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Travel back in time and become the Ultimate Explorer this summer at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Date published 20/07/2022
Child on board HMS Alliance

With the school holidays fast approaching, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is geared up to give visitors a summer to remember as they embark on a journey through centuries of maritime history with a glimpse into a working naval base close to the modern navy fleet, aircraft carriers and historic ships. Families will have the chance to become ultimate explorers, journeying back in time to find their sea legs and immerse themselves in the world of the Royal Navy and Tudor life with new activities, exhibitions and challenges.  

Alongside the state-of-the-art, fully interactive Mary Rose Museum and famous Royal Navy ships, HMS Warrior and HMS Victory, the dockyard has revamped its popular Action Stations – a high-tech indoor attraction set to challenge visitors of all ages with a whole host of physical trials, simulators and technological experiments. Opening this summer, Commando Experience at Action Stations will pose the question of visitors “can you make the grade” placing aspiring commandos at the heart of the modern naval experience and challenging them to pass tough physical activities to gain their prestigious green beret. 

For children aged five to 11, there’s a whole host of free activities included within the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Ultimate Explorer ticket, including a Medal Mania Trail with special stickers to collect and the chance to create a special Jubilee-inspired keepsake at the Jubilee Make and Take sessions. For the under-fives, Ship Ship Hooray at the Space held in the Victory Gallery will offer little ones the chance to explore the gallery through creative play and every Saturday and Sunday throughout the holidays* there’ll be storytelling events featuring mischievous corgis and Billy, the Sailor King. There’ll also be soft play sessions running in the Victory Gallery. 

Young visitors looking for a piece of the action themselves can step into the pages of the Mary Rose’s Join the Crew activity book, immersing themselves in the lives of the ship’s Tudor crew members throughout the summer holidays. Tudor games, a meet and greet with the court jester, gun drills and learning Tudor calligraphy are all on offer at the Mary Rose Museum as well as being transported back to 1545 where visitors will meet King Henry VIII and re-live the final moments on board his favourite ship, the Mary Rose, in the museum’s new interactive experience.  

There’s also the once-in-a-generation chance to be part of the fascinating renovation of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and see beneath the skin of the ship as it’s taken through repair by a highly-skilled team. Victory Live: The Great Repair provides visitors the chance to watch conservators, engineers and craftsman in action as they continue the ship’s 20-year conservation project. A temporary building will provide full public viewing access across three levels, allowing for the development of a fascinating new guest experience where visitors will be able to ascend scaffolding for an exceptionally rare opportunity to see the specialist shipwrights at work. Also new this year is the exhibition celebrating Her Majesty’s loyal service to the Royal Navy. Her Majesty’s Service, The Queen’s role at the heart of the Royal Navy family, takes a fascinating look at both her role as ceremonial head of the Royal Navy and as granddaughter, daughter, wife and mother of naval officers. 

Visitors and families can access all ten attractions at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard under one Ultimate Explorer ticket, providing great value for money and the chance to return again and again for 12 months. Alongside the ships and museum, the Ultimate Explorer ticket also allows visitors to enjoy a harbour tour and hop on the waterbus service from the dockyard to visit two exciting Gosport attractions; the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, where visitors can step onboard the only remaining Second World War era submarine – HMS Alliance. 

The Ultimate Explorer ticket starts from £39 per adult and £29 per child. It is valid for multiple entries through the year, with family tickets available. To find out more about purchasing an Ultimate Explorer ticket, and all it has to offer, visit: