Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson

Aerial view of Fort Nelson from the south
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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)
10 am – 5 pm
Last admission 4pm

Winter (Nov-Mar)
10 am – 4 pm
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

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Poppies: Wave

Poppies: Wave

  • 13 April — 24 June 2018

14-18 NOW is presenting the iconic poppy structures Wave and Weeping Window at selected locations around the UK until 2018.

Royal Armouries will be hosting Poppies: Wave at Fort Nelson next spring.
Poppies: Wave is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces, originally at HM Tower of London 2014.

The installation at Fort Nelson will be open to the public from Friday 13 April until Sunday 24 June 2018. Admission will be free.

Poppies: Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks. This sculpture, and Weeping Window, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper were initially conceived as the key dramatic sculptural elements in the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London in the summer and autumn of 2014. Over the course of their time at the Tower, the two sculptures were gradually surrounded by a vast field of ceramic poppies, each one planted by a volunteer in memory of every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. In their original setting they captured the public imagination and were visited by over five million people.

#PoppiesTour

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2018-04-13/poppies-wave

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.
32 pounder

32-pounder smooth bore breech loading gun fired at Fort Nelson

  • 26 November 2017 10am-4pm

Visitors will be guided through the dimly lit underground main tunnel to the North Caponier to experience the ground shake as the immense power of the 32-pounder gun is released in an explosion of sound and smoke by uniformed detachment Portsdown Artillery Volunteers. Firings will take place at 11am, 11:30 am, 2 pm, 2:30 pm, 3 pm and 3:30 pm in addition to the daily 1 pm firing of the 25-pounder Howitzer on the parade.

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.

As well as daily 1 pm gun firings, the Royal Armouries’ museum at Fort Nelson offers a great day out for all the family. Standing high on Portsdown Hill (Fareham), the Victorian fort is home to one of the largest collections of artillery in the UK. There is so much to see and explore including the ramparts, parade, tunnels and Cafe 1871. The Fort is open from 10 am –4 pm daily (November to March) and admission is free.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/overview/sunday-gun-firings-2017

Fort Talks

Fort Talk 3: The Development of Artillery: 'Medieval Bombard to Iraqi Supergun’

  • 6 December 2017 7-9pm

Royal Armouries museum at Fort Nelson will host the third in a series of after-hours talks on Wednesday 6 December with guest speaker Nicholas Hall, Curator Emeritus of Artillery.

Nicholas will talk about the changing technology of gunpowder artillery down the centuries, illustrated by examples from the world-class collection of the Royal Armouries. The role of artillery in great world events will be discussed, from the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Using the remarkable artillery collection of the Royal Armouries, Nicholas will make connections between major technological advances in artillery with some of the great events in world history starting with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Date: Wednesday 6 December 2017
Time: 7 pm – 9 pm
Tickets: £5 per person and includes refreshments

Tickets are available in advance from the Royal Armouries website: https://royalarmouries.org/events/overview/fort-talks

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Tickets cost £5 per person and include refreshments.

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/overview/fort-talks

Marine Salvage Project

The Marine Salvage Project Monthly Conservation talks

  • 10 December 2017 12-12:30pm

On the second Sunday of each month, visitors are invited to join our Conservator Matthew Hancock behind-the-scenes for a free 30 minute talk, as he discusses one of the major conservation projects currently being carried out at Fort Nelson, The Marine Salvage Project. The 17th century project focuses on three guns recovered from the sea, including two from the wreck of the HMS London, all of which require technical conservation treatments. The gun recovered from Goodwin Sands is especially interesting as it is manufactured from four different metals.
Talk, 12 noon, FREE

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free talk

Storytime

Storytime: Exciting England

  • 20 December 2017 11am-12pm

All ages are welcome at Fort Nelson, so why not join us, every third Wednesday of the month, with under 5s for our free Storytime session in the galleries featuring popular children’s tales.
With a different theme each month, children are invited to gather around for a fun and interactive storytelling experience where they can look, listen, play and have fun with props.
Each session lasts approximately 40 minutes and includes two engaging stories and a mixture of toys designed to provide hands on fun for young children.
Café 1871 is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm for light bites and drinks and food warming and baby change facilities are available on site.
Sessions start at 11am on the third Wednesday of every month. Free, no need to book, just drop in.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

Free admission and parking

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/events-at-fort-nelson

Victorian Christmas

Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson

  • 20 — 23 December 2017

Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 December

Experience the Victorian garrison kitchen at Christmas

Fort Nelson invites you to experience a traditional Victorian garrison Christmas, including tours of the Redan and Officer’s Mess, areas of the Fort not normally open to the public.
Step back in time to meet Head Cook Sergeant Dobson as he prepares dishes for the festive feast for the garrison and civilian inhabitants of the Fort.
The barrack room will be festively decorated with oranges, cloves and greenery, the original range will be lit and the delicious smell of freshly baked mince pies will fill the air.
In the Officers’ Mess visitors will be able to compare the Christmas fare served to the ordinary soldiers and that reserved for the officers, giving an interesting in-sight into life in a Victorian garrison. Your guide will also describe what life and conditions would have been like in this cold, hilltop fort at mid-winter.
As part of the experience, warm mulled wine or non-alcoholic punch will be served as well as one of Sergeant Dobson’s famous mince pies, still warm from the range.
Sessions: 11am, 12 noon, 2 pm and 3 pm
£2.50 per adult / Children free (under 16 years)
Each session will last approximately 45 minutes.
Tickets can be pre-booked in advance via telephone (01329 233 734) or in person from Fort Nelson’s Visitor Centre or paid for on the day, subject to availability.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2.50 per adult / Children free (under 16 years).

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/calendar/2017-12-20/christmas-at-the-fort

Marine Salvage Project

The Marine Salvage Project Monthly Conservation talks

  • 14 January 2018 12-12:30pm

On the second Sunday of each month, visitors are invited to join our Conservator Matthew Hancock behind-the-scenes for a free 30 minute talk, as he discusses one of the major conservation projects currently being carried out at Fort Nelson, The Marine Salvage Project. The 17th century project focuses on three guns recovered from the sea, including two from the wreck of the HMS London, all of which require technical conservation treatments. The gun recovered from Goodwin Sands is especially interesting as it is manufactured from four different metals.
Talk, 12 noon, FREE

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free talk

Storytime

Storytime: Incredible Italy

  • 17 January 2018 11am-12pm

All ages are welcome at Fort Nelson, so why not join us, every third Wednesday of the month, with under 5s for our free Storytime session in the galleries featuring popular children’s tales.
With a different theme each month, children are invited to gather around for a fun and interactive storytelling experience where they can look, listen, play and have fun with props.
Each session lasts approximately 40 minutes and includes two engaging stories and a mixture of toys designed to provide hands on fun for young children.
Café 1871 is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm for light bites and drinks and food warming and baby change facilities are available on site.
Sessions start at 11am on the third Wednesday of every month. Free, no need to book, just drop in.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

Free admission and parking

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/events-at-fort-nelson

Marine Salvage Project

The Marine Salvage Project Monthly Conservation talks

  • 11 February 2018 12-12:30pm

On the second Sunday of each month, visitors are invited to join our Conservator Matthew Hancock behind-the-scenes for a free 30 minute talk, as he discusses one of the major conservation projects currently being carried out at Fort Nelson, The Marine Salvage Project. The 17th century project focuses on three guns recovered from the sea, including two from the wreck of the HMS London, all of which require technical conservation treatments. The gun recovered from Goodwin Sands is especially interesting as it is manufactured from four different metals.
Talk, 12 noon, FREE

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free talk

Storytime

Storytime: Amazing Amsterdam

  • 21 February 2018 11am-12pm

All ages are welcome at Fort Nelson, so why not join us, every third Wednesday of the month, with under 5s for our free Storytime session in the galleries featuring popular children’s tales.
With a different theme each month, children are invited to gather around for a fun and interactive storytelling experience where they can look, listen, play and have fun with props.
Each session lasts approximately 40 minutes and includes two engaging stories and a mixture of toys designed to provide hands on fun for young children.
Café 1871 is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm for light bites and drinks and food warming and baby change facilities are available on site.
Sessions start at 11am on the third Wednesday of every month. Free, no need to book, just drop in.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

Free admission and parking

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/events/events-at-fort-nelson

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.
advertisement