Perfect opportunity to make history fun

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Congratulations once again to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for another triumphant Victorian Festival of Christmas.

It has now become a family tradition to visit the event each year and it never disappoints.

Looking back, I actually enjoyed history lessons at my secondary school, St Edmund’s in Portsmouth. That was mainly down to my excellent teacher Miss Dyke, who made lessons come to life.

It’s true that you never forget a great teacher.

But for any children who don’t particularly enjoy going back in time, the Historic Dockyard provides a perfect opportunity to make history fun.

Even before you enter Victory Gate, the entrance to the dockyard, you can see the masts of one of the greatest attractions, HMS Victory.

The Royal Navy’s most famous warship, best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar, was open for the public to explore.

Such a magnificent experience, but tinged with sadness, especially when standing on the spot where Nelson fell, which is marked by a brass plaque.

I’m always impressed by the amount of knowledge the guides have and that they are able to answer any question put to them.

At the Festival of Christmas you don’t even need to visit any of the attractions to soak up the atmosphere, as just simply walking through the ‘Victorian’ streets’ provides a large amount of entertainment.

There are characters in Victorian costume just walking past, which made me feel like I’d gone back in time.

Then there are the snow-covered streets, something my daughters particularly enjoyed.

A personal favourite is Mr Alexander and his travelling show, who is there every year showcasing his talents which include juggling, unicycling and illusion.

Six-year-old Caitlin was very impressed when he made a coin disappear behind her ear.

This year my daughters particularly enjoyed the new attraction of a maze made out of Christmas trees.

Along with a visit to HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose Museum and a drink in Fagin’s Tavern, there was just so much to see and do.

It’s also impossible not to spend a bit more money when walking through the popular Christmas market, which is packed full of original items that I can never find anywhere else.

So much great food too – my huge turkey and stuffing roll was delicious.

It took us over five hours to get around the event and I’m still not sure we visited everything we could.

Next day I had achy legs, but it was worth it. A great family event and we’re already looking forward to going back in 2016.