Revisiting Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Back in July 2015 we visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and found that there was so much to see and do that you could not fit it all into one day.

On New Years Eve we headed to Portsmouth to visit Spinnaker Tower and as we have annual passes to the dockyard we decided to head back and see what we missed back in July.

Our first port off call was HMS Warrior 1860 which was the fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world when she was launched. She was Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship and the pride of Queen Victoria’s Fleet with a combination of iron sides, which offered protection from the exploding shells and the ability to carry large guns, changed the nature of marine warfare.

HMS Warrior

HMS Warrior has been beautifully restored both inside and out and provides a valuable insight into what life was like onboard an elite warship from the Victorian era.

HMS Warrior

Once we had finished we had a bit of a breather and headed into Action Stations where the kids got to steam around the activity centre, fire (pretend) guns, fly helicopters in a simulator and try out some science experiments.

Action Stations

Last time we visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard we looked around HMS Victory ourselves, stopping to ask the guides who were dotted around the ship questions. This time we had a set time to visit and went around on a small group with a guide that explained everything in fine detail. It was fascinating looking into the lives of those on board and I was surprised at how engaged Eliza and Isaac were – both asked lots of questions. Sebby on the other hand decided it was time for a snooze on Daddy’s shoulder.

HMS Victory

Our final ship of the day opened in August 2015 and was the HMS M.33 and the sole remaining British veteran of the bloody Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-1916, and the Russian Civil War which followed. The ship is one of just three British warships from World War I still in existence.

HMS M.33 was built in 1915 on the orders of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. She was a floating gun platform designed to bombard coastal positions from the sea and she was a lot smaller than I initially imagined.

HMS M.33

We were greeted aboard the ship and told some of her history and then were allowed to wander unaccompanied throughout the ship. We were warned that it was dark inside and at one point of the tour, there were videos being projected against the walls with loud acoustics of guns and warfare. I would have liked to stay and watch more of this as it was fascinating, but the kids were scared so we may go back and revisit when they are at school, but the kids were told to look out for the ships cat which kept them busy.

HMS M.33

By now the weather was starting to close in and it started pouring with rain. We had planned returning to Spinnaker Tower to take in the view in the dark but the weather got the better of us, so we headed back to Action Stations so Isaac could do the climbing wall which had been too busy before.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Of course the boys wanted to man the guns again so I decided to have a go too – strangely therapeutic blowing up pretend arm vehicles!!

It was a very wet and windy walk back to the car, but was a lovely way to spend New Years Eve and we ended the year as we started – adventurously!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

11 thoughts on “Revisiting Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

  1. Ickle Pickle says:

    I really want to go back to Portsmouth Dockyard, I loved visiting it years ago when I lived nearby. HMS Victory is incredible. Kaz x
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  2. Jen says:

    I remember visiting with my parents when I was younger. My Dad was a marine Engineer so ships were his thing. I would love to visit with the boys
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  3. This looks fab and somewhere that I’d love to take the kids too x x
    Cass@frugalfamily recently posted…Why our budget has a ‘fun money’ section….My Profile

  4. Coombe Mill says:

    Ah this is one of my favourite places to visit when we are up with Nick’s Mum. We went in February half term and I’m just wondering if we can squeeze a second visit in on our annual pass, I’ll have to check the dates. The Action Station section looks new and a good idea as there was limited things there for younger children before and I’d love to see HMS M.33 too. I always come away with a real appreciation of my modern lifestyle and of the terrible conditions by comparison of life on board a working ship all those years ago, and to think, they often thought they were the lucky ones! Thank you so much for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  5. Eve says:

    Ahh it looks so nice and a fun day out. I’ve been to Portsmouth once and it was lovely! x

  6. Sonia says:

    I would absolutely love to go and look around that ship, Dad used to take us to look round them when we were kids so it brings back a lot of happy memories 🙂
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  7. Sonya Cisco says:

    Must go there with the boys – not been since I was a kid but still have a very clear memory of the particular smell of the Victory!
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  8. Amy says:

    I went to visit an old ship in devon, I’ve not been to the portsmouth one but I gather they’re similar. The best part for me was the smell, it smelt like an old ship almost transporting you back in time, brilliant experience, I was only 10-11 but I’ll always remember it!
    Amy|Purely Amy

  9. I’ve only ever been to Portsmouth to get the ferry to Isle of Wight – I’d love to go and have a proper look – anything historical like that fascinates me!

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