Lord Nelson won one of England’s most famous victories on October 21, 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar. It’s especially important here in Portsmouth, where his ship – HMS Victory – has found a home and Fort Nelson is named in his honour.
The battle is commemorated countrywide, but celebrations here have that special significance.
There’s plenty going on to mark the event, with family events at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the aforementioned Fort Nelson.
The fort, high on Portsdown Hill and home to The Royal Armouries Museum, marks the occasion on Sunday with the firing of a 207-year-old gun, of the kind used on board HMS Victory in 1805.
A uniformed crew of sailors will fire the restored 12-pounder gun at noon and 3pm to mark Trafalgar Day.
Fort operations manager Nigel Hosier says: ‘The crew will wear uniform dating to the period and the gun firings promise to be quite a spectacle.’
A monument to Horatio, Lord Nelson, who lost his life at the Battle of Trafalgar, stands proudly next to the fort, paid for by the men of the fleet who fought at Trafalgar and from prize money.
Museum admission and the gun firings are free.
Down at the Historic Dockyard tonight, a Trafalgar Night is being held aboard HMS Warrior 1860 from 7pm to midnight.
This traditional naval celebration commemorating Nelson’s victory is an evening of fine dining and live music.
Tickets cost £80 from (023) 92 77 8604.
Then, tomorrow, HMS Victory itself will host a Trafalgar Challenge.
From 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm the family day will include quizzes and games as families see if they can complete the Trafalgar Challenge. Ship Detectives is a sensory game of recognising smells. Children will also have the chance to make edible medals, based on the medals of Nelson. And Nelson QI will test everyone’s knowledge of the great naval leader.
The Trafalgar Challenge is a drop-in event included in the Dockyard admission price.
Tickets cost £12.50 to £17 for a single attraction ticket for Victory or £17.50 to £25.50 for entry to all the dockyard attractions.
Both types of ticket are valid for a year and include a free harbour boat tour.