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Last updated: 10 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

The UK’s premier maritime historical site, and part of the still-functioning HM Naval Base at Portsmouth, the Historic Dockyard brings together centuries of naval history in ten different attractions. Visitors can see HMS Victory – the Navy’s most famous warship, which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar. Also present is HMS Warrior, the world’s first armour-plated, iron-hulled warship when she was launched in 1860.

Alongside the ships, the National Museum of the Royal Navy showcases artifacts from 350 years of naval history, while the Mary Rose Museum displays the remains of the world-famous ship that lay at the bottom of the sea for 437 years.

Visitors can also take a boat trip around the harbour, try their hand at being a boat-building apprentice, and visit the newly-opened Victory Gallery, which brings together cinematic film, interactive exhibits and previously unseen artifacts to tell the story of this extraordinary ship.

While you’re there 

The Dockyard has a second site, in nearby Gosport, which is home to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the Navy’s armaments depot. A waterbus links the two sites, operating daily through the summer, but only during weekends from November to March.

Logistics

Price from: £24
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 hour

Getting there & doing it

The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard complex is round 90 minutes’ drive from London, and just a few minutes’ walk from Portsmouth Harbour rail station, which is around 90 minutes from London Waterloo.

Tickets can be purchased online through the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard website. Visitors can buy either a one, three or Ultimate Explorer ticket (which gives access to all the museums on site). The Three Attraction and Ultimate Explorer tickets are valid for twelve months, meaning you can re-visit the Dockyard at any time.

After your maritime fill, head to Boathouse No 4, a former storehouse converted into a buzzy restaurant, offering freshly-caught seafood and hearty steaks.

When to do it

The Dockyard is open all year round, seven days a week, but some of the Museums are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so check the website carefully before you make plans.

This is a hugely popular attraction, attracting school groups in the week and families at the weekends. Winter is generally the quietest time to visit.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Portsmouth Historic Dockyards and HMS Victory Tour from London

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Portsmouth Historic Dockyards and HMS Victory Tour from London
Delve into Britain’s rich maritime history on this 1-day Portsmouth Historic Dockyards and HMS ‘Victory’ tour from London. Follow a guide through the dockyards and learn of the ships who have fought — and sunk — protecting the British Isles. Discover famous vessels including Henry VIII’s flagship the ‘Mary Rose’, HMS ‘Victory’ — Lord Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 — and the 19th-century HMS ‘Warrior’. Climb the rigging, learn of life on the high seas and explore centuries of sailing history. Tour includes round-trip travel from your London hotel.

Price: £360

Min age: 5

Rating 4.76 / 5 [13 ratings]

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