All Aboard the New Attractions at Hampshire’s Historic Harbour

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

There is an exhilaratingly fresh feel in Portsmouth Harbour this summer. A major heritage lottery grant announced in 2008 has enabled a very special and completely new visitor attraction to be built. The redesigned and updated Mary Rose Museum is now finished and open to the public this year.

The press joined many keen history fans who were thrilled to learn that “Henry VIII’s flagship Mary Rose will be reunited with thousands of objects spilled from her shattered hull in 1545 through a £21m grant for a new museum.” (1)

Hampshire residents that are aged over 40 will certainly remember when The Mary Rose “was raised in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust, in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The surviving section of the ship and thousands of recovered artefacts are of immeasurable value as a Tudor-era time capsule.” (2)

To compliment the opening of this important cultural attraction a promotion was announced: “A major new regional and national marketing campaign to promote the Mary Rose’s Tudor story will start during Easter 2018…The Mary Rose will therefore offer a (£2) discount to holders of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard tickets.” (3)

Mrs Shiltern from Fareham in Hampshire said enthusiastically “it is a brilliant new exhibition and I would definitely like to go back and see it again.”

Visitors arriving by public transport are now greeted by the modern looking and recently completed bus station. The bright contemporary terminal facility is also near the entrance to the rail station at The Hard interchange between the Historic Dockyard and the exciting Gunwharf Quays shopping and leisure development.

Replacing a run down 1960’s canopy area this new greeting place is part of the regeneration strategy for the area by Portsmouth City Council and partners to launch this famous shipping port, with its buckets of naval history, smoothly into the 21st century.

At the recently revamped tourist information centre and shop we found helpful staff on hand to guide newcomers looking to discover “where adventures begin with 11 attractions in one amazing place.” (4)

The Spinnaker tower can be seen for many miles as it is a massive mast like structure lighting up the coastline. This summer they also have an exciting new abseiling event that is definitely not for the faint hearted!

This season’s gems include an extraordinary original Tudor sail that forms part of the Mary Rose exhibition. Another delightful feature for 2018 is a special naval helicopter that is on display at the dockyard creating a wonderful contrast between the medieval ships and the latest technology used today by the Royal Navy.

So grab your plimsoles and get ready to check out the latest nautical experiences at this outstanding naval destination.

(1) Kennedy M The Guardian 25 Jan 2008 ‘£21m grant buys new home for Mary Rose and its contents’

(2) Wikepedia – Mary Rose

(3) Mary Rose official website news 30 July 2018

(4) Portsmouth Historic Dockyard promotional leaflet July 2018