FAMILIES from across the region came face to face with countless relics of the city’s naval heritage under glorious sunshine – all for the price of a copy of The News.
It came as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard swung open its gates for a taster day in an offer which saw readers of The News visit the attraction for free on Sunday.
All they had to do was cut out and present a special voucher which was published in The News during March. Each token granted free entry for one person.
Mum-of-two Emmalene Harding said she ‘couldn’t believe’ the deal when she saw it at work, at the Hayling Island Library.
‘I quickly called my husband and told him he needed to rush up to the shop and get more copies,’ the 40-year-old said.
Alongside her daughter Grace, her son Jack, her husband Max and a family friend, Ameria, her first port of call on Sunday was HMS Victory – Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
She said: ‘ I’ve been on HMS Warrior plenty of times, but I haven’t been on the Victory before.
‘I’m now picturing myself going back in time and it’s absolutely fascinating.’
Gary Male, 43 from Gosport, visited with his 14-year-old daughter, Jessica and his eight-year-old son, Joshua.
It was a journey back in time for him – in more ways than one.
‘The last time I was here I was probably sat on one of Victory’s cannons when I was about four years old,’ he said.
‘It’s great to come back because I hadn’t been on the Warrior before and I didn’t realise how big it was and how much you could walk around it – that was amazing for the price of a paper.’
Jessica said: ‘HMS Warrior was really cool because it gives you a chance to figure out what life was like on the ship and how it was run. Space on there is very tight – I don’t think I would’ve been able to cope as a sailor.’
Joshua added: ‘My favourite bits are all the cannons.’
Other visitors used their voucher to catch a water taxi to Gosport, where they could experience HMS Alliance and The Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
All this fun, said Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, makes the dockyard the ‘jewel in the tourism crown for Portsmouth’.
‘The National Museum has been in Portsmouth for 10 years and our free taster day for readers of The News is a brilliant way to show off what we are doing in the Historic Dockyard and in Gosport,’ he said.
'With ships such as HMS Victory and HMS Warrior in our historic fleet and family attractions including Action Stations, we are the jewel in the tourism crown for Portsmouth.
'We’re great for a day out, plus somewhere to go with visiting friends and families.
Readers should be rightly proud about the amazing work we do attracting people from around the globe to visit.'
He added: 'We’ve been blown away by how popular the offer has been and strongly urge all those who have attended to take advantage of the special discount they will receive off our 12-month Full Navy Ticket before the end of the month.
'One day just won’t do justice to everything we have to offer and with our 12-month ticket, readers can come back time and time again.
'New this year, we’re incredibly excited that we have a UK-first opening on April 6, in time for the Easter holidays, with family favourite Horrible Histories: Pirates The Exhibition.
‘This is going to be hugely popular and we are expecting lots of visitors. We’ve plenty more planned and we don’t want anyone to miss out.'