Holidays start with a bang

The big guns are on display at Fort Nelson

The big guns are on display at Fort Nelson

Stuart Piper with his wife Debbie and children Megan, 10, and 12-year-old Abigail  Picture: Sarah Standing (170385-8300)

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Fort Nelson up on Portsdown Hill has plenty on offer to keep the children entertained during the school holidays.

This Sunday the fort will demonstrate the firing ability of three of its big guns in its Artillery In Action daily show.

The fort is home to more than 350 big guns, from pre-gunpowder siege machines to the massive 200-tonne railway gun.

The event on Sunday will see uniformed gunners from the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers fire a 110-pounder, seven-inch rifle breech-loading gun.

The giant weapon was built in the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich and is a predecessor to the 68-pound cast iron muzzle loader.

Keeper of artillery Nicholas Hall says: ‘If Fort Nelson had been armed in the early 1860s, the 68-pounder would have been the original heavy armament.

‘In contrast the 110-pounder fires a heavier projectile and has a stronger barrel.

‘The gun firings at the fort are a great chance to see the guns in action against the fabulous backcloth of our fully-restored Palmerston fort.’

The event starts this Sunday and will run every day until the end of August.

The three displays will take place in the Haxo Casemate, a type of arched gun emplacement at the 19th century fort at 11.30am, 1pm and 3pm.

Aside from the gun firing event this Sunday, Fort Nelson also has a junior assault course running daily until August 31.

The course is suitable for children aged three and above and will fire their imaginations as they face different challenges.

Admission for the assault course is £3.50 for the whole day.

The fort is also offering guided tours where you can explore the 19-acre site and get an insight into the lives of the people who lived and worked there. Booking is essential.

While there you can also take part in a handling session where you can get up close and personal to some of the items in the collection.

During the session you will hear stories from the fort’s experts of the history of the artefacts, weapons and uniforms on display.

All of the events will run daily throughout August. Admission to the fort is free and it is open from 10am-5pm.

Call 01329 233734 for more information.

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