A new viewing of the Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose, is set to be unveiled later today to mark the anniversary of its sinking on 19th July 1545. The latest £5.4 million restoration project has been over 30 years in the making and up until now, we have only been able to catch glimpses of the wreck through scaffolding and small viewing portals.
When it unveiled, the Mary Rose will be behind a specially designed floor-to-ceiling window, with visitors viewing from a balcony that must be entered via an airlock to preserve the historical wreck in its current state. So in honour of the Mary Rose unveiling, we take a brief look at its history and recommend a few other historical sites in the UK that are well worth a visit.
The Raising of the Mary Rose
The wreck of Henry VII’s Tudor warship was raised from the Solent in 1982, but since then we’ve had very limited views of the wreck and its restoration. At the time, the raising of the Mary Rose was a major national event and was watched live on television by 60 million people worldwide, but it wasn’t the first attempt to bring the ship above the surface. Between 1549 and 1836, Venetian divers were unsuccessful a number of times and since then, the Mary Rose lay undisturbed for almost 300 years.
A new search began in 1965, and in 1971 divers discovered exposed timbers which led to the wreck being correctly identified as the Mary Rose.
In 2013, The Mary Rose Museum opened its doors in Portsmouth, and to complete the process of the latest development, the ship was closed to public viewing last November for its final stages of this current restoration.
Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust has said, “Visitors will have stunning panoramic views from the ship from all nine galleries. The is the culmination of decades of hard work by the Mary Rose team and we can’t wait to share this stunning new experience with everyone.”
A Selection of Our Favourite UK Historical Sites
With a visit to The Mary Rose Museum now on many a summer to-do listing following its new unveiling, we take a look at other must-see UK historical attractions, some a bit more well-known than others when you are looking for a great family day out
A permanent fixture on the River Thames and now operated by the Imperial War Museum, touring the HMS Belfast provides a great insight into the workings of a slightly more modern warship than the Mary Rose. HMS Belfast played a vital role in several Second World War campaigns including the Battle of North Cape, as well as battles in the Korean War, before it was put in reserve in 1963.
Sussex contains many gems, not in the least Brighton, its chief attraction, but if you’re planning a stay there, anyone who is remotely interested in history should pay a visit to Arundel Castle in West Sussex. A medieval property restored to its former glory, visitors can tour the stunning interior, but the castle gardens are also a must-visit, especially the kitchen gardens.
National Railway Museum
Many of the UK’s most famous museums are situated within a short walk of each other in South West London. Excellent if you’re in the capital, but what about elsewhere? Well, one of the country’s other great museums is situated in York and contains delights for young and old alike. Yes, you’ve probably already guessed what’s contained within the walls of the National Railway Museum, but with its most recent addition being the famous Flying Scotsmen, most train-loving families don’t need much of an excuse to visit.
Churchill War Rooms
Underground London is a treasure trove of discoveries, and if you’re already seen the other major historical sights, Churchill War Rooms are well-worth a trip. The converted secret underground bunker now tells the story of the immense contribution of one of the country’s most famous leaders and it is also operated by the Imperial War Museum.
Another important historical attraction if you’re planning a visit up north any time soon, the Victoria Tunnel in Newcastle was formally an important transport tunnel used to carry coal in the 19th century, but during the Second World it found another use as an air-raid shelter. It now runs guided tours so visitors can re-create a multi-sensory air raid experience.
Visiting important historical sites up and down the land might not be as costly as you think. Many of our key museums have free entry (but visitors are more than welcome to donate to ensure it stays this way), and if you do your research, you’ll find there are many online offers available for discounted tickets. Little Bird voucher codes provide savings on entry to many historical attractions including Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Hampton Court Palace and HMS Belfast, and packages from Activity Superstore and Red Letter Days contain many different options for historical days out.
So join My Favourite Voucher Codes in celebrating this important day for British historical restoration by taking some time to plan a trip to see some of your nearest local historical sights. Or even an expedition to Portsmouth to view the Mary Rose in all its glory.
By Anna Scott, 19th July 2016