Celebration of STEAM - the Portsmouth way!

For those who don't already know, Portsmouth is home to the very Historic Dockyards that house the famous HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and what remains of Henry VIII's beloved Mary Rose. Once a year the everyday activities at the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth come to a grounding halt as the staff and visitors clamber around for the 'Celebration of STEAM'. Just for this weekend the dockyards are filled with what can only be described as a historic fair. Trevor the Traction Engine can be spotted along with many other steam driven machines from a long gone era. Along the promenade you will find steam wagons, miniature steam rides, saw bench displays, model boat and railway exhibitions, fairground attractions and, of course, over priced food.

It cost us all of £36 in total to get in...this is cheaper than usual and includes all the regular attractions + the extra celebratory displays...great value!

The boys were excited to finally get on board the historic vessels. They got to lay in hammocks on board the HMS Warrior (1860), while a gentleman dressed like the fat cotroller from Thomas the Tank Engine gave us some fascinating insight into the lives of those whose homes were these amazing ships for such long periods at a time. It was then on to the museum for the Mary Rose followed by a walk through the building that houses what is left of what must have been a glorious ship in her days. Half of the ship remains, enclosed in a huge glass room with fluid spraying all around to keep her moist and treated with special chemicals. After today the display will be closed off to the public for 3 years as they build the new display for her.

Next it was on the walk the floors of the HMS Victory (built in 1759), ship of Admiral Lord Nelson. Much like the Warrior this ship has been fully restored to her former glory and is quite a sight to behold. We walked all levels of the ship and even spied the area where the late Nelson died. Lord Nelson was shot in the shoulder during battle and taken back on board the HMS Victory before being redirected back to Portsmouth, where he died onboard.

A miniature battle between various old battle ships (such as those on display at the dockyards) was played out in one of the waterways in the dockyards for all to see....complete with miniature firing canons. It looked like a real battle...big bangs, flames, loads of smoke...the whole lot....complete with the wonderful sulphur induced aroma that fills the air during fireworks displays or after you blow out a match...a great atmosphere for all!

Finally, Matt, Zane and Darian unwound with a little indoor rock climbing in the dockyard's Action Station Area....what a little Spider Monkey Matt is! Over all, a truly momentous day!


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