South East England – Portsmouth

1. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of the Royal Navy, and discover world famous historic ships that have shaped British and world history. See admiral Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory- the British navy’s Flagship at the battle of Trafalgar, the remains of the Tudor warship the Mary Rose, and the Victorian HMS Warrior which set a new standard for naval technology when it was launched in 1860. You can also take a Harbour Boat Tour, enabling you to see ships of the British fleet up close.

2. The Submarine Museum
The unique Submarine Museum offers you the chance to walk on board a real submarine, discover true tales of heroism and relive a life under the sea through the personal belongings of the crew. Imagine what it must be like to be depth charged? Picture yourself in a tiny miniature submarine about to slip under an enemy ship. Trace the history of submarine development, from Alexander the Great, to Holland I, to the giant nuclear powered Vanguard class of the present day peace keepers.

3. Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower
Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower is an award winning, hands on, interactive museum telling the story of naval warfare from the days of gunpowder to modern missiles. The museum includes a nationally significant collection of guns and naval ordnance, an original 18th century gunpowder vault and social history of the people who supplied the Navy from the days of Trafalgar to the Gulf War. Relax at the Waterside Coffe and visit the gift shop selling re-published editions of naval manuals.

4. The Blue Reef Aquarium
The Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth has over 40 living displays featuring fascinating mariine life from around the world. Be amazed by animals ranging from local marine species to the hundreds of tropical fish in the gigantic ocean display complete with underwater tunnel. Situated between two piers overlooking the Solent, Blue Reef Aquarium is a great visit whatever the weather. Relax over lunch in the Blue Reef cafe, and check out the marine themed gift shop.

5. Spinnaker Tower
Take the lift up Spinnaker Tower to the viewing platform, 557 feet above the historic harbour of Portsmouth. Take the panoramic lift which runs up and down the outside of the building! Step onto View Deck 1 where on a clear day you can see for 23 miles or more. Dare to crossthe glass floor, the largest in Europe. On View Deck 2 watch history unfold on the Time Telescopes, where you can catch H.M.S. Victory sailing by. Go higher still and feel the wind in your hair on the ‘Crow’s Nest.’

6. The D-Day Museum
The D-Day Museum was opened in 1984 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. Its centrepiece is the magnificent Overlord Embroidery commissioned as a tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of the men and women who took part. It measures 272 feet and is the largest work of its kind in the world. An accompanying multi-language commentary brings the events to life. The Museum’s unique and dramatic film show includes original historic footage and archive film of the landings.

7. The Royal Marines Museum
The regiment now known as the Royal Marines was first formed in 1664, with the term Marines first used in 1672 after the battle of Solebay, the first naval battle of the third Anglo-Dutch War. Over the centuries, the marines evolved and to deal with the international demands placed on them by exploration, war and the Empire. The history of the regiment and its place within British history to the present day is explored here using original uniforms, weaponry, life sized models and displays.

8. Southsea Castle and Museum
Built in 1544, Southsea Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England’s coasts to protect the country from invaders. Today visitors can tour the castle and museum. Be guided by the Ghost of the Master Gunner around the tunnels and chambers, taking you through centuries of history from King Hnery VIII flying into a rage due to delays in the building schedule, the sinking of the Mary Rose, the English Civil War and a gunpowder explosion in 1759.

9. Portchester Castle
Portchester Castles commanding location made it an important part of the Solents defences for hundreds of years. It was originally built in the late 3rd century and is the only Roman stronghold in northern Europe whose walls still stand to their full height. An exhibition interprets the history of the castle and Portchester village, and displays finds excavated on site. The inclusive audio tour explains life in the castle over the centuries from the point of view of people who worked or were incarcerated there.

10. Dark Encounters Ghost Walks
Quoted as some of the best walks in the country these costumed historical walks mix fascinating facts about the city of Portsmouth with some of the more gruesome and scary tales through the use of actors and audience participation. Costumed historical characters will stun you with fascinating facts and terrifying tales. Interested in trying a paranormal investigation? Seen Most Haunted and would like to try it yourself? Then spend the night tracking activity with a team of supernatural investigators and mediums.

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