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West Sussex residents will be able to visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum at Portsm. Museum of the Royal Navy by Dave Hartley

It will be opening on Monday 17 May, at 10 am in line with the governments roadmap out of lockdown.

2021 will see the world class heritage destination putting its incredible flagships; HMS Victory and the Mary Rose; centre stage by introducing exciting new visitor experiences which will be included in its Ultimate Explorer ticket, a simplified annual ticket launched last summer. 

HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship will open with the site on 17 May and will detail the extraordinary story of this remarkable survivor from acorn to Icon and explore the lesser known history of the oldest naval ship still in commission, in the world.  

Generously funded by the Society of Nautical Research and The HMS Victory Preservation Company, the gallery will display previously unseen objects from the ship including a section of HMS Victory mainmast, damaged at the Battle of Trafalgar, which is on display in Portsmouth for the first time.

Construction and conservation will be major themes in the display drawing comparisons between ship building skills 200 years ago and the painstaking work still undertaken today. 

This summer a new immersive visitor experience will be unveiled at the Mary Rose to mark the loss of the ship and her crew in July 1545.

It will give visitors a chance to hear about the ship from King Henry VIII himself and will put visitors virtually on board during the Battle of the Solent in which she sank.  

Teams across the site have been hard at work during the closure period to revitalise the visitor offer and ensure that all elements of a visit remain COVID safe.

Pre-booking remains essential with data captured in conjunction with the government's track and trace system.

Details of this and further COVID safety measures can be found on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard website.

The reopening of the site is a major milestone in an 18-month period of financial uncertainty for all operators of the site. It is well documented that all have been seriously impacted by the closure enforced by the pandemic.

It was confirmed last month that this year the NMRN will get essential additional support from the Royal Navy of up to £4.42m, in addition to the generous support received last year.

The Mary Rose Trust announced a further grant of £327,652 from the Government’s £1.57billion Cultural Recovery Fund but finances remain very precarious with a significant threat to the Mary Rose Trust’s cash flow as early as the end of the year if ticket revenue does not materialise.  

The PNBPT were grateful for the government CRF funding of £697k to support the operations of the boatbuilding academy on site, and for the additional £220k grant in the most recent round of funding to assist with operations.

Director General for the NMRN, Professor Dominic Tweddle says: “We are delighted to be able to welcome back visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this summer after another extended period of closure.

"Over 80% of our income comes from visitors. Without visitors, we will not survive. They are our lifeblood. We have sought to use this period to continue to develop our offer and the new HMS Victory: The Nation’s Flagship  gallery is a thrilling addition to the destination.

"After the launch of our new collaborative arrangements with our good neighbours and partners the Mary Rose Trust last year, every indication is that our visitors love the flexibility of the new ticket.

"Ours is a world class experience and we are optimistic that this summer will be a safe and memorable one.”

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