Portsmouth’s historic dockyard proves top five tourist hit

Portsmouth’s historic dockyard has smashed its way into the top UK’s five cultural attractions outside the capital.

Portsmouth’s historic dockyard prove top five tourist hitMore than 900,000 people visited the site – home to HMS Victory, Mary Rose, Warrior, WW1 monitor M33, their supporting museums and the Jutland exhibition – in 2017.

That lifts the dockyard into the upper ranks of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions’ top draws. Outside London only Stonehenge, the Roman baths in Bath, Chester Zoo and the RHS gardens at Wisley pull in more punters – with the exception of theme parks, which are not covered by the association.

Visitor numbers across historic and cultural sites in the UK rose by more than 7 per cent last year – an extra seven tourists for every 100 walking through the entrances.

This is a great way to begin the tourism year and gives us further proof that what we are doing with investing in our heritage product and marketing it widely is working

Dominic Tweddle, Director General NMRN

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) recorded a 17 per cent rise across its empire, which includes the Fleet Air Arm and RN Submarine Museums, HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool and Jutland veteran HMS Caroline in Belfast.

The biggest impact has been in the Portsmouth area – the result of a decade of investment, improvement, new attractions (such as M33, the new Mary Rose Museum), the draw of HMS Queen Elizabeth since the carrier arrived in the city in August – with record tourist numbers helping to pump £110m into the local economy in 2017.

“This is a great way to begin the tourism year and gives us further proof that what we are doing with investing in our heritage product and marketing it widely is working,” said NMRN director general Dominic Tweddle.