New Attraction Boathouse 4


Family Activities

Great Inside Adventures All-Year Round


Student Learning

State of the art boat-building, repairs and maintenance with Highbury College


Rowing Challenge

Row like a Tender Champion


Lift yourself

Try something truly exciting


BoatBuilding Training

Get started on a new career with IBTC


Demos of Real Skills

Have a go and make something from scratch

Boathouse 4 Free New Attraction at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - Opens Monday 26th October

Boathouse 4 is a great fun day out for kids this October half term. Keep the kids active and stop them getting bored with our brilliant new historic small boat attraction, which opens on Monday 26th October. With hands-on children’s activities and brand new indoor mast climbing experience, it’ll be a day to remember.

The building was constructed in the rearmament period before the Second World War and has also been restored and converted into a Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre and is now home to the International Boatbuilding College Portsmouth and Highbury College. These two colleges are training a new generation of students in the techniques of traditional boatbuilding and other related skills that are still very much required today to build and conserve wooden boats.

Built within this magnificent historic building, overlooking the Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre is a new exciting exhibition “The Forgotten Craft” which tells the heroic stories of the small boats which were the backbone of the Royal Navy. From the wooden cutters that ferried Lord Nelson to and from his flagship, to the Cockleshell Heroes in their canoes and the powerful motorboats that helped to win the Second World War.


Boathouse 4 Historical Significance

Boathouse 4 is currently being restored and will open in 2015 as a Boatbuilding and Heritage Skills Centre. The centre will offer practical, intensive courses in traditional boatbuilding and related skills, with stunning views across Portsmouth Harbour. Visitors will be able to watch traditional boatbuilding in action and enjoy the fascinating story of small boats in the British Navy.

"The project will recreate the industrial past of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s impressive cathedral-sized boathouse which was so crucial for rearmament on the south coast during the Second World War."Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, South East

Boathouse No. 4

New Family Activities

The exhibition features a range of innovative interactive exhibits which bring these small craft to life. Take a seat in the activity boat and see if you can row in time with the other sailors. Test your strength on ‘lift yourself’ and learn about how different weight distributions can make lifting even the heaviest of boats the easiest of tasks for a sailor. Enter the boat theatre and discover the heroic exploits of the Coastal Forces and daring missions of the Second World War motor boats. For those feeling extra courageous, put your wits to the test by scaling our amazing ‘Mast & Rigging’ experience. (Small fee applies)

Boathouse 4 is free to enter.

Boathouse No. 4 Heritage Lottery Funding logo