By: Condor on 21/09/2011
Portsmouth has a cultural heritage that tops most major seaports around the world with its Historic Dockyard telling the tale of its colourful history.
So don’t just drive through this colourful port on your way to the Condor terminal, take a few hours or even a few days to explore the regal home to our Royal Navy.
Boasting 800 years of British naval history, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard combines carefully preserved buildings from the past with modern-day international working docks. Sailing ships of old nestle alongside today’s warships and interactive museums offer hands-on experience of modern-day warfare.
Where else can you step back in time and stride across the deck of a magnificent sailing ship, built more than 300 years ago, echoing the footsteps of one of Britain’s iconic naval heroes, Lord Horatio Nelson?
Here too you can visit HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship, the oldest serving warship still in commission which saw action in the Napoleonic wars and victory at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard is also home to HMS Warrior which was launched in 1860 and is the only surviving member of Queen Victoria’s Black Battle fleet.
And, of course, who can forget the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s favourite warship? Built 500 years ago, she sank off Portsmouth in 1545 and was famously raised from the seabed in the 1980s. Her remains are currently under wraps from the public as part of a £35 million heritage project, but the Mary Rose Museum remains open and contains over 1,000 original Tudor artefacts.
For those wanting a more hands-on experience, the Historic Dockyard’s Action Stations interactive exhibition presents an exciting mixture of physical challenges, simulators and technological experiments. Find out what it’s like to go into battle with the Royal Marines, command a warship or fl y a helicopter, then head off to the National Museum of the Royal Navy to learn how the experts do it.
Portsmouth is still the home of the modern Royal Navy and you can learn all about it in a 45-minute harbour tour. Britain’s three aircraft carriers, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible are based here, as well as a fleet of destroyers, frigates, mine
warfare ships and offshore patrol vessels.
After a surfeit of naval knowledge, why not head off into the city for a tour of the cathedral or go on one of the guided walks? Portsmouth also offers a lively arts scene, specialist shopping and plenty of fi ne dining.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Tel. 023 9283 9766
Tel. 023 9282 6722