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Enjoy a Fantastic Family Day Out at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this Summer

Published: 28th July 2021 15:29

  Storytellers add a touch of fun throughout summer at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

 Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is set to be a hive of activity throughout the summer holidays, with a brand-new immersive experience that has a Hollywood touch; a fascinating exhibition that charts the remarkable history of an extraordinary survivor and Tales of Three Ships storytelling that will keep all the family entertained.

As one of the UK's leading visitor attractions, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, based on the coast of Portsmouth welcomes in excess of 850,000 visitors per year. It is the UK's premier destination for naval and maritime history and is the home to iconic ships HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose. It is also the home of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth and the International Boat Building Training College. Its water bus service connects it with the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, meaning visitors to the site can access all attractions for one ticket. 

The best value Ultimate Explorer Ticket means families can visit as much as they like over the year, with full access to all ten attractions including the Harbour Tour and the Gosport sites.

Each day throughout the summer, visitors can meet costumed interpreters onboard the historic ships and in the museums; hear stories that bring the attractions to life; indulge themselves with a sporty challenge and catch one of the last chances to be transported to the seabed with Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 interactive exhibition.

Highlights include:

1545 experience at the Mary Rose Museum

Entry included in Ultimate Explorer Ticket

Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench sets the dramatic scene as visitors step back in time to relive the sinking of the Mary Rose in the Mary Rose Museum's stunning new 1545 experience. 1545 allows visitors to be fully immersed in the Battle of the Solent and relive the final breath-taking moments on board King Henry's favourite ship. Dame Judi introduces the experience at the museum, which is home to the Mary Rose and the world's biggest collection of Tudor artefacts.  It is expected to be a huge draw for families in helping all generations learn about one of the most important historical shipwrecks and collections of Tudor artefacts, shining a light on life 500 years ago. 

HMS Victory: The Nation's Flagship

Entry included in Ultimate Explore Ticket
The new family-friendly gallery is part of a greatly enhanced visitor offer for HMS Victory which, in addition to a self-guided tour of the ship, now includes the ability to walk down into the dry dock under the enormous hull on a dedicated walkway, weaving through the recently completed and new state of the art support system. The walkway was only open for a short time last summer before the site was closed.  Packed full of interactives and family-friendly activities, the gallery also includes a mixture of large format cinematic film and newly displayed artefacts including a shot-damaged section of original Victory mast from the Battle of Trafalgar and a spectacular ten-foot-tall, 200-year-old figurehead. It charts her decline and rescue in the 1920s by the Society of Nautical Research and the dramatic events when she could have been permanently lost to the nation. 

Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744

Entry included in Ultimate Explorer Ticket - closes September

Transports visitors to the seabed in a fascinating interactive exhibition which uncovers the discovery and underwater excavation of 18th century battleship, HMS Invincible which sank in February 1758 when she hit a sandbank in the East Solent and recreates the seabed with clever digital technology. The exhibition tells the story of Invincible; her capture, the contribution she made to the Royal Navy and ship design and her subsequent sinking and rediscovery by a local fisherman, Arthur Mack, nearly 200 years later. It will also showcase some of the objects and findings from the Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 archaeological excavation, probably the most important of its kind in UK waters for nearly 40 years and there are plenty of hands-on activities for children to get to grips with.

Horrible Histories® Pirates: The Exhibition

Entry included in Ultimate Explorer Ticket

The best-selling Horrible Histories series, created by Terry Deary and illustrator Martin Brown, takes buccaneers of all ages on an epic adventure across the seven seas with hands-on displays and interactive exhibits. As fans of the books and TV series will expect, ‘Horrible Histories Pirates' takes a fun and light-hearted look into pirate history, complete with eye patches, wooden legs, cutlasses and calls of "drink up me hearties!".

Tale of Three Ships Storytelling

Free with a valid ticket

Dates:  Wednesday 28th July Wednesday 4/11/18/25th August Wednesday 1st September

A team of storytellers share tales of daring deeds from Three Ships - the Mary Rose, HMS Invincible and First World War survivor HMS M.33.

Summer Sporty Play Adventure

Free with a valid ticket

Families can join in activities linked to sports including football and athletics whilst discovering how the Royal Navy keep fit at sea. Playful challenges can be found on the ships, in the galleries and in the outside spaces and children get to claim a prize sticker for finishing.

Games on the Green

Free with a valid ticket

Every day at Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, a fun obstacle course for the family.

Tickets are already on sale on with timed booking slots. One-way systems are still in place in certain attractions. Hand sanitisers are available in all attractions, mask wearing is encouraged and test and trace remains in place.


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