Tall ship, navy navigation and more at the dockyard

The tall ship Vespucci
The tall ship Vespucci
Picture: Shutterstock

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The majestic beauty of a tall ship is impressive when you spot one in the Solent. But, up-close they are even more breathtaking. And when you can climb aboard, well, that’s something else altogether.

It’s an adventure on offer at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this weekend, when one of the world’s most spectacular tall ships will be open to the public during a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base.

The Italian naval training ship, Amerigo Vespucci, arrived in Portsmouth from Cadiz on Wednesday and will welcome visitors for free from 10am to 4pm tomorrow and Sunday.

The vessel is the last surviving three-decked square rigger and has a crew of 278.

Vespucci has been in service with the Italian Navy since 1931 and has 24 sails. The tallest of her three steel masts is 177ft high and she is 331ft long.

Her illustrious history will fascinate all ages and children can let their imaginations run riot as they explore her decks.

Event organiser Lt Cdr John Webb says: ‘Amerigo Vespucci is a spectacular tall ship and will be a wonderful sight as it enters Portsmouth.

‘The Naval Base is delighted to be able to host such an historic vessel and I’m sure she will prove a popular attraction for visitors.’

There’s plenty more going on at the Historic Dockyard to help families make a day of it this weekend or any time during the holidays.

On Thursday, HMS Victory hosts a Naval Navigation event from 11am to 1pm and again from 2pm to 4pm. Here, families can find out how the Master sailed the ship and make their own piece of navigational equipment to take home.

Meanwhile, each Tuesday in August, Victory will offer guides to tell stories and allow visitors to handle objects.

There are Tudor costumes to dress-up in at the Mary Rose Story daily until September 2.

And every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, there’s Victorian seaside fun at HMS Warrior 1860.

Also aboard Warrior is a family activity area until September 2, macrame workshops every Tuesday in August and Victorian storytelling on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

At the National Museum of the Royal Navy, families can learn about the naval heritage of past and future Olympic hosts every Wednesday. This week it’s Rome.

There are also specialist activities for the under-fives at the museum each Friday in August.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has a limited ticket offer running until Sunday September 2 where every child will receive free entry into the attractions when accompanied by a full paying adult.

Full price tickets cost £23.50 and are valid for a year from the date of purchase. They give unlimited access to HMS Warrior 1860, National Museum of the Royal Navy and Action Stations and one entry to all other attractions on the Historic Dockyard or Big Ticket (an extended ticket which allows visitors to explore heritage sites around the harbour).