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History will come to life with colourful characters from the Fort's past in a series of special History Live! Weekends throughout August.
Meet costumed characters from the Fort's past and find out what it was like to live and work here. Discover Fort Nelson's fascinating history, and time travel with a Victorian Engineer or a Victorian Soldier.

Royal Armouries Fort Nelson, Portsdown Hill Road, Portchester, Hampshire, PO17 6AN

Discover Fort Nelson's fascinating history

The Great War has meant a massive upheaval not just for those serving in the army and navy but also for the civilians on the Home Front. If you listen carefully, some days you can almost hear the great guns just over the English Channel, as they bombard the enemy trenches.

Even though it is more than 50 years old and has never been attacked, Fort Nelson stands guard over one of the most important ports in Great Britain. This vital link in the supply chain, which provides fresh troops and supplies to the Front, must be protected. And now there are new threats to worry about. Threats from the air. If the bombers come at night it will be a hard task to stop them.

Join the soldier as he mans the anti-aircraft guns overlooking one of the most important military bases in England and hear his side of the story. Will the bombers get through? Can they be stopped from destroying the city of Portsmouth and the naval base?

Find out about Fort Nelson's role in protecting the south coast as Great Britain once again faces the threat of invasion.

Available 10am-5pm on the following dates:

  • 3 August - 4 August
  • 10 August - 11 August
  • 24 August - 25 August
  • 31 August - 1 September

Time travel with a Victorian Engineer

The Fort has played its part in conflicts from Victorian times through to the First and Second World Wars; find out more about its fascinating history.

During the Napoleonic Wars a French invasion had been thwarted by England's dominant sea power. But with the election of Napoleon III, as the first President of France in 1848, it looked like a French invasion may again be a possibility. The British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston appointed a Royal Commission to look into the defence of England. Its findings were 'alarming'. With the French building new ironclad ships and investing in massive artillery pieces, the defences of England looked decidedly old-fashioned. What to do?

Step back in time with our Victorian engineer to 1860 and discover the British government's solution to this thorny problem. Would the construction of a ring of forts around the naval base of Portsmouth protect it from attack? Or would the whole project just be a huge waste of money? Join the engineer to find out.

Available 10am-5pm on the following dates:

  • 17 August

Time travel with a Victorian Soldier

Visitors are invited to join the Victorian soldier, a veteran of a long military career serving Her Majesty and the British Empire, in his new posting at Fort Nelson.

What does he think of a place that has never seen a shot fired in anger and what about his fellow soldiers of the Volunteer Company? Is this the future of the defence of England? In a time when Britannia's wars are being fought in far-off lands do we need Fort Nelson? What if there was another threat on the horizon, closer to home? Could we defend ourselves? Join the Victorian soldier this weekend to find out more.

Available 10am-5pm on the following dates:

  • 18 August


Free admission. Parking £3.