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The Historic Dockyard of the Royal Naval BaseWinner of the UK Large Visitor Attraction Award in 2005, the Historic Dockyard is Portsmouth's premier tourist attraction. Attractions here include the Mary Rose - a 16th century warship, the HMS Victory - the flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar and HMS Warrior - the first iron hulled battleship in the world.
A large complex with many attractions, the Historic Dockyard of the Royal Naval Base should be the first port of call for any tourist in the area. Your tour will take you aboard historic ships and inside museums displaying rare maritime artefacts. Entrance to the Historic Dockyard itself is free but you'll have to pay if you want to explore these attractions further.
The greatest crowd pullers at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard are the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior. The HMS Victory is the most famous of the Royal Navy's warships on two accounts. Not only is she the world's oldest commissioned ship but she also played a key role as the flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar. In October, 1805 Lord Nelson led a fleet of 27 battle ships in a historic naval battle against a combined French and Spanish force. Despite being outnumbered, Britain's greatest naval hero led England to victory but paid the ultimate price for the triumph. Nelson was hit by a bullet as he strode across the quarterdeck with his captain. His body was preserved in brandy and brought back to England and a hero's burial. On your visit, you'll be able to see the spot where Nelson died and planned the famous battle.
The HMS Warrior is a state of art 19th century warship. Built in 1860, the HMS Warrior was the world's first iron hulled armoured battleship. Powered by both steam and sails, she was more heavily armoured than any other battleship of her time. At full speed, the HMS Warrior burnt a staggering 11 tonnes of coal. Now fully restored, your visit aboard will transport you back to life aboard this mighty 19th century battleship.
The Mary Rose is the oldest of the ships in the historical dockyard of the Royal Naval Base at Portsmouth. She is also the only 16th century warship which you can visit in the world. A fast and successful ship, the Mary Rose was a favourite with Henry VIII. But, on July 15, 1545 disaster struck. A French fleet of some 200 ships bore threateningly towards the South of England. While thousands of onlookers cheered the Mary Rose on her way, she sailed out of Portsmouth en route to her attackers. She never made it. A heavy ship, armed with heavy artillery, the Mary Rose keeled over port side and slowly descended to the depths of the sea to the horror of her well-wishing onlookers. As few aboard could swim, only 35 members of her 400 strong crew survived. Fortunately for posterity, her grave was a bed of silt which preserved a fine range of perishable objects. Raised from the sea in 1982, the Mary Rose shipwreck now lies within the Mary Rose Hall. To find about more about life at sea in the 16th century you can also visit the Mary Rose Museum. There are over 1,200 items on display such as Tudor longbows (the only ones to have survived the ages), tankards, cannons, wooden bowls and board games once used by the men who lived and fought aboard her.
Other attractions at the Historical Dockyard include the Royal Navy Museum with its Trafalgar Experience, Story of the HMS Victory, Horatio Nelson and the Sailing Navy. The museum also houses a large collection of naval artefacts from swords and uniforms to figureheads and ship models. Your ticket includes entrance to Action Stations, an interactive showcase of the Navy where you'll be able to watch films of the Navy in action or test you skills (high scores are rewarded with entrance applications!).
Address: Historic Dockyard Visitor Centre, College Road
Postcode: PO13LJ [Street Map]
Phone: 023 9286 1533