Best value days out in Hampshire | Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Where can you go which offers more than 500 years of history in 11 attractions for just one ticket – and is a great place to visit come rain or shine? Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, of course…

During the 14 years that I lived in the great city of Portsmouth, I visited the Historic Dockyard on numerous occasions; whether with family, friends as a tourist, to attend business functions or events or on a personal note, to run past the ships (as fast as I could!), in the annual Great South Run. It is an amazing location that continues to evolve to meet the changing interests of the visitor as well as conserving the country’s naval heritage.

The Mary Rose

Visitors can now enjoy a full, uninterrupted view of the Mary Rose thanks to a £5.4m development

The Mary Rose has been described as Britain’s Pompeii and who am I to disagree? The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world and last year the museum reopened, enabling us to all see this magnificent vessel as it has never been seen before, with panoramic views of the 9 different galleries.

Several years ago I was fortunate to get a rare opportunity to see at close hand many of the artefacts, such as hair combs, plates, cutlery and boots – all in astonishing condition, despite having lain on the sea bed for hundreds of years. The new museum has thousands of such artefacts on display and it is well worth spending time viewing these impressive items to imagine what life on board the ship would have been like all those centuries ago.

In my book, the Mary Rose museum is worth the admission fee alone – but there are plenty of others things to see and do, whatever your age or interests. It is worth noting also that the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard does offer All Attraction Tickets at great value - £28, if you book online, which can then be used all-year round. So if you want to revisit, or go to one of the off-site attractions such as the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport across the water, you can do so without paying an additional fee.

Inside the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport. Included within the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard All Attractions Ticket

HMS Victory

My next favourite destination in the Historic Dockyard has to be HMS Victory. The ship is still officially in active service in the Royal Navy, a tribute to the important role it played in the Battle of Trafalgar as Britain’s flagship under the leadership of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson.

HMS Victory with HMS Queen Elizabeth in the background, the largest warship ever built for the United Kingdom's Royal Navy, which arrived in Portsmouth in August 2017
As you climb up the steps of this beautiful example of Georgian naval sea power, you can see how the men lived, slept, worked and ate in often perilous conditions. Stand on deck to see where Nelson was fatally wounded and look out across the harbour to appreciate the views and history which surrounds you. HMS Victory is currently undergoing a well-deserved renovation project to support the weight of the ship, but remains open to the public.

What's new at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard?

Family fun at Boathouse 4
These are only just two of the attractions that you can see in the Historic Dockyard. There are several new and recent developments too, including Boathouse 4 which has recently been converted into the Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre, providing opportunities in the traditional craft of boatbuilding and the future relocation of the Royal Marines Museum to the site.

Whether you have children that need to be entertained or you are looking for ideas for older generations to spend a day out – the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard should be high on your list.

Boathouse 4
By Simon Frost
Hibou Communication

Find more things to do in Hampshire on the Visit South East England website.