There’s nothing quite like visiting the dockyard on a beautiful sunny day. The ships are bathed in a golden light showing off all their best angles and the Mary Rose Museum’s incredibly unique architecture truly shines.
From action packed Mondays to slow Sundays there’s plenty to explore but these highlights offer a great starting point for any visit.
Here’s the top five things you must not miss on a sunny day at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Step onboard the Harbour Tour, one of the perks of having an Ultimate Explorer ticket, and head out across Portsmouth Harbour.
You’ll see the dockyard, Spinnaker Tower, ferries and current naval ships from a completely different perspective while you head up river.
Take in the sights while listening to the tour operator explain exactly what you can see.
Walking the deck of HMS Warrior in the sunshine offers beautiful views of the ship itself, the Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Harbour.
You’re likely to bump into the crew who are always up for a chat. If you’ve not visited before, you’ll find the crew in character at the time of the ship’s Round Britain Tour in 1860.
Each crew member represents a real person from the ship’s history and they’ve often got a witty comment, interesting fact about the ship or story to tell.
From the quayside vantage point enjoy HMS M.33’s dazzle paint – used to confuse ships distance when at sea.
Sometimes when the aircraft carriers or other ships are docked at the naval base, it’s nice to see the ships together, past and present, in the same eye line.
Then climb onboard the First World War survivor for dramatic storytelling and to explore the cabins.
Porter’s Lodge Garden
Did you know Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has a small secret garden? Not many people do!
After entering through the gate, go to your right, you’ll see a statue of Scott of the Antarctic. Pass to the right of the statue through the hedge into Porter’s Lodge Garden.
In bloom, in summer, it’s an idyllic spot to take five minutes while perching on one of the stone benches. Sometimes there’s even plants available for a donation, from the gardener.
Take the Water Bus to Gosport
If the weather is good it’s the perfect opportunity to hop on the waterbus to experience the museums in Gosport.
A short boat ride reveals two further museums that Ultimate Explorer ticket holders can explore.
At the Royal Navy Submarine Museum head onboard HMS Alliance to understand what life under the sea is actually like.
And, don’t miss the new Night Hunters exhibition at Explosion Museum – a more secret and stealthy side to Royal Navy operations.
Need some shade or it’s started to rain?
Head into one of the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s museums and ships or head inside the Mary Rose Museum to cool off.
Catch up with HMS Victory’s conservation project, a once in a lifetime opportunity to see our teams in action, and the ship from an entirely different perspective.
HMS Victory is undergoing the biggest conservation project of her existence, ensuring she can be enjoyed by future generations.
The Mary Rose Museum has a brand new experience as you enter the exhibition too which explains the ship’s story with incredible narration from Dame Judy Dench.
If the weather is a little wetter, you might find this blog post useful with plenty of suggestions for rainy days.
Top 5 things to do on a rainy day at the dockyard
Don’t forget to bring…
The dockyard’s quite deceptive, even on milder looking days we encourage you to bring suntan lotion, hats, sunglasses and appropriate clothing to protect you and your family or friends. Don’t forget to bring your water bottles too – you can clock up some serious steps up around the attractions!
Ultimate Explorer ticket holders have the flexibility of unlimited visits for an entire year, perfect for coming back to see all the museums, attractions.