Historic Dockyard - Portsmouth - Great Britain

Address: Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth (See map)
Telephone: +44 (0)23-92861512
Website: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/welcome.html

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2004
Overall rating:

Description: There's a large bar area at the Historic Dockyard! …And if that's not enough to get you moving to this piece of Portsmouth's waterfront: they also have a few nice historic vessels lying about! When you enter the dockyard you can buy entrance tickets to three different ships: The HMS Victory, the HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose. Although hardcore navy aficionados may want to visit all three ships, the possibility to visit just one is a good thing for people who don't want to spend too much money in one afternoon. A ticket to one of the ships also gives you entry to the Royal Naval Museum, which provides some background information but doesn't feature any really thrilling exhibits. Below is a short description of each of the three ships on display:

The HMS Victory is without doubt the most important ship: This is the ship that led Britain's fleet during the Battle of Trafalgar (during which Napoleon's fleet was destroyed off the coast of Spain), this is the very ship Britain's greatest naval hero, Lord Nelson, died on. All 6 separate decks of the Victory are open to visitors, although it is not permitted to take photographs on the lower decks. The ship is completely furbished as it was when it still sailed the seas and oceans with its crew of 850 men. You'll see the cargo and provisions in the lower decks, all the ropes and sailing equipment on the upper deck and the massive guns at the decks in between.

The HMS Warrior, situated directly next to the entrance of the Historic Dockyard, is the world's first iron hulled battleship. Thickly armoured and powered by steam as well as sail, she revolutionised sea warfare when she was launched in 1860. Visitors can tour the various compartments of the ship to get an idea of the living conditions the sailors had to deal with. Worst off were the stokers, continually shovelling coal and ash in temperatures of about 43 degrees Celsius!

The Mary Rose is the oldest vessel (well, shipwreck really) on display. It was Henry VIII's favourite warship, which sank in 1545 during actions against the French fleet. In 1982 she was raised to the surface to be put on display, together with all the artefacts and treasures that were found aboard the ship. A video film provides background information and features the story of the excavation and salvage of the shipwreck.

If the Historic Dockyard leaves you thirsty for more, get yourself on the next Gosport-ferry (it leaves from the dock next to Portsmouth Harbour Station) and cross the water to the "Royal Navy Submarine Museum" in Gosport.

The HMS Warrior, built in 1860, sunbathing in the Historic Dockyard.

Sideview of the HMS Victory.

New meets old at the Historic Dockyard. The modern warships in the background prove Portsmouth still is an important naval harbour today.

Aircraft Carrier undergoing maintenance in Portsmouth harbour.

Imagine the HMS Victory on a collission-course with your own ship. What an impressive sight eh!

Lower gun deck, harbouring thirty 32-pounder cannons. Notice the low ceiling. Must have been pretty cramped in there during battles, with all the chaos and gunpowder-smoke.

The upper deck of the HMS Victory.

A few of the many thick ropes necessary to make the HMS Victory sail.

Captain Hardy's cabin.

One of the huge anchors, with several gun ports in the background.