The National Museum of the Royal Navy museums and attractions in Portsmouth, Gosport, Hartlepool and Yeovilton will re-open w/c 17 May - please check each museum for their opening days/times.

HMS Caroline remain temporarily closed.

Pre-booking is essential at all attractions. Find The Latest COVID-19 Updates Here.
 

 

National Museum of the Royal Navy Sites Reopen From 17 May 2021

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is delighted to announce that its museums and attractions in Portsmouth, Somerset and Hartlepool will reopen from 17 May.

Tickets are already on sale, and timed booking slots made available online from 10am on Wednesday 5 May. With COVID safety measures reviewed and in place, pre-booking ahead of a visit remains essential.

We've been busy behind the scenes during lockdown, scroll down to find out more about the reopening at each site and the new additions for 2021.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

  • The UK’s leading naval heritage destination Portsmouth Historic Dockyard announces reopening date of 17 May 2021.
  • Will reopen with innovative new HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship gallery telling the extraordinary story of this National Treasure from acorn to Icon.
  • New walkway under HMS Victory and new exhibition Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 will re-open after a short preview in 2020.
  • The team are excited to welcome back visitors, and appeal for continued support as financial impact of closure still threatens survival.

HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship will open with the site on 17 May and will detail the extraordinary story of this remarkable survivor from acorn to Icon and explore the lesser known history of the oldest naval ship still in commission, in the world.  Generously funded by the Society of Nautical Research and The HMS Victory Preservation Company, the gallery will display previously unseen objects from the ship including a section of HMS Victory mainmast, damaged at the Battle of Trafalgar, which is on display in an exhibition in Portsmouth for the first time. Construction and conservation will be major themes in the display drawing comparisons between ship building skills 200 years ago and the painstaking work still undertaken today. 

Teams across the site have been hard at work during the closure period to revitalise the visitor offer and ensure that all elements of a visit remain COVID safe. Pre-booking remains essential with data captured in conjunction with the government's track and trace system. Details of this and further COVID safety measures can be found on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard website.  The Historic Dockyard is a proud recipient of VisitEngland’s  ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting markwhich means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place.

The reopening of the site is a major milestone in an 18-month period of financial uncertainty for all operators of the site. It is well documented that all have been seriously impacted by the closure enforced by the pandemic. It was confirmed last month that this year the NMRN will get essential additional support from the Royal Navy of up to £4.42m, in addition to the generous support received last year. 

Director General for the NMRN, Professor Dominic Tweddle says, 

“We are delighted to be able to welcome back visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this summer after another extended period of closure. Over 80% of our income comes from visitors. Without visitors, we will not survive. They are our lifeblood. We have sought to use this period to continue to develop our offer and the new HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship gallery is a thrilling addition to the destination. After the launch of our new collaborative arrangements with our good neighbours and partners the Mary Rose Trust last year, every indication is that our visitors love the flexibility of the new ticket. Ours is a world class experience and we are optimistic that this summer will be a safe and memorable one.”

NEW | HMS Victory: The Nation's Flagship 

The brand-new gallery HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship is part of a greatly enhanced visitor offer for HMS Victory which, in addition to a self-guided tour of the ship, now includes the ability to walk down into the dry dock under the enormous hull on a dedicated walkway, weaving through the recently completed and new state of the art support system. The walkway was only open for a short time last summer before the site was closed. 

The new gallery has been completely refitted and the story goes beyond Victory’s immortalised role at the Battle of Trafalgar Through a mixture of large format cinematic film, interactives, newly displayed and previously unseen artefacts including a shot-damaged section of original Victory mast from the Battle of Trafalgar and a spectacular ten-foot-tall, 200-year-old figurehead, it charts her decline and rescue in the 1920s by the Society of Nautical Research (SNR) and the dramatic events when she could have been permanently lost to the nation.

It introduces visitors to the people, both famous and not so famous, behind the ship’s 256-year history and adds to her rich story with new snippets of information for even the most ardent Victory fans. 

The building in which the exhibition is housed sits immediately across from Victory and is dedicated to the late Vice-Admiral Sir Donald Gosling, generous benefactor to the ship. Since 1930 it has housed W L Wyllie’s The Panorama of the Battle of Trafalgar, which measuring 13 metres x 4 metres is perhaps the largest representation of the battle in existence. So big is the painting that the building was constructed around it. 

In the 90th anniversary year of Wyllie’s death, the Panorama has been redisplayed and digitally reinterpreted so visitors can get even closer to it.

Andrew Baines Executive Director of Operation for NMRN and lead curator on the new gallery says: “Visitors love HMS Victory and they never tire of her story. But even those who think they know all about the ship, will discover something new. The Nation’s Flagship makes the ship the star. It’s a tale of peril and jeopardy to secure the legacy of what is possibly one of the world’s most famous ships, the oldest naval ship still in commission and now the Flagship of the First Sea Lord.”  

NEW | Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744

Another new exhibition that was subject to early closure is Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 which explores the fascinating discovery and underwater excavation of 18thcentury battleship, HMS Invincible which sank in February 1758 when she hit a sandbank in the East Solent.

Diving Deep tells the story of Invincible; her capture from the French, the contribution she made to the Royal Navy and ship design and her subsequent sinking and rediscovery by a local fisherman, Arthur Mack, nearly 200 years later. It will also showcase some of the objects and findings from the archaeological excavation, probably the most important of its kind in UK waters for nearly 40 years since the Mary Rose. The exhibition uses the latest in digital technology including photogrammetry, 3D reconstruction of the excavation and new techniques in underwater filming captured on a three-screen projection, to bring the often unseen and mysterious world of underwater excavation to life in an innovative and inventive way.  Described by its Community Archaeologist Eileen Clegg as “diving without getting wet” the display will allow visitors to get “up close and personal” to the seabed, where the wreck has lain for 230 years and where it will remain. 

Tickets are already on sale on www.nmrn.org.uk and timed booking slots will be made available online from 1000hrs on Wednesday 5 May subject to government guidelines remaining the same as currently published. Visitors should note that the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower reopen on Wednesday 19 May.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool

  • The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool, will reopen to the public on 17 May 2021, with COVID safe time slots on sale from 5 May 2021 at 10am.
  • Museum appeals to Hartlepool community to support local icon HMS Trincomalee after a catastrophic year for the popular attraction.
  • Tickets for the site are valid for one year, representing excellent value for a fun day out the whole family can enjoy.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool (NMRNH), part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy group, is delighted to announce that they will be reopening on 17 May 2021. Visitors will once again be able to return to the Tees Valley museum and step aboard the extraordinary HMS Trincomalee, the oldest floating warship in Europe. With COVID safety measures reviewed and in place, pre-booking ahead of a visit remains essential and timed booking slots will be available online from 10am on Wednesday 5 May.

The NMRNH is located at the historic Jackson Dock and plays a vital role in the local tourist and hospitality offer and is also a major part of the area’s regeneration ambitions. 

General Manager of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool, Roslyn Adamson says “We are so excited to welcome our visitors back to our site. Last year was absolutely devastating as Hartlepool was subject to prolonged local restrictions in addition to national lockdowns. These restrictions were obviously necessary to protect our local community but we are glad to be able to open our doors again and welcome everyone back safely. It was so sad seeing what is normally a busy and energetic site so empty and it has had a catastrophic impact on our income. We know that HMS Trincomalee holds a special place in the heart of the local community and we are appealing to them to come back and support her this year.”

“We’ll be reopening with an action-packed daily programme of activities you won’t find anywhere else. Visitors are always amazed at the live action of our weapon demonstrations and our rope making displays are equally fascinating. Our fabulous pirate ship playground and picnic area is another extremely popular feature of a family visit along with our Fighting Ships and Press Gang experiences. And let’s not forget, a ticket lasts for a full year so it’s a great value day out for everyone.”

Director General for the NMRN, Professor Dominic Tweddle says “We are delighted to be able to welcome back visitors to the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool this summer after another extended period of closure. Over 80% of our income comes from visitors. Without visitors, we will not survive. They are our lifeblood. Ours is a world class experience and we are optimistic that this summer will be a safe and memorable one.”  

As well as managing capacities, the museum will also adhere to social distancing measures. Roslyn has expanded on some of the logistical issues stating that “COVID-19 safety measures in the museum have been in place since our last reopening in September. We have been updating these to ensure visitors have a great experience with us as their safety and enjoyment is our highest priority. In order to ensure their safety and make guests feel comfortable there will be a one-way route on board HMS Trincomalee and staff will be taking care to control capacity in our outdoor demonstration areas.”

Further details on the measures being put in place for the reopening of the site will be shared when time slots go on sale on www.nmrn.org.uk but include the need for all tickets to be pre-booked for allocated timed slots with track and trace confirmation and hygiene measures. The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool is a proud recipient of VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark which means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place.

Time slots for visiting The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool will be available to book online from 5 May at www.nmrn.org.uk.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset

  • The Fleet Air Arm Museum, in Yeovilton, will reopen to the public on 19 May 2021, with COVID safe booking slots on sale from 5 May 2021 at 10am.
  • With many people unable to board a plane and get their aviation fix this summer, FAAM offers a world of COVID Safe aviation experiences for visitors of all ages.
  • Expected boom in staycations market in the South West, anticipated to give a boost to the popular attraction, which has experienced serious financial impact from enforced closure.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum (FAAM), which is part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), is delighted to announce that we will be reopening to visitors on 17 May 2021. With COVID safety measures reviewed and in place, pre-booking ahead of a visit remains essential and timed booking slots will be available online from 10am on Wednesday 5 May.

Whilst the British public may not have the opportunity to board a plane for their annual holiday this year, FAAM’s incredible collection of aircraft offer visitors the chance to experience a world of aviation all under one roof. The large hangers and covered space also lend well to social distancing and an all-weather day out.

As one of the top three tourist attractions in Somerset, this popular Museum is expecting to benefit from the anticipated boost in the staycations market this year. The museum already plays an important role in the local tourism economy, usually welcoming over 80,000 visitors a year. Ensuring that the site can be fully COVID compliant, it will however be operating a limited capacity.

General Manager of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Marc Farrance says “When we reopened in August 2020, we far exceeded our expectations in terms of visitor numbers. We received 10,000 visitors over and above what we were expecting and reached our safe capacity limits on a number of occasions. We are hopeful that we will continue to be a go-to day out, and the anticipated boom in staycations this year will hopefully see a thriving local visitor economy, despite continued distancing and capacity control. Therefore, I strongly urge visitors to book in advance to help us provide a safe environment and avoid disappointment.”

But Marc also encourages local people to make a visit “Whilst we are always excited to welcome people from across the country to the Museum, our collection has incredible connections to the area’s local history, stay local is certainly an ongoing theme! With many of the aircraft on display having been built locally in Yeovil by Westlands (Now Leonardo Helicopters). The Museum has an extensive collection of Westland Aircraft including the Short 184 from the Battle of Jutland in 1916 (the only aircraft to take part in the battle and the 4th Aircraft ever built by Petter-Westlands in Yeovil) and a time line of helicopters from Westland Dragonfly, Wessex HU5, Sea King Commando Mk4 and Search and Rescue Mk5 and Lynx. This year we very much look forward to welcoming local people who may be seeking new experiences on their doorstep and if they haven’t been to visit us for a few years may be surprised how we have grown.”

The expected boost in domestic tourism across the UK and to the South West specifically offers a much-needed opportunity for the museum which has been closed . This, along with the other lockdowns throughout the past year, has had a devastating impact on the NMRN’s financial position.

Director General for the NMRN, Professor Dominic Tweddle says “We are delighted to be able to welcome back visitors to the Fleet Air Arm Museum this summer after another extended period of closure. Over 80% of our income comes from visitors. Without visitors, we will not survive. They are our lifeblood. Ours is a world class experience and we are optimistic that this summer will be a safe and memorable one.”

When the Fleet Air Arm Museum reopens most of its signature exhibition spaces will be open for the public to explore, one of which boasts the historic Concorde 002 prototype. There will be new QR codes placed around the site that link to newly introduced videos, offering a fresh interpretation to the museum’s collections and enabling visitors to access stories in a socially distanced way.

Marc says “COVID-19 safety measures in the museum were put in place from our last reopening in August. We have been updating these to ensure visitors have a great experience with us and their safety and enjoyment is our highest priority. In order to ensure overall safety and make guests feel comfortable there will be a one-way route, protective screens and cashless payments.”

Further details on the measures being put in place for the reopening of the site will be shared when tickets go on sale on www.nmrn.org.uk but also include track and trace confirmation and hygiene measures. The Fleet Air Arm Museum is a proud recipient of VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark which means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place.

Currently all tickets provide a year’s access to the family friendly site which means visitors can return time and time again. Time slots for visiting FAAM will be available to book online from 5 May at www.nmn.org.uk.

_______________________________________________________

For Press Enquiries please email: media@nmrn.org.uk

White BG