We welcome all visitors to the Dockyard and we have tried to make it as safe as possible. However, some of our attractions are historic buildings and ships, and we know that there can be challenges for some visitors. We have included information below to help you understand a bit more about the site, to help you plan in advance and to decide if you think that your visit will be impaired at all. For those who believe they will be limited in their visit or need extra support we do offer access restriction discounts, free carer tickets and on-site additional support.
Moving Around our Ships
Our ships may have been seaworthy for sailors, but they can be tricky to navigate for some. HMS Victory contains step stairs, rope bannisters, low ceilings, narrow and low doorways, low light levels and uneven floors. It can also be slippy on the upper decks when wet.
There is wheelchair access to Lower Gun Deck where a DVD tour runs, subject to availability and audio guides are available.
HMS Warrior is accessed via a ramp. Because she is still afloat the gradient can change with the tides and we would recommend entering at low tide if that is a concern, tide times can be accessed here. These photos indicate the gradient of the ramp at high and low tide.
Like HMS Victory, HMS Warrior does have steep stairs with rope bannisters, trip hazards, low ceilings, poor lighting and can be slippy on a wet day. There is however and an accessible route marked on the deck plan and includes a fixed bannister staircase at the rear of the ship and a stairlift between the upper deck and the main gun deck (suitable for visitors who are able to transfer themselves to the stairlift). Wheelchairs must be left on the upper deck and a manual wheelchair is available for visitors to use on the main gun deck. Staff are on hand to help throughout the ship.
HMS M.33 is more accessible than some of her older counterparts. Wheelchair access to the lower deck is available via a lift and upper deck stairs are more generously spaced. There are some steep stairs in place and our Audio Visual Experience does not have subtitles and can be dark and upsetting for some.
HMS Alliance, based at the Submarine Museum in Gosport, is not accessible for wheelchairs and like the submariners who served on her, visitors will experience dark, cramped spaces, with low ceiling heights and trip hazards.
We welcome families but the nature of our ship does mean that pushchairs are not permitted on board any of our ships.
Accessing our Museums and Attractions
We have tried to make our museums and buildings as easy to move around as possible. However, there is always more we can do and they do still have some limitations as they are often based in historic buildings. This means floors can be uneven but are negotiable for wheelchairs and buggies.
Galleries have a mixture of handling exhibits, film and audio displays and most have hearing loops. Audio transcripts or large print text is also available, just ask our staff. Mary Rose Museum also offers sensory resources, including tactile plans and painting of the ship, although there are low light levels in the building which some may struggle with.
Out to Sea
You can combine your visit on land, with a trip at sea by hopping on one of our Harbour Tours, or taking a Waterbus to our Gosport sites. Two manual wheelchairs are available on the Harbour Tours service (depending on the vessel) and electric wheelchair users can switch to a manual wheelchair, which they can collect at our Visitor Centre. Pre-booking of those spaces can be arranged by calling 023 9283 9766 or Solent and Wightline Cruises on 01983 564602.
Unfortunately the Waterbus service to Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower and the Submarine Museum is not accessible for wheelchairs. Depending on the demand for spaces on board the vessel, it may be possible to take a folded manual wheelchair onto the vessel. There are a couple of large steps onto and off of the Waterbus. However, you can access those sites by car.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE WATERBUS IS CURRENTLY NOT RUNNING
Accessible Toilets and Facilities
Accessible toilets are available in the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Boathouse No.7, Action Stations and the Mary Rose. Adult changing facilities are available in the Mary Rose disabled toilets.
There are fifteen disabled spaces available in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard car park, located in Admiralty Road approximately 400 metres from the dockyard entrance.
We have a number of shops and cafes available on site offering hot and cold food and drink. The National Museum of the Royal Navy Shop, The Mary Rose Shop and Nauticalia are all accessible to wheelchair and pushchair users. The Boathouse No.7 Restaurant, Costa Coffee and The Mary Rose Café are all accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs users.
Supporting you onsite
Our staff are there to help make sure that every one of our visitors has a great day out so please do ask them if you require additional support. Whilst the military base does not allow animals on site generally, an exception is made for assistance animals and guide-dogs who are permitted in all areas.
We also offer carer tickets free of charge if you would feel more comfortable bringing someone to support you in your visit and particularly recommend this for visually impaired visitors to help them negotiate some of the uneven flooring and difficult spaces.
The Legal Bit
We do ask all of our visitors to take care when on site and to pay attention to the safety notices around our site. Whilst we do take every precaution, visitors do access the site at their own risk and we will not be responsible for any direct, indirect or consequential loss, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), for breach of statutory duty, or otherwise, arising under or in connection with your visit to our site, including for loss or damage to property.
We do not limit or exclude our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or any other liability which cannot be limited or excluded by applicable law.
We hope to see you soon.