Day 8: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard & Portchester Castle

Saturday 13th Main Points:

  • Good night’s sleep at the Marriott in Porthsmouth and a full breakfast;
  • Visited Historic Dockyards including HMS Victory, Mary Rose, and HMS¬†Warrior.
  • Enjoyed a walk around Portchester Castle.

Firstly: The roads in the UK are crazy. Roundabouts make no sense,¬†sometimes there are no lanes. some of them have traffic lights. The locals think we’re crazy for driving around ad accidents are common.

We enjoyed a good full breakfast in the hotel before driving the dockyard. We arrived a little after 10 and went went straight to the Victory. It was an amazing experience walking around on the decks of such an old and important ship. The audio guide was fantastic and went into just the right amount of detail explaining life on board and what happened during the battle of Trafalgar. Again, it was incredible to see where Lord Nelson was shot and later died below deck.

The Mary Rose museum was very well planned and laid-out. It reminded me strongly of the Shipwreck museum in Fremantle and the wreck of the Batavia, only on a much larger scale. The May Rose predates the Batavia by 118 years.

Just as interesting was HMS Warrior, the UK’s first ironclad war ship. It was 100 years newer than the Victory (1760) and had both modern and ancient features. Between the three ships it was very interesting to see the changes in naval technology from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Having had a big breakfast we only had hot chips between us for lunch. We left the Museum by mid afternoon and drove to Portchester castle to check it out.

The attendants at the castle were very helpful and explained the usual layout on roundabouts… an explanation I needed for reasons I wont go into. We were told that the walls around the castle are Roman and the only surviving fortifications this side of the Alps that had all four sides intact. The Normans then built the castle’s keep with additions added throughout the middle ages. I found that it really reminded me of Port Arthur in Tasmania (and similarly, the historic harbour reminded me of Fremantle!) The park was quite popular with the locals and many were outside enjoying the grounds and the sun.

Total steps today: 10,859.