Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on March 6th, 2015

Portsmouth Harbour and the Mary Rose

I do enjoy an educational day out with the children and our half term visit to Portsmouth fitted the bill perfectly. It was a freezing cold and slightly drizzly day but it didn’t matter as there were plenty of opportunities to nip inside between the outdoor explorations.


The Mary Rose & HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard


We headed straight for the Mary Rose Museum at opening time before it became too crowded. The history is incredible. To think this boat sank in 1545 and didn’t come out of the water until 1982!


The Mary Rose from Sinking in 1545 to lifting out of the water in 1982

You can walk the length of the boat and see the old drying timbers through the glass.


The Mary Rose Ship Timbers


There are plenty of staff in costume to answer your questions as you go, of which we had many!

Old weapons, implements and such like had been preserved or recreated to fill in the learning gaps. Written, audio or interactive computer pads supplemented staff in costume so everyone could learn in their favourite way.


Learning in different ways at the Mary Rose Museum Portsmouth


Watching the old medical procedures made my skin crawl, never again will I complain about an injection at the dentist! However the highlight for my kids was learning how to fire a cannon. They sat transfixed until they had the chance to lead the cannon loading process themselves.


Learning to fire a cannon


Filled with awe and wonder at the lives they must have led we leaded for the outdoor picnic benches all thoughtfully set up in a spacious square with sails overhead to protect you from the elements.

A few well positioned statues provided interest and climbing potential for my younger children while we refueled.


Picnic lunch at the Royal historic dockyard in Portsmouth

The rain was holding off so we queued for the harbour tour, treating the hovering swan and seagulls to the remains of our sandwiches whilst we waited.


Feeding Swans and Seagulls at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard

A helpful commentary complimented the tour with information on the ships we were passing, the work being done to them and battles they had fought. I must say this was the perfect way to take in the modern working harbour and the kids spent every minute hanging over the railings to see everything. I was quite glad of the captain coming round to ask them not to climb up the edges after they had ignored me saying the same!  


Harbour Tour on the Portsmouth Ferry

In the Mary Rose Museum you can’t actually step aboard the ship as the timbers are so frail, however the same is not the case for The Victory. There was no queue so we walked straight on board.

On deck there were staff to answer our questions once again and the children love to touch and feel everything as they go, somehow I think this completes the learning for them.

HMS Victory on deck

Heading below deck my teens really had to duck, sailors were shorter in the 1800s! Nelson and his officers ate and slept in relative Luxury, however the conditions for the crew had deteriorated compared to when the Mary Rose was at sea and men as young as 12 were press ganged into working on the ship and enduring the harsh conditions. The daily nine pints of beer allocated per man was clearly needed to dull the senses to the life they were leading all cramped together to work eat and sleep with eight men to a station no bigger than a dining room table. Down in the base of the ship the barrels of beer and supplies were kept along with the rats running between!


Below Deck on the Victory at Portsmouth Naval dockyard.

Back up on deck Nick couldn’t resist enacting Nelson’s dying moment for the kids!


Farmer Nick where Nelson Fell


We checked out the modern day Navy Rooms on our way out, having fun with the costumes, machinery and comparing the living quarters which Theo decided were still not big enough for him!


 Dressing up in Navy Uniform


Even the walk back to the car took us passed more statues and cannons. Our tickets are valid for a year and I hope we manage to return as we still didn’t see everything and missed out The Warrior which I’m sure holds more secrets of our war time history. I really recommend a visit, and do book online from their website where you can save 25% on the booking costs.





I received a free journalist pass but paid in full for my family.


Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been out and about whether it be spotting signs of spring in the countryside or playing in the park or a day trip like ours please come and join the linky. All I ask is that your post includes outdoor fun with the family. Fresh air, time away from screens and sofas combined with quality family time is good for the kids and good for us too, Country Kids is all about promoting this time together in the outdoors. Please grab the badge code and check out some posts from others too when linking up.

Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me:

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

A few of my favourites from last week:

My Travel Monkey paid a visit to Sir Winston Churchill's home and explored all the grounds. 

Twinlakes park in Melton Mowbray provided Kids Days Out Reviews with some great outdoor fun.

Creative STAR found an awesome play park in Australia filled with something for everyone.

After recovering from chickenpox Bug Bird and Bee went for a family walk along the River Avon.

Chelsea Mamma and Renovation Bay-Bee have been out on family walks too although theirs took them on some seaside fun. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall