- Situated in the Historic Dockyard of Portsmouth, The Mary Rose is an award-winning museum dedicated to King Henry VIII's favourite battleship.
- Hundreds tragically died when The Mary Rose ship sank in 1545 during a battle against the French, and the epic Tudor vessel wasn't raised from the seabed until 1982.
- It now lies in Portsmouth Dockyard at The Mary Rose museum, alongside thousands of artefacts recovered from the infamous shipwreck.
- The Mary Rose museum offers plenty for families to explore and enjoy amongst the relics including stunning light shows, interactive exhibits, dress-up boxes, discovery trails and a chance to meet King Henry VIII himself.
Set amidst the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and voted Portsmouth's Top Visitor Attraction, The Mary Rose museum lets visitors discover and explore King Henry VIII's 500-year-old flagship. After serving the Tudor navy for 34 years, The Mary Rose sank in battle in 1545 and wasn't uncovered from the ocean floor for over four centuries. Along with the magnificent boat itself, The Mary Rose Trust recovered over 19,000 objects from the sunken ship which are now displayed, conserved and researched into from this leading maritime museum.
Henry VIII's warship was built from 1510 - 1511 and became known as the King's most prized vessel, assisting the English Tudor navy in one conflict with Scotland and two wars against France. However, whilst protecting the English coast and Isle of Wight from French invasion, The Mary Rose sunk in battle in 1545 taking its crew of 500 people down with it, with only 35 survivors remaining. More than 400 years later, the ship was famously recovered in 1982 from the Solent seabed between England and the Isle of Wight, in an extensive salvage operation that was witnessed live on television by 60 million people around the world. This groundbreaking operation is what has made The Mary Rose so well-known and celebrated today.
Although half of The Mary Rose's monumental form has been lost due to erosion, the remaining structure now lies within its own dedicated museum in Portsmouth. The ship's conservation project took years of hard work and, for nearly three decades after it was raised from the seabed, The Mary Rose had to be continuously sprayed with recycled water to prevent any further damage to its form. Today, although you are unable to step onto the ship's remains themselves, The Mary Rose Museum has created ingenious ways for the public to witness and experience this historic boat and what life would have been like on board in the 1500's.
Visitors to Portsmouth's Mary Rose Museum can view the epic shipwreck and journey through thousands of recovered artefacts in their state-of-the-art exhibition spaces. Discover Tudor kitchenware, instruments, accessories and many more fascinating relics as well as the shudder-worthy tools of the surgeon's table that were taken on board. Be sure not to miss the most famous member of The Mary Rose crew, Hatch the dog, whose skeleton was recovered from the ship's cabins! This leading Portsmouth museum really lets visitors step back in time to Tudor England and life at sea with their mesmerising light shows, which simulate scenes of war and peace onboard the 500-year-old vessel. Children will love the interactive exhibits, replica musical songs and immersive dress-up areas that let you experience Tudor marine life and even get involved in the battles yourself with their thrilling touchscreen games. There's tons of family fun to look out for at The Mary Rose throughout the year including archery sessions, meet and greets with King Henry VIII and the Shipwreck Explorer adventures, where the Mary Rose team have drawn up maps, clues and interactive trails for little explorers to embark upon. Mary Rose also encourages you to continue the fun at home with a huge range of arts and crafts projects to get stuck into via their website.
As well as providing a fascinating look into the history of this famous Tudor flagship, The Mary Rose also offers families a captivating and immersive day out that will transport children and adults alike back to the 1500's. For even more historical days out in Hampshire, why not visit the bygone architecture of Mottisfont house and gardens or bring things back to the 21st century at Paultons Park beloved Peppa Pig World?
What to know before you go
- The Mary Rose museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm.
- You will have to pass through the main Portsmouth Historic Dockyard gates and complete a bag search procedure before you enter.
- The Mary Rose aims to be entirely accessible for all its visitors. The museum is fully accessible by wheelchair with level access, lifts throughout, an accessible toilet on-site including adult changing facilities and wheelchairs available for guests to use.
- A buggy service is available for those unable to walk through the dockyard site to the museum.
- Hands-on experiences are on offer for visitors with learning difficulties.
- Audio loop systems are in place within the exhibition spaces as well as transcripts and subtitled audio content.
- Information guides are available in large print formats for visually impaired visitors, and there are sensory resources in many of the exhibits.
- Assistance and guide dogs are warmly welcomed within The Mary Rose.
- There are on-site toilets and baby changing facilities, and café staff are happy to warm baby bottles for feeding.
- The Mary Rose has a great on-site gift shop offering books, gifts, replica models, jewellery, toys and activity packs.
- For on-site refreshment, The Mary Rose café has a wide range of soups, sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks. Everything is prepared on-site using largely local produce. Further down the harbour, you can also find family restaurant Boathouse 7, rustic pub the Ship Anson and multiple traditional fish and chip shops.
- Visitor guides are available in a variety of languages including Bengali, Polish, French, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and German,
- Audio tour guides can be downloaded from their website in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Mandarin and Japanese.
- Family tickets, combined attraction tickets and long term tickets are all available for the Dockyard attractions.
- Please note that flash photography is not permitted within the museum.
- Please be aware that The Mary Rose museum maintains low light levels, but these are adjusted during their Relaxed Openings for visitors who might find this problematic.
- Some projection attractions feature noise and visual stimulation.
- The Mary Rose museum offers plenty of family events throughout the year such as archery classes, meet and greet with Henry VIII and interactive Shipwreck Explorer trails.
- The Mary Rose Portsmouth is located on the Main Road just 400m from the Historic Dockyard entrance.
- If you are travelling by car, The Mary Rose is off of junction 12 of the M27 and parking can be found at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard car park. Accessible parking spots are available here.
- You can also find parking at Portsmouth Cascades car park or use the Park and Ride service from the M27.
- Portsmouth Harbour Train Station is the closest station to The Mary Rose museum, which is just a few minutes' walk to the dockyard. There is a direct service to London Waterloo which takes approximately 90 minutes.
- National coach services and local bus routes including the numbers 21, 030, 203 and M34 stop nearby at The Hard Interchange Bus Station, just a two-minute walk from The Mary Rose.
- You could also take a ferry to The Mary Rose via Portsmouth Harbour, which services the Isle of Wight catamaran and Gosport ferry.