Accessibility

We hope you enjoy your visit to our site. We have tried to make our site as safe as possible but as some of our attractions are old, we ask that you take special care during your visit. Please pay attention to the safety notices around our site.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard welcomes all visitors. The site is a working Naval Base and certain areas may present difficulties to visitors who use wheelchairs, with a restricted mobility or who are visually impaired. As a safety precaution, we ask that all these visitors are accompanied by a carer.

You access the site at your own risk and we will not be responsible for any direct, indirect or consequential loss, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), for breach of statutory duty, or otherwise, arising under or in connection with your visit to our site, including for loss or damage to property.

We do not limit or exclude our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or any other liability which cannot be limited or excluded by applicable law.

Registered disabled visitors to the dockyard should purchase an appropriate ticket according to their age. They are eligible to bring along a carer for free if required. A complimentary day ticket can be allocated to the carer on request at the Visitors Centre and is included with the online ticket purchase.

Toilets
Toilets for disabled visitors can be found in...

  • National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • Boathouse No.7
  • Action Stations

Shopmobility
Shopmobility operates a scheme of hiring powered scooters to members of the public with limited mobility. Their Shopmobility scooters are available for use in our Visitor Centre at the entrance to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Booking is recommended and this can be done via email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 02392 839 766 Ext:2083.

Please note that during adverse weather conditions access to the scheme may be withdrawn for the protection of our customers and the general public.

Car parking
There are 15 disabled spaces available in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard car park approximately 400 yards from the main entrance.

Special access to attractions
Our Special Access Route gives ramped access around the Heritage Area. Please also consider the specific suitability of each attraction, details of which follow.

HMS Victory

There are steep steps and uneven floors throughout the ship. There is wheelchair access to Lower Gun Deck where a DVD tour runs, subject to availability. No pushchairs are allowed onboard the ship and are left at the owner's risk. Audio guides are available. 

HMS Victory contains...

  • Steep stairs
  • Trip hazards
  • Low ceilings
  • Narrow and low doorways
  • Decks that are slippery when wet
  • Low light levels

Please be aware that...

  • The entrance and exits are low.
  • There are low ceilings and beams throughout the ship, but especially on the orlop deck near the place where Nelson died.
  • There are trip hazards throughout the ship, but especially on the upper deck near the spot where Nelson was shot.

HMS Warrior 1860
HMS Warrior floats in Portsmouth Harbour and is accessed by a ramp. Tides make the gradient of the ramp steep at high tide. At low tide the gradient of the ramp is less steep, but the entry point to the ramp becomes steeper. You can find more about the tide times on the Royal Navy website. 

These photos indicate the gradient of the ramp at high and low tide

Low Tide Ramp

HMS Warrior ramp at low tide 

Hide Tide Ramp

HMS Warrior at high tide

Access to the lower decks of HMS Warrior is via a series of steep stairs with rope bannisters. There is a set of stairs with fixed bannisters at the rear of the ship. This route has been marked as an accessible route on the deck plan.
There is a stair lift available between the upper deck and the main gun deck. Please ask a member of staff if you would like to use the stair lift. This is suitable for visitors with some mobility who are able to transfer themselves to the stair lift. Wheelchairs must be left on the upper deck for visitors wishing to use this. There is a manual wheelchair available for visitors to use on the main gun deck.

HMS Warrior has many fixtures in the deck which may be trip hazards. It also has narrow throughways and low ceilings and is quite dark below decks. At busy times (summer holidays and weekends) it can be very crowded. Winter weekdays tend to be quieter times to visit. Staff and volunteers are located throughout the ship to assist visitors and answer questions.

HMS M.33
There is wheelchair access to the lower deck of the ship and to the Audio-Visual Experience via a lift. The Audio-Visual Experience does not have subtitles, and can be quite dark with an intense content which can be upsetting for some.

Displays on the Lower Deck are mainly open interpretations. On the gangway outside are signs that talk about the Upper Deck of the ship, if not accessible for the guest, as well as M.33’s history and life. The stairs up to the Upper Deck from the gangway are generously spaced, with later only four steep stairs which are situated on the forecastle of the ship which may be difficult for those with mobility issues. Pushchairs are not permitted onboard HMS M.33.

National Museum of the Royal Navy
The museum is accessible for wheelchair users and pushchairs, though visitors should be aware that the floors are uneven in some areas of our historic buildings.

Each gallery incorporates handling exhibits, film and audio displays. Most of them have a hearing loop. Audio transcripts or large print text is available on request. The Trafalgar Experience has low lighting, flashing lights and a loud soundtrack.

Action Stations
Generally, Action Stations is fully accessible to visitors who use wheelchairs. There is a lift between the ground and first floor. To access Action Stations please use the walkway to the left of the mast pond.

Shopping and eating at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
All of the shops and places to eat are free to visit without a ticket, except during special events when a fee may apply. The National Museum of the Royal Navy Shop, The Mary Rose Shop, The Antiques Storehouse and Nauticalia are all accessible to wheelchair and pushchair users. The Boathouse No.7 Restaurant, Costa Coffee and The Mary Rose Café are all accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs users. 

Harbour Tours and Waterbus
Harbour Tours last around 45 to 50 minutes and can only be boarded from the Historic Dockyard site. You can disembark at the Gunwharf Quays outlet shopping centre after the tour has finished but you will be unable to get back onto the vessel to return to the Historic Dockyard and will need to make your own way back.

Two manual wheelchair users are permitted per sailing, dependant on vessel used. People using electric/motorised wheelchairs can switch to a manual wheelchair in the Visitor Centre (subject to availability). Please call us on 023 9283 9766 (opt. 1) or Solent and Wightline Cruises on 01983 564602 to check availability. 

The Waterbus service to the Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower and the Submarine Museum is not accessible by wheelchair. Depending on the demand for spaces on board the vessel, it may be possible to take a folded manual wheelchair onto the vessel. There are a couple of large steps onto and off of the Waterbus. Assistance dogs are permitted on board.

What type of pushchair is allowed on the Waterbus?

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Due to the jetties and steps being unsuitable for large pushchair, only small umbrella fold buggies can be carried onto the Waterbus, which must already be folded down before access to the Waterbus is permitted. Other buggy types can be left inside buggy parts near Boathouse 4 or inside Boathouse 5. 

Royal Navy Submarine Museum (Gosport)
There is wheelchair access to all areas of the museum apart from the Miers Room and some areas of the submarine. Please ask at reception for more details. Hearing loops are installed in our ticket reception, shop, lecture space, cinema, and Miers Room. Pushchairs cannot be taken on board HMS Alliance but may be left at reception.

If you plan to access the attraction from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, please call in advance to check accessibility by 023 9283 9766 (opt. 1) or Solent and Wightline Cruises on 01983 564602 to check availability. 

Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower (Gosport)
The museum is based on one floor with even floor access throughout. On a couple of occasions, you will find a change in the floor level, but ramps are built throughout the building.  The admissions till has an induction loop for hearing impaired visitors. 

The museum is family friendly and pushchairs are welcome. If you would like to leave your buggy at reception, please let a member of staff know and they will advise you where to leave it. If you plan to access the attraction from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, please call in advance to check accessibility by 023 9283 9766 (opt. 1) or Solent and Wightline Cruises on 01983 564602 to check availability.

Our team are currently performing annual maintenance on the lift inside the Victory Gallery. Whilst the second floor is currently inaccessible, there’s plenty to see and do on the lower ground floor. Take in the social history of the ship or try your hand at some of our activities. We’ll update our website once the lift maintenance has been completed. Thank you for your patience.