Portsmouth’s number one attraction, The Mary Rose, is set to turn back time this Christmas.
Imagine the perfect Christmas, and it’s probably packed with tradition, classic English carols, feasting and merriment.
Many of today’s festive customs are rooted in the past – and the opulent court of King Henry VIII.
From turkey and Brussels sprouts to mince pies – although in the 16th century made with actual minced meat! – the Tudors knew how to throw a memorable party.
Now a flavour of Tudor celebrations is set to return, at the museum home of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s beautifully preserved flagship.
For three weekends in December, visitors to the Mary Rose Museum will have the chance to step back in time to experience a
Tudor-themed Christmas, with dancing, merrymaking, magic, music, and even an audience with the King.
Throughout the museum, which this year was a finalist in the prestigious European Museum of the Year Awards, will be characters from the Tudor court, from jesters to courtiers, musicians to ladies-in-waiting.
There’ll be chance to learn to dance like a Tudor lord and lady, learn to curtsy and bow, discover delightful Tudor music and find out what festive dishes were served to the King : fun for the whole family!
The Tudor Christmas events will be held over the weekends of 8 and 9 December, 15 and 16, and 29 and 30 December. Entry is free with a valid Mary Rose Museum ticket.
Lights go Up
Over the winter months there’s also a chance to see the world-famous vessel, and some of its fascinating artefacts, in a completely new light.
The lights in the museum are normally dimmed to help protect the delicate exhibits, but this can present a challenge to some visitors with visual impairments, or conditions such as claustrophobia or autism. To help these visitors enjoy their experience even more, the lights are turned up on the fourth Friday of the month (that’s the forthcoming 23 November and 28 December) from 10am to noon, revealing a spectacular view of the ship and her objects.
The Mary Rose, Portsmouth’s leading visitor attraction and located at the heart of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, also makes a perfect venue for a festive get-together over winter warmers, cake and sandwiches in its cafe.
The Mary Rose shop offers the chance to stock up on unusual gifts for a history buff, a ship fan, or anyone who treasures English heritage and history.
There is even a selection of Tudor-inspired Christmas decorations, including a glittering Mary Rose-style sailing ship.
Plan your visit, find out what’s on and learn more about the Mary Rose Museum and its vast array of exhibits, at www.maryrose.org. Don’t forget to book your tickets online in advance to receive a 20 per cent discount.