Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a Navy base on the south coast of the UK which is part active base, part historic museum.
Luckily, the dockyard ticket gives you entry for a whole year so we can go back and see the things we missed!
I'd guess that if you didn't spend too much time at each attraction and you had a strict timed plan you could maybe cover everything off in a single visit but... If you can spread it out over two, I would. Otherwise, mark out exactly what you want to see and prioritise it leaving the rest as optional.
HMS Warrior is a steam-powered, metal, frigate (otherwise known as an Ironclad) built in the mid-1800s. You can explore her decks and get a taste for what life was life in the Royal Navy during the late Georgian - Victorian era!
Warrior has been beautifully restored and there's a cafe in the ships galley kitchen. You can even rent her for events such as weddings!
Be warned though, the stairs between decks are insanely steep and it can be a little nerve-wracking making your way around!
After Warrior, we meandered into the Horrible Histories: Pirates event and while we enjoyed reading about various pirates and their gruesome histories the event as a whole was a little underwhelming with not a whole lot to do considering the hype.
M33 is famous for being the only Monitor class gunboat to never have a casualty - despite taking direct hits - and became known as a lucky boat. She saw action in the first world war campaign at Gallipoli and was later repurposed to various fleet support roles before being retired, sold, and making her way to a drydock in the historic dockyard.
M33 is a relatively small boat and she's a bit of a battered husk, to be honest. She hasn't been restored to immaculate conditions and it makes her a little more special in my eyes.
In the lower decks, they have a 5 minute video projecting onto the walls telling you the history of M33 and the first world war and it's sobering. The little dude was able to handle it - he's quite mature and not a sensitive or easily upset kid - but I don't think I'd have been happy with him watching it when he was younger so parents may want to hustle through that particular part of the exhibit or limit themselves to the upper decks which are laid out as they would have been 'back in the day'.
HMS Victory was Admiral Nelson's flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar. She was been painstakingly restored and you can take a walk through each deck of this stunning ship of the line and lose yourself imagining what it must have been like packed with hundreds of men living on board and with the thunder of cannon during battle.
The little dude was absolutely entranced by the legend of Nelson so was particularly excited as he walked through this famous ship.
Like Warrior, climbing between decks on Victory isn't an easy task with the crazy steep steps so you need to be super careful and definitely leave anything but flat, sturdy, shoes behind!
After the museum, we were ready for lunch and as we hadn't brought any food with us we eat in the Boathouse Cafe. The food was lovely - we had sourdough stone-baked pizzas and cake - but it was a bit pricey for what you got... Once we'd eaten, it was around 15:30, we had no chance of getting across the river to the submarine museum and explosion museum and we also weren't fitting in the Museum of Naval Fire Power so we took ourselves off to the Action Stations where the little dude learned a bit about the Royal Marines, had a go at the climbing wall, flew a Merlin helicopter simulator, and played various games and challenges.
We'll definitely be visiting the dockyard again before the end of summer break to finish off the activities we never got around to! We particularly want to go climbing around the WWII submarine in the Submarine Museum.
Tickets to the dockyard are quite pricey but they're worth it, especially when you can go as many times as you like over a year. There are plenty of places to eat, bathrooms are clean and tidy, the car park is right next to the attraction (and isn't horribly priced for a city car park) and all in all it's a good day out packed full of history and adventure.