Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson

Aerial view of Fort Nelson from the south
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This imposing Victorian fort is home to the Royal Armouries national collection of artillery – The Big Guns.

Although a cliché, the phrase ‘must see’ truly applies to Fort Nelson’s astonishing collection of different artillery and guns from different time periods. Over 700 items of artillery from many countries and spanning 600 years are brought to life whilst sensitively telling the unique stories behind them.

Strategically positioned atop Portsdown Hill, with panoramic views across the Meon Valley and Portsmouth Harbour, Fort Nelson is an historic monument, restored to how it would have been in the 1890s. Visitors can access most areas of the fortifications and see how the Fort would have operated.

Daily gun firing every day at 1pm.

Admission and parking are free – offering a great day out for all the family during the school holidays, and all year round.

Venue Type:

Museum, Heritage site, Castle or defences

Opening hours

Open daily

Summer (Apr-Oct)
10am – 5pm
Last admission 4pm

Winter (Nov-Mar)
10.30am – 4pm
Last admission 3pm

Closed 24, 25 and 26 December

Admission charges

Free entry. A small charge may apply for special events and some activities.

Additional info

Our library is open for research purposes by appointment only.

Fort Nelson also houses the world-renowned Royal Armouries collection of historic big guns and cannon, part of the National Museum of Arms and Armour. See the infamous Iraqi Supergun and its ancestor the Great Turkish Bombard of 1464. From the smallest cannon to the giants of the age of the battleship, visitors can see them all at Fort Nelson

Collection details

Archaeology, Architecture, Decorative and Applied Art, Social History, Weapons and War

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Artillery on Parade

ARTILLERY ON PARADE 2017

  • 22 — 23 July 2017 11:30am-4:30pm *on now

An action-packed weekend featuring firings of artillery from the First and Second World Wars, plus a live-action re-enactment of an air-attack by a Messerschmitt. Throughout the day demonstrations and re-enactments will show how Fort Nelson played its part in the defence of Portsmouth during wartime. See programme below.A great day out for all the family with lots of activities for the children.

Programme Highlights

• Messerschmitt air-attack, based on an actual raid on Portsmouth on 10 March 1941
• Air-raid re-enactment, featuring searchlights, air-raid sirens and 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns
• Live firings of big guns on the ramparts by Portsdown Artillery Volunteers.
• Horse-drawn First World War 18-pounders in action around The Parade
• Military vehicles, fire engines and ambulances
• The Women’s Voluntary Service and Women’s Land Army
• Static firings of the First World War 18-pounders
• Junior Assault Course
• Monster Hunt museum trail & stickers
• Face Painting
• BBQ & Refreshments

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW – 20% EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT UNTIL 30 JUNE

Tickets can be pre-booked in advance from the Royal Armouries website: https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2017-07-22/artillery-on-parade,
the Fort Nelson Visitor Centre and via telephone: 01329 233 734

The museum’s indoor galleries will be open from 10am – 5pm and admission is free as usual. Access to the Parade Ground and outdoor exhibits including the Artillery Hall will be by event ticket only.

Royal Armouries reserves the right to change the programme without prior notification. The flight of the Messerschmitt will be dependent upon operational conditions on the day.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW – 20% EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT UNTIL 30 JUNE

Tickets can be pre-booked in advance from the Royal Armouries website: https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2017-07-22/artillery-on-parade,
the Fort Nelson Visitor Centre and via telephone: 01329 233 734

Adults: £9 / Child: £6 / Family £25

Fun at the Fort

Fun at the Fort - Junior Assault Course

  • 24 July — 3 September 2017

The Royal Armouries will present lots of activities to keep the family entertained at Fort Nelson over the summer holidays. Visitors will have the chance to find out about our amazing collections through ‘Who do you think we are’ which will bring handling collections from the Royal Armouries museum at Leeds to Fort Nelson. There will also be an opportunity to test skills on the junior assault course, witness the daily gun firings and participate in guided tours of the 19-acre site.

Junior assault course

Monday 24 July – Sunday 3 September
Kids will get lots of fresh air and fun on the outdoor adventure course. No need to book, just drop in. Pay once and stay and play all day for £3.50 per child.
• Time: 10 am – 4 pm daily
• Suitable for 3-12 years.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 7-10
  • 5-6
  • 11-13

Admission

£3.50 per child

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2017-08-01/fun-at-the-fort

Passchendaele

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele

  • 29 — 30 July 2017 10am-5pm

Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson marks 100 years since the start of the battle of Passchendaele with themed gun firings on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July 2017.

To commemorate the battle, uniformed detachments from Ubique Right of the Line will fire the 18-pounder on the parade at 11:30 am, 2 pm and 3 pm. This is in addition to the usual 1 pm daily firing of the 25-pounder Howitzer.

There will be an opportunity for visitors to inspect the guns following the firings and the uniformed detachments will be available to answer questions about the guns.
Visitors can get up close with history in our free First World War themed insight sessions.

Insight 1: Explore Artillery from the First World War

Explore the galleries with one of our guides and learn about the history of artillery used in the First World War.
Daily 12:30 pm, free to participate.

Insight 2: First World War Handling Session

Take a trip to the Voice of the Guns gallery where visitors will learn about life as a First World War Soldier. Visitors will have the opportunity to examine First World War items including grenades, caltrops and the Lee Enfield gun.
Daily 3:30 pm, free to participate.

Museum admission and parking at Fort Nelson are free.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission and parking

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/overview/commemorative-gun-firings

Who do you think we are

Who do you think we are?

  • 31 July — 3 September 2017

The Royal Armouries will present lots of activities to keep the family entertained at Fort Nelson over the summer holidays. Visitors will have the chance to find out about our amazing collections through ‘Who do you think we are’ which will bring handling collections from the Royal Armouries museum at Leeds to Fort Nelson. There will also be an opportunity to test skills on the junior assault course, witness the daily gun firings and participate in guided tours of the 19-acre site.

Who do you think we are?

Monday 31 July – Sunday 3 September

New for this year is the opportunity for visitors to get their hands on some of the amazing objects in the handling collection from the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds. Activities will focus on the five themed galleries in the Leeds Museum; Origins of the Royal Armouries – Monday, Hunting – Tuesday, Self-Defense - Wednesday, Tournament – Thursday, War – Friday, Treasures – Saturday and Sunday.
• Daily children’s sessions at: 11 am and 2 pm
• Daily adult’s sessions: 12 noon and 3 pm
• Free to participate

As well as the gun firings and assault course there are tunnels, ramparts and galleries to explore. Café 1871 is open daily, 10 am – 5 pm for tasty treats and refreshments, and the Kiosk on the parade serves a rage of delicious ice-creams.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission and parking

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2017-08-01/fun-at-the-fort

Artillery in Action

Artillery in Action

  • 1 — 31 August 2017

The Royal Armouries will present lots of activities to keep the family entertained at Fort Nelson over the summer holidays. Visitors will have the chance to find out about our amazing collections through ‘Who do you think we are’ which will bring handling collections from the Royal Armouries museum at Leeds to Fort Nelson. There will also be an opportunity to test skills on the junior assault course, witness the daily gun firings and participate in guided tours of the 19-acre site.

Artillery in Action

Tuesday 1 August – Thursday 31 August
Daily 1 pm artillery in action display. Live firing the replica ballista, the wrought iron breech loader gun, and the British 25-pounder Howitzer on the parade.
• Free to watch

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission and parking

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2017-08-01/fun-at-the-fort

Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson
Fort Nelson
Portsdown Hill Road
Fareham
Hampshire
PO17 6AN
England

logo: Museums at Night

Website

Website

www.armouries.org.uk

E-mail

General Enquiries

fnenquiries@armouries.org.uk

Telephone

01329 233734

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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