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The Mary Rose. Photo by Les Chatfield
The Mary Rose. Photo by Les Chatfield

The Mary Rose, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

The Mary Rose is part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is a massive site containing many interesting ships, museums and other attractions. When visiting there is the option to purchase either an all attraction ticket, or a single attraction ticket, both of which last for a year.More infoA single adult ticket for the Mary Rose costs £18, and children cost £13; but a ticket covering all of the attractions costs £32 and £23 respectively (there is a discount for buying online as well).

Built in 1510 and launched the following year, the Mary Rose was one of Henry VIII’s new warships, and the largest in the fleet. Designed purely for battle, she saw action during the next 30 years, but sank quickly during the Battle of the Solent in 1545. No definitive reason has ever been found. After several failed Tudor attempts to recover her, she was lost, then rediscovered in 1971 and raised in 1982. The remains of the Mary Rose are still undergoing preservation work, and the wreck, plus some 19,000 other items, are on display under controlled conditions in the museum.

Being a museum, this attraction is far more accessible than many of the other attractions at the Dockyard. It contains exhibits of the items found, arranged to tell the story of the ship’s crew and life in the Tudor navy. These include displays of the crew's skeletons, artists’ reconstructions of their faces, and commentary on them and the lives they must have lived. As such, it is a fascinating glimpse into Tudor society. There are interactive displays, films, computer applications, and some hands-on activities throughout the museum, providing entertainment for young and old alike. Staff are on hand for questions and demonstrations, and an attempt to pull back a Tudor bow is definitely recommended. Given the fragile nature of the wreck, the Mary Rose cannot be touched or walked upon, but must be viewed through a chain of windows along the museum. Personally, I feel this makes the ship more haunting and ‘real’, giving the whole experience more atmosphere than if visitors were just simply walking around another ship.

I struggle to find anything negative to say about the Museum. Perhaps it can get a bit too busy, but nothing in comparison with her neighbour, HMS Victory. Perhaps the biggest problem with the Mary Rose is that she will be closed until late summer 2016 for restoration work.

To find out more information about the Mary Rose, click here.

More Information
The Mary Rose, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The Mary Rose, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
9.6
out of 10

Importance

9/10

Information and collections

10/10

Child friendly/fun factor

9/10

Presentation

10/10

Value for money

10/10

Pros

  • +Fascinating displays which are accessible to all
  • +Helpful and well-informed staff
  • +Plenty of hands-on activities and interactive displays
  • +Great value for money with the all-attraction ticket
  • +Important for an understanding of naval warfare and Tudor England

Cons

  • -Can get a bit crowded during busier times
  • -Closed for restoration until late summer 2016
  • -Some younger or sensitive children might feel uncomfortable about the skeletons
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