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This is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – 700+ entries as of October 2019. Most entries have links for further information.
Britain's only museum dedicated to Operation Overlord, the invasion of France on 6 June 1944. Covers all aspects of D-Day, including equipment, displays and eye witness accounts. Also includes the Overlord Embroidery, which tells the story of D-Day rather like the Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of the Norman Invasion of 1066.
NB The museum is currently closed for a major refurbishment and is due to re-open in the Spring of 2018.
Exbury Gardens were the creation of wealthy Victorian banker, Lionel Rothschild. There are 200 acres to explore, along the bank of the Beaulieu river in the New Forest. Exbury is famous for its rare trees and, in the spring, its collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. There is also a 12.25 inch gauge railway to ride on, if you're so inclined.
You will find Exbury on a minor road south of the B3054 between Hythe and Beaulieu.
Concern about Britain's defences and fear of French invasion in the 1860s resulted in the construction of a string of massive forts protecting Portsmouth, the Royal Navy's premier south coast base. The forts were based on cutting edge Victorian military design and could even defend against a force attacking from inland. In the event, the threat never materialised and the forts were thereafter named, 'Palmerston's Follies', after the Prime Minister of the day. Fort Nelson has been restored and houses the Royal Armouries' artillery collection - big guns! Ramparts, tunnels and bunkers are also there to be explored.
Also known as Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery, this is the final resting place for some 1500 British sailors. It opened in 1859 and was the official cemetery for the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, which once stood nearby. For some time, the route between the hospital and the cemetery was playfully labelled known as ‘Dead Man’s Lane’ due to the high number of funeral processions from the former to the latter. There are graves from both world wars here, as well as the graves of the men of the submarine “L55”, sunk by the Soviets in the Baltic in 1919. In one corner of the cemetery are the graves of 26 Turkish sailors.
HMS M33 was built as a Royal Navy monitor in 1915 and is one of just three surviving Royal Navy ships from the First World War. She served at Gallipoli and Salonika, and in 1919 was sent to northern Russia to support the anti-Bolshevik forces. In the 1920s, she was renamed 'Minerva' and given a mine-laying role and during the Second World War was a fuelling hulk renamed 'Hulk C23'. She has been restored and as of 2017 was moored next to HMS Victory in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard as a visitor attraction.
Launched in Chatham in 1765, HMS Victory served in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic War. She is most famous as the flagship of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when the Royal Navy defeated a larger combined French and Spanish force. Nelson died on board. Victory has been in dry dock since 1922 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission. Learn the origin of 'a square meal' and 'not enough room to swing a cat'. Be amazed at the conditions in which sailors lived and fought in the early 19thC.
HMS Warrior was world’s first armour-plated, iron-hulled warship, a 40-gun steam-powered frigate, albeit with sails too, launched in London in 1860. She rendered every other naval ship obsolete at the time, but was herself out of date by 1871. Warrior was rescued from use as an oil jetty and restored in Hartlepool to her 1860 condition over an 8 year period. She has been berthed in Portsmouth and open to the public since 1987.
The Mary Rose was a Tudor warship. She sank, inexplicably, under the very eyes of King Henry VIII as he watched a battle unfold between the English and French navies just outside Portsmouth harbour on 19 July 1545. Only 35 out of the 500 people on board survived. For years, Mary Rose lay on her side, the exposed portion rotting away. In 1982, her remains were raised from the seabed - an astonishing achievement. The wreck was also like a Tudor time capsule, providing an insight into so many aspects of life 5 centuries ago. £39 million has been spent conserving and presenting Mary Rose and she is now stunningly displayed in a purpose-built exhibition building alongside the artefacts, and some of the human remains, found with her.
The illustration is from 'The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover' and shows vessels similar to the Mary Rose.
The New Forest offers chocolate-box scenery - 220 square miles of open heath and woodland where ponies, cattle and pigs roam freely, punctuated by the occasional attractive town and village. It's an ancient royal hunting forest, created in the 11th century by William the Conqueror at the expense of its inhabitants. These days, it's a place for walking, cycling, horse riding - or just relaxing.
Originally a shore fort, built in the 3rd century, Portchester is the most complete Roman walled stronghold in Northern Europe. Subsequently a medieval fortress, palace and prison holding Dutch, French (and possibly American?) captives, it is now a place of recreation with a cricket pitch inside and popular with dog-walkers.