Maritime museumSights and activitiesPortsmouth Historic Dockyard

From £24 To £39

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 a Three Attraction Ticket, the Ultimate Explorer Ticket (for entry to the entire complex) or paying to visit just one single attraction. The Ultimate Explorer Ticket is the best value ticket.

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, both these attractions are located in Gosport, on the other side of Portsmouth Harbour. The Ultimate Explorer Ticket also lets you visit these attractions and even includes a harbour tour connecting the Historic Dockyard with the Gosport attractions.

Aerial view of Portsmouth Dockyard, showing HMS Victory and a flotilla of tall ships. Taking part in the International Fleet Review which was part of the Trafalgar 200 celebrations. Mary Rose in dry dock no.3 at right, under white cover. (Photo: UK Government)
Aerial view of Portsmouth Dockyard, showing HMS Victory and a flotilla of tall ships. Taking part in the International Fleet Review which was part of the Trafalgar 200 celebrations. Mary Rose in dry dock no.3 at right, under the white cover. (Photo: UK Government)

What to see at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a large complex that comprises a number of major attractions including historic naval ships from Tudors times up till the 20th century.

Depending on what type of ticket you have, you can visit just one of these attractions, three attractions or all of them. There is a lot to see here and you will need several days to visit all the attractions properly.

Action Stations

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.

Action Stations is temporarily closed to the public and will re-open in 2022.

HMS Victory

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.

HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth, Hampshire (Photo: Karen Roe [CC BY-SA 2.0])
HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth, Hampshire (Photo: Karen Roe [CC BY-SA 2.0])
In addition to being able to explore the ship, an under-hull walkway lets you walk underneath the hull of the 3600-tonne ship to see it from a different perspective.

Visitors to HMS Victory can also visit the Victory Gallery in the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which is located adjacent to the ship. This exhibit tells the story of the ship beyond its role at the Battle of Trafalgar and includes important artefacts and a short film.

The 18th-century HMS Victory was Horatio Nelson's flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar. Restoration began in the 1920s, however, this was not completed until 2005. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
The 18th-century HMS Victory was Horatio Nelson’s flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar. Restoration began in the 1920s, however, this was not completed until 2005. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)

HMS Warrior 1860

When it was launched in 1860, HMS Warrior was the most advanced warship ever built and at the time she was the world’s first armour-plated iron-hulled warship.

The 40-gun steam-powered frigate was restored during the 1980s and she has been based in Portsmouth as a museum ship since 1987.

It has now been restored to its original glory to show what it would have been like to sail aboard her.

The HMS Warrior was the world's first armour-plated iron-hulled warship when she was launched in 1860. She is one of many significant historic ships on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
The HMS Warrior was the world’s first armour-plated iron-hulled warship when she was launched in 1860. She is one of many significant historic ships on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)

Mary Rose Museum

Henry VIII’s favourite warship was built between 1510 and 1511 and saw action in the First, Second and Third French Wars before being sunk in 1545 during the Battle of the Solent.

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. The remains of the Mary Rose are housed in a £35 million museum building 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 remains of the Mary Rose are on display inside a £35 million museum building, which is part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard precinct with HMS Victory shown to the right. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
The remains of the Mary Rose are on display inside a £35 million museum building, which is part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard precinct with HMS Victory shown to the right. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
The remains of the Mary Rose as seen inside the Mary Rose Museum building. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
The remains of the Mary Rose as seen inside the Mary Rose Museum building. (Photo: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)

A visit to the Mary Rose Museum also includes the Mary Rose 1545 Experience, which allows you to re-live the final moments prior to her sinking during the Battle of the Solent in July 1545.

HMS M33

HMS M33 is an M29-class monitor that is the last remaining vessel to be involved in the Gallipoli landings during the First World War. She was launched in 1915 and was involved primarily in the Mediterranean and also in Russia. After the war, she was used for a number of minor roles within the Royal Navy and was eventually restored and opened to the public as a museum ship.

National Museum of the Royal Navy

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (formerly 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.

The museum is housed in a series of Grade I-listed buildings adjacent to HMS Victory and HMS M33. The No. 11 Storehouse building features exhibition galleries recounting the Age of Sail and the No. 10 Storehouse has exhibits about the role of the Royal Navy during the 20th and 21st centuries. It also includes galleries dedicated to HMS Victory and Horatio Nelson plus the Hear My Story gallery, which tells the stories of the ordinary people who have played a part in the Royal Navy.

Boathouse 4

Boathouse 4 is one of the newer buildings in the Historic Dockyard precinct, having been built during the Second World War. The building is home to the International Boatbuilding College Portsmouth and also includes exhibition spaces that include hands-on activities.

Visitors to Boathouse 4 can see boats undergoing restoration on the ground floor and the first-floor exhibition space includes a display about the role of small boats in the Royal Navy.

All visitors, including visitors with a single-attraction ticket, have access to Boathouse 4.

Harbour tours

Visitors with an Ultimate Explorer ticket can go on a 45-minute harbour tour, which lets you see many of the fortifications that have been built during Portsmouth’s 1,200 years as a naval port.

Visiting the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a large complex on the harbourfront just a few minutes walk north of Portsmouth Harbour railway station.

At £24, the cost to visit a single attraction is very expensive; however, the £34 three-attraction ticket and the £39 Ultimate Explorer ticket are a much better deal and these tickets allow you to spread your visit over several days. The Ultimate Explorer ticket gives you access to all the attractions at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (plus the Explosion Museum and the Submarine Museum in Gosport) and gives you 12 months to visit these attractions, which means that it is definitely the best deal if you want to explore the site properly.

Only visitors with an Ultimate Explorer ticket are able to go on the harbour tours that operate from the Dockyard. These tours are dependent on weather conditions and may not operate every day.

The Dockyard complex includes several cafes and restaurants as well as picnic areas and several gift shops. There are also several places to eat and drink, including a couple of nice pubs, immediately outside the Dockyard area.

There is a lot to see at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and we recommend that you allow several days to see everything properly as you’ll need to allow around an hour to visit each of the attractions and it would be exhausting to try to see all of them in a day. The recommended visit times for individual attractions are:

  • HMS Victory – one hour
  • HMS Warrior 1860 – one hour
  • Mary Rose Museum – two hours
  • HMS M33 – one hour
  • National Museum of the Royal Navy – two hours
  • Boathouse 4 – 1–2 hours
  • Harbour tour – 45 minutes

Buy tickets to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Save time and money by pre-booking your entry tickets for the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Tickets include the Three Attraction Ticket and the Ultimate Explorer Ticket, which both allow you to make return visits within a 12-month period as well as one-day tickets for a single attraction.

The Three Attraction Ticket gives you access three of the following attractions: The Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, HMS M33, the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, Action Stations, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport and the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport.

The Ultimate Explorer Ticket lets you visit all these attractions and also includes a harbour tour that links the attractions in Portsmouth with those in Gosport.

Your tickets will be emailed to you and you will be able to either print or show your tickets on your smartphone when you arrive at the attraction.

We may earn a small commission if you buy your tickets after clicking this link.

Amenities
  • Parking (paid)
  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Gift shop

There are no comments yet.

Submit your review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Plan your next trip to England with us

Planning a trip to England? englandrover.com is your independent source of travel information with information about how to get around, what to see and do and where to stay on your next trip to England.

Plan your next trip to England with us

Planning a trip to England? englandrover.com is your independent source of travel information with information about how to get around, what to see and do and where to stay on your next trip to England.

The South

The Midlands

The North

Back to England Rover home

Copyright 2018–2021 by BUG Travel Publishing Ltd.

Back to England Rover home

Copyright 2018–2021 BUG Travel Publishing Ltd

Login

Register

Your personal data will be used to support your experience throughout this website, to manage access to your account, and for other purposes described in our privacy policy.

Already have account?

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.