Once upon a time the Britannia famously ruled the waves. Those days are gone but one can still see the enduring symbol of one of the Royal Navy's finest hours. The HMS Victory is the oldest naval ship still in commission (244 years and counting) and is open to the public.
HMS Victory remains a commissioned ship in the Royal Naval but is in fact a museum (much like the USS Constitution in the American Navy). In Washington state one can see the real-life HMS Interceptor from Pirates of the Caribbean, she is a replica of an early American ship and is open to the public.
History and Background of HMS Victory
HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line and was originally ordered in 1758 and launched in 1765. She saw many naval engagements but is best known for her leading role in the Battle of Trafalgar as Lord Nelson's flagship - a decisive victory that ended any lingering fears of a French Napoleonic invasion of Britain.
When she was being built was the same time as the Seven Years' War and the concurrent French and Indian wars in North America (where the British captured Quebec from the French). 1759 was a great year for the British who had won a string of victories (the year was known as Annus Mirabilis - or Wonderful Year). This is why they chose to name her Victory.
She fought in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War, and the Napoleonic Wars.
First Battle of Ushant: 1778 - Inconclusive, Fought Against The French During The America War of Independence
Second Battle of Ushant: 1781 - British Victory, Fought Against The French During The America War of Independence
Battle of Cape Spartel: 1782 - Inconclusive, Anglo-Spanish War
Battle of Cape St Vincent: 1797 - British Victory, Anglo-Spanish War
Battle of Trafalgar: 1805 - a Decisive British Victory
Oldest: HMS Victory Is The Oldest Naval Ship Still In CommissionShe was moved to a dry dock in 1922 and preserved as a museum. Since 2012 she has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord.
Around 6,000 trees were used in her construction of which around 90% were oak trees and the remainder were elm, pine, and fir.
Cost: £63,176 and 3 Shillings
Battles: She Fought In 6 Battles
Service: 34 Years of Active Service
Compliment: She Had a Crew of 821 Men
Visiting The HMS Victory
The HMS Victory is now open and visitors can tour the longest-serving ship in the world and the pride of the Royal Navy. She is located in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard and is open all year round.
Dual Role: Today She Has The Dual Role As The Flagship of the First Sea Lord and As a Living Museum
During the visit, one will see where the sailor and officers ate and slept and see what the Georgian era was like in its heyday.
Opening Times: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Address: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ
During the visit, one will see the spot where Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson fell with an engraved plaque marking the spot. If one is lucky, Captain Hardy may be in his cabin and can greet visitors with tales from his adventures at sea.
Visitors can now experience the new HMS Victory Under Hull Walkway that enables visitors to descend into the base of the dry dock and view the 3600-tonne ship from below.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Tickets
HMS Victory is part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard that has around 10 different attractions. Besides the HMS Victory, attractions include the Mary Rose Museum, the HMS Warrior 1860, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the HMS M. 33, Boathouse 4, harbor tours, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, and more.
There are three trips of tickets. These are:
One Attraction Ticket:
This ticket provides access to the Historic Dockyard site and access to any one attraction. With it, one can visit the cafes, restaurants, and shops as well as the Harbour Tour and Boathouse 4 boatbuilding exhibition.
Valid: One Day
Attractions: Any ONE Attraction
Cost: Adults from £24
Three Attractions Ticket:
The three attractions ticket provides access to all the above and two more attractions (and their Gosport attractions). Plus it is valid for a year for unlimited visits.
Valid: 12 Months
Access: Three Attractions
Cost: Adults From £34
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Ultimate Explorer Ticket:
The third ticket option is the Ultimate Explorer Ticket which is also valid for a year but includes access to all their attractions and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Valid: 12 Months
Access: All Attractions
Cost: Adults From £39
Over in America, there are many interesting museum ships and you can visit them - including the USS Constitution and many WW2 ships.