Maritime Portsmouth


  • A day with Dr Ian Friel, international expert in maritime history
  • Special ‘behind the scenes’ access to the stores of the National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • Visit the recently re-opened - and spectacular - Mary Rose Museum
  • A guided tour of HMS Victory

As an island, Britain has always been a maritime nation. This is an opportunity to visit a seafaring city that brings together 400 years of maritime history, from the 15th Century to the Victorian era. 

Portsmouth has the oldest operational naval base in the world, dating from 1495, and is the best place in the UK to find ships and buildings related to the British navy in the age of sail. The Royal Navy helped to make Britain into a global power, and Portsmouth played a key part in this dramatic story.

We will look closely at two of our Navy’s most famous ships, the Mary Rose and the Victory. Lost in battle of Southsea in 1545, the Mary Rose and its contents make up one of the most important 16th Century collections anywhere, all beautifully displayed in the new museum. The Victory - preserved because of its associations with Horatio Nelson and Trafalgar - can tell us about what it was like to work and fight aboard a First Rate at the height of the age of sail.


  • Conflict


  • Special Access

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

Meeting time / place
09:30 at entrance to the Historic Dockyard

End time / place
17:00 in the Historic Dockyard

After setting the scene outside the Historic Dockyard, we will advance to the recently reopened Mary Rose Museum for a lecture: ‘Jolly Tars? The experience of war at sea.’ Then a guided tour of the Museum - one of the most imaginative and spectacular maritime exhibitions anywhere.

Light lunch in a dockyard restaurant.

We go ‘behind the scenes’ in the National Museum of the Royal Navy with Victoria Ingles, Collections Manager (or Amy Adams ,Curator of Archives), for a truly privileged look in their stores: see treasures such as Nelson’s signet ring, original documents of the Tudor navy and a range of fascinating images and artefacts from naval hisory. We then board the world-famous HMS Victory for a guided tour.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Lunch - Light lunch in a dockyard restaurant
  3. Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue


Jan 8

The most enjoyable aspects were those unique to the day: - Being able to handle the records in the RN museum. - Ian's lecture giving everything a context - the headsets that gave us both freedom and Ian's briefing in the Mary Rose museum.

Jan 8

The time spent with our Guide Lecturer, Dr Ian Friel. Such a knowledgeable person.


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What to expect 

  • An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
  • A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
  • Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
  • Small Groups 12-25 guests 
  • The company of like-minded people!
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