With its storied naval history and 800 years of British maritime heritage, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard combines beautifully preserved period buildings with high-tech working docks. Sailing ships of bygones past nestle alongside modern-day warships while world-class interactive museums offer hands-on encounters with warriors of the sea. Portsmouth has an enviable nautical culture that tops most major international seaports, which is why a growing number of visitors take the time to fully explore its colourful Historic Dockside on their way to the Condor terminal rather than simply rushing by.
Spending a few hours or even a few days in the regal home to the British Royal Navy provides a fascinating glimpse into the iconic world of sea-faring adventure and 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? The HMS Victory, Nelson’s proud flagship and the oldest serving warship still in commission, which saw action in the Napoleonic wars and victory at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, is a key attraction. 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 now, after a ground-breaking £27-million project that combined painstaking restoration with creative innovation, the thrilling exhibit that showcases Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s favourite warship is open to visitors. Built 500 years ago, this grand Tudor masterpiece was Henry VIII’s true love, and is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. The purpose-built award-winning museum reunites her with many of her artefacts and crew, capturing the moment in time when off the Portsmouth coast in 1545.
After being famously raised from the Solent’s seabed in the 1980s, the Mary Rose and her compelling stories have been painstakingly conserved for future generations. She fought against the French for over 30 years and, since 2013, millions of visitors have seen her in all her glory, along with more than 1,000 original Tudor artefacts. Be wowed by the stunning panoramic views of the ship from all nine galleries; breathe the same air as the King’s flagship on the upper deck and meet the crew in peace time and at war. You’ll also learn about the forensic science used to bring the story of the magnificent Mary Rose back to life.
There are also hands-on experiences and an exciting mixture of physical challenges, simulators and technological experiments to engage every age of visitor. So if you have ever wanted to engage in battle with the Royal Marines, command a warship or fly a helicopter, the National Museum of the Royal Navy has exhilarating exhibits that show you how! The modern Royal Navy still has its home in Portsmouth and a compelling 45-minute harbour tour brings the drama of the high seas home. 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 - a captivating mix of naval vessels, battle ships and defence boats that ensures the Portsmouth Historical Dockyard is Hampshire’s N0.1 attraction.
Tel. 023 9283 9766
Tel. 023 9282 6722