With HMS Victory, the Mary Rose, Submarine museum and lots more, a day out to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard makes a great family trip. You can buy a ticket for just one of the attractions or an access pass for all attractions. The tickets are annual passes for a year so you can come back as many times as you like – as there is more to do than is possible in a day the ‘all attractions’ pass is good value if you live not to far away.
Here are a few of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard attractions which are great for kids:
HMS Victory is 104-gun ship best known as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalger. We spent a good 1-2 hours on HMS Victory. You can explore the ship freely and there are brilliant audio guides where you zap the buttons to start the commentary – my kids loved this part! There are multiple levels to explore and it is very atmospheric. However watch out as there are steep stairs. Make sure you visit the toilets before boarding the boat as it can be tricky to get out quickly with little children if they suddenly need to go!
The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. The museum displays the remains of the ship and many of the artefacts which sank – as well as some skeletons! We spent 1-2 hours visiting the museum. There were plenty of interactive screens and activities to keep the children engaged. My kids were fascinated by the ship’s dog’s skeleton and trying out the long bows. We also liked the additions of a dressing up box and brass rubbing.
A water taxi over to the submarine museum (about 10 mins) is included in your ticket and highly recommended. The submarine is fascinating and you get a great sense of life and smells on board! In the main museum there are plenty of hands-on exhibits to keep children engaged.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – Action Stations
In the Action Stations warehouse there is a ropes course for 2-7 year olds and a Ninja course for ages 7 and up. There is a 19-seat, 6-axis motion simulator where visitors can take a white-knuckle trip in a rigid raider boat with the Royal Marines, defy gravity in a Sea Harrier, or let Helen, the Lynx helicopter pilot in Command Approved, take you on a hair-raising escape.
There are cafes at each of the attractions as well as a large restaurant in the central Dockyard area. You can also find a picnic area outside HMS Victory if you prefer to bring a picnic.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Tickets
For more information and booking check out the Historic Dockyard website. It’s worth buying tickets on line in advance where there are often discounted rates available.