Wednesday 5 April 2023

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

Until May of last year, I had never been to Portsmouth or the docks myself, but the other half had actually visited as a child when the Mary Rose was being housed under a tent after it's recovery (we are talking back in the 90's) and was still drying out. 

We decided to take the children to Portsmouth Historic Docks for the day to see what it was all about, and it turned out to be a really wonderful day. Leo had a great time running all around the HMS Warrior and learning all about its history and talking about all of the ghosts that may be skulking around.

We were there on the Ultimate Explorer ticket, but seemingly ran out of time to see everything as there is so much to take in. Add into the mix children who would rather you didn't actually stop to read anything and you have a recipe for not getting everything done in one day... 

Over the course of the day we walked around the HMS Victory and finished at the Mary Rose. The other half was rather amazed to see just how far the preservation of the ship has come in all those years since his first visit. There is now an entire building dedicated to the Tudor ship and a museum full of the artefacts and history they found on the ship. 

They have recovered bodies from the fateful day the ship sunk a couple of miles off the shore of Portsmouth, the crew who were thwarted by the netting that was in place to keep boarders from entering the ship... But ultimately stopped them being able to get out as the ship sank.

500 people died on that day in 1545 as the Tudor ship bowed down to the bottom of the ocean, and did not see daylight again until it broke the surface during its recovery in 1982.

The ship lay undiscovered for hundreds of years , entombed within the sea bed, the wreck was finally located by divers in 1971. It then took over 10 years of excavation, over 500 divers and 28 thousand dives before the remains of the hull could be raised.

I was really excited to receive an invitation to the opening of the docks new immersive experience recently.... Dive the Mary Rose 4D, and on Thursday 30th March, the other half and I went CHILD FREE back to the docks and got our Mary Rose experience!

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

The event was held the day prior to it opening to the public (Friday 31st March 2023) just in time for the Easter holidays where families could visit and make the most of their time off together. 

We arrived and head straight to the Mary Rose, we made our way inside and got to have a thorough look around the museum without the protests of 'I'm hungry' 'I want to sit down' and 'I'm tired' from 2 well walked children. This time we leisurely walked through the museum, re-discovering what had captured our interest and finding out so much more about it. 

Cannons baring the Tudor rose and even the skeleton of the ships dog are all on display in the museum. Then there is the Mary Rose herself. She is kept in a temperature controlled room in the centre and you can view her from many different views thanks to the well designed walk ways on multiple levels. It is a fascinating sight and it really gets you thinking about how they raised the ship and preserved it the way that they have. 

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

The new Dive the Mary Rose 4D experience is a great way to gain a real appreciation to just how much work, time, money and effort went in to even just finding where the Mary Rose sank, not to mention how one would then bring the Mary Rose back to the surface.

The 4D experience it's self is pretty special, as the film plays you are fed smells, sounds and newly created footage to simulate the diving experience during the biggest ever Maritime excavation and raising narrated by the one and only Ross Kemp.

The cinema set up is very impressive and boasts a curved screen, you are provided 3D glasses as you enter your screening. I especially liked how they added actual bubbles to the ones popping out of the screen. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised I could actually pop them!

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

The film demonstrates how much work actually went into bringing the Mary Rose back to the surface, once they had found the ship they had to remove all of the sand and shells that had deposited upon it and protected it from the elements. To raise the ship from the depths of the ocean they had to place it on a platform and slowly bring it back up to the surface.

It was fascinating to see just how much work went into bringing the Mary Rose back so that future generations can see her for themselves.

All of the narrators involved in the film, including Ross Kemp have dived on the wreck site. Many of them helped them recover 19,000 unique Tudor artefacts to add to the already impressive collection already housed inside the Mary Rose Museum!

Dive the Mary Rose 4D at Portsmouth Historic Dock Yard

The new Dive the Mary Rose 4D experience is a great reason to visit the docks, or return like we did. 

We still intend on going back and fitting in the other attractions that we haven't had chance to see yet.

Disclaimer: We were invited along to the Mary Rose Musuem and screening event. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. 

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