Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a major maritime museum complex that includes several historic ships including Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, Admiral Nelson’s HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. The complex is also home to several museums with exhibits about the Dockyard’s ships and the history of the Royal Navy.
The complex is managed by the National Museum of the Royal Navy and is part of HM Naval Base Portsmouth. Although the Historic Dockyard is promoted as a single visitor attraction, each of the museums and historic ships within the complex have individual admission charges and you have the option of buying the Full Navy Ticket (for entry to the entire complex, except the Mary Rose), buying a ticket for two or three attractions or paying to visit just one single attraction.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy also manages several other attractions in the Portsmouth area that lie outside the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. These are the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the Silent and Secret exhibition, all three of these attractions are located in Gosport, on the other side of Portsmouth Harbour. The Full Navy Ticket and the two- and three-attraction tickets also let you visit these attractions.
Action Stations provides an insight into today’s Royal Navy. It features hands-on exhibits and a large format film that shows you what life is like aboard a Type 23 frigate.
HMS Victory is the Royal Navy’s best-known warship was under the command of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson off Cape Trafalgar in 1805 and it has been restored to its original splendour to commemorate the 2005 bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
When it was launched in 1861, HMS Warrior was the most advanced warship ever built. It has now been restored to its original glory.
Mary Rose Museum
Henry VIII’s favourite warship was built between 1510 and 1511 and was sunk in a battle against a French fleet in 1545.
The Mary Rose lay in its watery grave for hundreds of years before being found by divers and raised in front of a TV audience in 1982. There is an adjoining museum that features over 1200 items taken from the wreck and the museum’s Bonaventure Gallery has hands-on exhibits that give you an idea of life aboard the Mary Rose in Tudor England.
The Mary Rose is not included in the Full Navy ticket and has a separate admission charge, however, it is cheaper if you buy your tickets in advance.
Royal Naval Museum
The Royal Naval Museum is an excellent museum that recounts 800 years of naval history with much of the museum focusing on Horatio Nelson, HMS Victory and the Battle of Trafalgar.