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David Walliams and Great British Bake Off's Karen visit the dockyard

05 November 2020

David Walliams and Great British Bake Off's Karen visit the dockyard

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is popular as an attraction and film site with many personalities that grace the screens and airways. Over the years we’re lucky to have many friendly famous faces visit us, from Dan Snow to Harry Hill, and movies like Transformers and Les Miserables (including the famous casts!).


Recently lovers of the ancestry-tracing programme will have seen David Walliams on the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? Television show in October 2020.


The actor, comedian and now popular children’s author met Tony Lidington at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to learn more about his great-great grandfather, William J. Haines.

William, who described as "blind", was noted on the 1891 census as living in Portsmouth and gave his occupation as "musician". Tony ably demonstrated a Barrel Organ, similar to one that William might played around the local streets, entertaining the passers-by.


While Channel 4’s Great British Bake-Off personality, Karen Wright, visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard during her September 2020 caravan tour and blogged about her visit. A model visitor, Karen booked online and secured a timeslot ahead of her trip.


She shares her trip around the dockyard and memories of a visit to see HMS Victory as a child in the sixties, and notes, back then, the Mary Rose was still undiscovered.
Karen writes in her blog “The Mary Rose museum is so fascinating and there are over 19,000 items that were found during excavation and recovery. All on display, including the full skeleton of the ship's dog, thought to be a whippet that was kept on board as a rat catcher.


After the museum, we took a trip on a boat around the harbour. This was great, I love boat trips. The commentary was very full and interesting. We sailed by the aircraft carriers, tugs, banana boats and the ferries, and saw the Spinnaker Tower.”


It’s always worth keeping your eye open around the dockyard as you never know who you might see!


Make sure you’ve got your Ultimate Explorer ticket so you can visit any attraction or museum you like as many times as you like in the future.


Catch up with these two famous visitors by reading the blog or watching the show…
Read more about Great British Bake Off star Karen’s visit, travels and baking exploits.
Watch David Walliams discover his ancestry on BBC show Who Do You Think You Are?