuals who love a spot of al fresco dining, while taking in the salty sea air and spectacular views, there are three picnic areas to choose from. Porter’s Garden is a quiet leafy sanctuary, while Port Arena allows visitors to enjoy a picnic lunch while marvelling at history in the flesh. For simpler tastes, take a pew outside Boathouse No.7, sit back and admire the fantastic architecture.
Travelling to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
This must-visit destination is situated on the South Coast within Portsmouth Naval Base with entry through Victory Gate at the corner of Queen Street and the Hard. Less than 5 miles from Junction 12 of the M27, follow the brown tourist signs to ‘Historic Dockyard’ which will lead you to the official car park which is located only 400 yards from the museum entrance at Victory Gate. If this car park is full there are others within close proximity at Gunwharf Quays and Havant Street. If you are using a Sat Nav, the car park postcode is PO1 3GW.
Travelling by Train
South Western Railway run frequent trains from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour, with a journey time of only 90 minutes. There are also regular services to and from Southampton Central with links to the South West and the West country. Portsmouth Harbour train station is only 200 yards from the entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Search for your train tickets using Raileasy.
There are lots of places to stay in Portsmouth and the surrounding area. If you would like to explore some of the other attractions in the area then take a look at some of the wonderful self-catering cottages available from Snaptrip.
Buy your admission tickets from the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Official Website.
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