Museum Reviews Historic Dockyards Portsmouth

Portsmouth is located in the county of Hampshire in the south of England. The city is mainly located on Portsea Island and is the only island city in the United Kingdom. The city of Portsmouth is steeped in history and of particular interest is the city’s dockyard, which was constructed by Richard l in 1194 and further developed by Henry Vlll in 1495, who commissioned the world’s first a dry dock. During the 1600s, the dockyard was granted royal status and developed into a large complex, which played a significant role in the industrial revolution and both world wars.

More recently the dockyard has been developed into a large museum, which offers the opportunity to explore impressive sea vessels, the harbour, the history of the Royal Navy and an area known as Action Stations.HMS Victory

HMS victory is located in the dry dock and is the flagship for the Commander in Chief Navel Command. The ship was built in the 1700s and is noted for its connections with the battle of Trafalgar and Horatio Nelson. A tour around the vessel shows many interesting features including leg irons, cannons, the seaman’s quarters, hospital, the Admirals quarters complete with Lord Nelson’s hammock and a plaque indicating where he was killed by a musket ball.

• Royal Naval Museum

The museum is dedicated to the men and women who have served in the  Royal Navy and offers four galleries which display interesting features such as models, art, a three hundred and fifty year old Nelson face mask, the first awarded Victorian Cross and mementoes and pictures of sailors. The museum provides interactive displays, an oral history and image gallery.

• HMS Warrior

This impressive ship was built in 1860 and at the time it was the largest and fastest iron hulled steam powered warship in the world. The ship is spread over four decks and shows guns, the twenty six ton propeller, the crews mess, sleeping quarters, the officers rooms, cells, boiler and engine rooms.

• Actions Stations

The actions stations museum is located on the harbour at boathouse number 6. The museum provides the opportunity to learn about the Royal Navy today and experience a helicopter simulator, watch films, play computer games and become involved in physical activities. 

• Harbour Tour

The informative harbour tour takes the visitor around Portsmouth harbour by boat and shows a variety of war and commercial sea vessels. The tour ends with a trip to Gun Wharf Quays where visitors can stop and visit a shopping centre, or remain on the boat and enjoy a snack at the licensed bar.

• Mary Rose Museum.

Situated by the main entrance to the dockyard the Mary Rose Museum is dedicated to the sea vessel of the same name favoured by Henry Vlll. The museum shows a life sized statue of the king and provides information about his involvement with the ship which is reported to be named after his sister Mary. During its lifetim,e the Mary Rose was engaged in many battles however during the 1500s, it was sunk by the French. King Henry tried to retrieve the vessel, but it was not until 1982 that it was once again brought to the surface.

Today, the museum shows twenty thousand interesting artefacts retrieved from the wreck including guns, weapons, armour, a dog’s skeleton and the barber’s surgeon’s cabin containing razors and syringes.

The historic royal dockyard in Portsmouth is an interesting, educational and fun place to visit offering a wide variety of features to keep young and old occupied. The site is open from 10am throughout the year other than the Christmas period.  Tickets can be bought at the dockyard or on line from the website, with prices ranging from approximately fifteen pounds fifty for children to just over sixty two pounds for a family ticket.