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

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.
Story time sessions at Fort Nelson

Themed Story time sessions at Fort Nelson

  • 20 November 2019 11-11:45am
  • 18 December 2019 11-11:45am

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 an engaging story and a mixture of toys designed to provide hands on fun for young children.
Café 1871 is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm (November – March) and 10 am – 5 pm (April – October) for light bites, drinks and food warming. Baby change facilities are available on site.
Sessions start at 11 am on the third Wednesday of every month. Free, no need to book, just come along and join in the fun.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

FREE

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/event/story-time/

Fort Talk: Special Operations Executive

Fort Talk: Special Operations Executive, Sabotage and subversion

  • 20 November 2019 7:30-9pm

During the evening, Dr Vigurs will provide a unique insight in to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) with a focus on the extraordinary women who served in the French section (SOE F). During the Second World War, the SOE operated behind enemy lines and was instrumental in communicating intelligence and coordinating resistance networks to allies.

Ranging from housewives to grandmothers, shop assistants to princesses, only thirty nine women completed the rigorous SOE training programme. They were taught silent killing skills, instinctive shooting methods, sabotage techniques
as well as survival tactics for life in Nazi-occupied France. Dr Vigurs will explore how SOE F women infiltrated behind enemy lines to work as couriers and wireless operators, operating undercover and far beyond the protection of the Geneva Convention. Their life expectancy was short, sometimes a mere six weeks, but these women worked hard and fought hard, often living in solitude with no support, travelling hundreds of kilometres carrying vital yet incriminating information, and risking everything to make contact with SOE Headquarters over the radio waves.

Drawing on archived material and interviews Dr Vigurs will share her exclusive findings, illustrating the operational lives of several brave agents and their roles in the SOE, their suitability for such intricate and secretive work and in some cases, detailing their fate at the hands of the enemy.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17

Admission

£5 per person which includes refreshments

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/event/women-of-the-soe-sabotage-and-subversion

Storytime at Fort Nelson

Free Storytime Sessions in the galleries

  • 20 November 2019 11am-12pm

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 an engaging story and a mixture of toys designed to provide hands on fun for young children.

Café 1871 is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm (November – March) and 10 am – 5 pm (April – October) for light bites, drinks and food warming. Baby change facilities are available on site.

Sessions start at 11 am on the third Wednesday of every month. Free, no need to book, just come along and join in the fun.

Dates for your diary:
Wednesday 20 November: Animals
Wednesday 18 December: Christmas / Animals

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

Free admission, parking £3.

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/event/story-time/

Marine Salvage Project

Conserving the guns of HMS London: Marine Salvage talks

  • 8 December 2019 12-12:45pm

On the second Sunday of selected months, 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 to participate

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission

Shoreham Fort

Fort Talk: The History of Shoreham Fort

  • 11 December 2019 7:30-9pm

During the past two centuries only two of the many small forts and gun batteries built in Southern England remain, Littlehampton Fort, completed in 1854, and Shoreham Fort, completed in 1857. Gary will discuss the design flaws identified in building these forts and how they were revised before construction of the Palmerston follies commenced. Gary will discuss the progression from the prototype fortifications at Shoreham and Littlehampton to the building of the Palmerston fortifications, including Fort Nelson. Shoreham Fort was part of Lord Palmerston’s defences against a possible invasion by Emperor Napoleon III of France and has a unique and diverse history which includes links to the Charge of the Light Brigade, artillery trains and silent film making.

Since 2009 Shoreham Fort has been subject to a restoration programme run by the Friends of Shoreham Fort, a registered charity run entirely by volunteers.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£5 per person which includes refreshments

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/event/shoreham-fort-a-history/

Storytime at Fort Nelson

Free Storytime Sessions in the galleries

  • 18 December 2019 11am-12pm

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 an engaging story and a mixture of toys designed to provide hands on fun for young children.

Café 1871 is open daily from 10 am – 4 pm (November – March) and 10 am – 5 pm (April – October) for light bites, drinks and food warming. Baby change facilities are available on site.

Sessions start at 11 am on the third Wednesday of every month. Free, no need to book, just come along and join in the fun.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Admission

Free admission, parking £3.

Victorian Christmas

Victorian Christmas at Fort Nelson

  • 21 — 23 December 2019
  • 27 — 31 December 2019

Step back in time to meet head cook Private 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 Private Dobson’s famous mince pies, still warm from the range.

Sessions: 11am, 12 noon, 2 pm and 3 pm
£2.50 per person (includes mince pie and mulled wine prepared in Private Dobson’s kitchen. Under 5’s FREE, includes a mince pie and soft drink).

Tickets are available in advance from Fort Nelson’s Visitor Centre or can be purchased on the day, subject to availability. Numbers are limited to 20 visitors per session. Each session will last approximately 45 minutes.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£2.50 per person (includes mince pie and mulled wine prepared in Private Dobson’s kitchen. Under 5’s FREE, includes a mince pie and soft drink).

Website

https://royalarmouries.org/whats-on/?where=FortNelson#filters

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

logo: Museums at Night

Website

Website

http://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