Mary Rose Museum celebrates 10 millionth visitor since ship was raised from Solent

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IT HAS been 35 years since its doors first opened and yesterday, the Mary Rose Museum celebrated 10 million visitors.

The attraction, which houses King Henry VIII’s Tudor ship, celebrated the milestone by inviting the 10 millionth visitor Mike Perkins and his wife Sandra to a behind-the-scenes tour.

The couple got a goody bag after they turned up at the museum, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, just after 11am.

Paul Griffiths, head of operations at the Mary Rose Museum, said they had expected to reach the figure in October — near the 35th anniversary of the Mary Rose being brought up from the Solent. But due to an increase in visitor numbers over the summer, they had reached it sooner.

He said: ‘It is amazing that 10 million people have come to Portsmouth to see the Mary Rose since she came out of the Solent.

‘It is fabulous and shows how important this attraction is to the city.

Ten millionth visitors to the Mary Rose Sandra and Mike Perkins, right, receive a Mary Rose goody bag from head of Operations Paul Griffiths, left and chief executive, Helen Bonsor-Winton     Picture: Habibur Rahman

Ten millionth visitors to the Mary Rose Sandra and Mike Perkins, right, receive a Mary Rose goody bag from head of Operations Paul Griffiths, left and chief executive, Helen Bonsor-Winton Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘There is so much exciting stuff going on at the museum and in the city at the moment.’

Mike and Sandra, who used to live in Portsmouth but travelled down from Pembrokeshire, were happy with their VIP tour of the museum.

‘We were amazed at being the 10 millionth visitors,’ said Mike.

‘This is the first time we have been to the new museum and we can’t wait to get the full tour. The number of visitors shows how popular it is.’

It is amazing that 10 million people have come to Portsmouth to see the Mary Rose since she came out of the Solent.

Paul Griffiths

The Mary Rose was raised from the sea in 1982 and housed in the old museum in 1983.

Thirty years later, the new attraction opened next to HMS Victory and, last year, re-opened after a refurbishment which saw the whole Mary Rose go on display without screens restricting visitors’ views.

Helen Bonser-Wilton, chief executive of the Mary Rose Museum, said: ‘Visitors just love the full Tudor experience with the sights, sounds and smells. We are thrilled to have seen so many people through our doors.’