Due to uncertainty around changing COVID regulations and the potential impact of sickness within our teams; NMRN may be required to adjust opening hours or close sites at short notice. Whilst all efforts will be made to avoid this and to contact ticket holders ahead of visits we do ask you to check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for details of closures. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding. 

Pre-booking is advised, and visitors must wear masks for their safety and the safety of others, unless exempt.

HMS Caroline remains temporarily closed. Find The Latest COVID-19 Updates Here.


2021 Review

The National Museum of the Royal Navy's year in review 2021

An introduction to 2021

‘Looking back at a year when our museums and ships were only able to open from late May onwards it is amazing what has been achieved by our dedicated staff and excellent volunteers.

None of it would have been possible either without the visitors who returned in such good numbers and above all without the Royal Navy who support in our mission ‘to inspire engagement with the continuing history of the Royal Navy’ has been vital.’

Matthew Sheldon, Executive Director of Museum Operations

Despite the looming spectre of Covid-19, whose effects on the heritage sector cannot be overstated, we’ve had a very positive and productive year at The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

From lucky coins to huge artefact moves, there’s been thought provoking exhibitions, headline grabbing news stories, and constant behind the scenes work going on at all of our sites across 2021.


Historic ships

The masts of HMS Victory

HMS Victory’s main mast was lifted in May 2021, as a part of its ongoing conservation. 

The museum made an exciting discovery, a farthing was uncovered at the base, placed there originally for good luck by the Victorians.

The coin went on display at the Victory gallery, marking a profound link to the past.

Read more about HMS Victory's mast coin.

The repainting of HMS Trincomalee

Our team at Hartlepool had a busy year too, as HMS Trincomalee underwent a major repaint.

It took five weeks to complete, restoring her to colours decided upon by paint analysis completed earlier in the year.

You can find out more about HMS Trincomalee's paint analysis on our website.


Famous faces

Celebrity visits to the National Museum of the Royal Navy

As a national museum we are incredibly lucky to be an interesting location for media and filming.

This year we've had a few famous faces visit us, for TV, and we also had a prestigious royal visit.

These trips help raise our status as a national museum and a key voice in our sector, as well as bringing attention to our important artefacts.

Al Murray, known for playing the Pub Landlord, and First Date's maître d' Fred Sirieix were at Portsmouth to film a history program for Sky, and ex-politician Ed Balls and comedian Joe Lycett came down for Who Do You Think You Are.

Actor and ex-member of Spandau Ballet Martin Kemp was also down at Fleet Air Arm Museum for Antiques Road Trip.

A royal visit at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum

Prince Michael paid a visit to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, whose popularity was raised further still by the drama Vigil airing on BBC One, which brought much-debated fictional attention to the work of submariners.



The Night Hunters at Gosport

Exhibitions have been another well-developed area of the museum's work this year, and are key to crafting the stories we tell.

The most significant new exhibition is The Night Hunters: The Royal Navy’s Coastal Forces at War at Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport, created in collaboration with the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust.

The exhibition tells the story of the Coastal Forces, who operated under deadly conditions at high speeds in both world wars.

Read more about The Night Hunters exhibition.

HMS Victory: The Nation's Flagship at Portsmouth

In Portsmouth the museum also unveiled a new permanent gallery titled HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship, exploring the full 260-year history of the shop, extending well-beyond the Battle of Trafalgar.

It also features a section of Victory’s main mast, complete with cannon-hole damage sustained in 1805.

New to Fleet Air Arm Museum

In the new year we're very excited to announce formally, a new project for the Fleet Air Arm Museum's Carrier experience.

Details of which will be revealed soon, make sure you're following us on social media to be the first to know.

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We’re also incredibly thankful for the awards we’ve received for the hard work in conservation and exhibitions.

Diving Deep's volunteers

The fantastic Diving Deep exhibition, which launched last year, won the regional Marsh Award for its excellent volunteers, who worked incredibly hard even when they couldn’t physically meet.

You can read more about the award and the fantastic volunteers.

Find out where the Diving Deep exhibition is heading next.

LCT 7074's conservation

The museum also achieved the National Historic Ships award for Excellence in Maritime Conservation, for our work on the last surviving D-Day landing craft LCT 7074, which now sits outside the D-Day Story in Southsea.

LCT 7074 was also awarded the Restoration or Conservation Project of the Year by the Museum and Heritage Awards, which is a credit to everyone involved due to the complicated nature of restoring the landing craft.

You can find out more about LCT 7074 on our website.


Keeping the stories alive

The work for veterans

Keeping the stories of the navy alive is also vitally important to our work at the museum.

The stories of veterans such as Geoffrey Calvert visiting his submarine HMS Alliance in Gosport, or the connection of Portsmouth to D-Day and the veterans that attended our 77th anniversary event are examples of the strong links of people and places to these historical events.

The work for those with dementia

Keeping these memories alive goes beyond this, as we’ve taken part in a pilot program at Portsmouth Hospital University NHS Trust to develop chatterboxes for dementia patients to reignite their link to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

You can discover more about our work with chatterboxes on the NHS website.

Our work behind the scenes

Quite often the work the teams at the museums complete behind the scenes is as important as the work the public sees.

From the careful curation of artefacts, to major conservation projects, to our extensive learning and education programming, the team is always busy on working bringing the public something new while working on the collection.

Our work decanting the collections from the Torbay building at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, across the end of last year and the start of this one, is one large example of the work our curators do which is usually obscured to the public.

Similarly, there is a great deal of work to be done at Devonport, among many of the wider projects the museum is currently undertaking.

Both examples are vital for our collections, and future exhibitions, and our continued role in inspiring people about Royal Navy heritage.

You can read more about the 'Torbay decant' on our website.

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