The 10 Best Museums in Portsmouth

Ah, Portsmouth! This vibrant waterfront city is not just about the stunning harbor views or the bustling maritime activity; it’s a treasure trove of history and culture, especially when it comes to its museums. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or just looking for a fascinating way to spend the day, Portsmouth’s museums offer a glimpse into the past and present through a variety of lenses.

1. The Mary Rose Museum

Let’s dive right in at the Mary Rose Museum, where you’ll be transported back to the Tudor era. The museum is home to the Mary Rose, a warship that served in Henry VIII’s Fleet and sank in 1545. After being raised from the depths in 1982, the ship and thousands of its artifacts have been meticulously preserved. Walking through the museum is like stepping onto the deck of history, with personal items of the crew and heavy cannons still in place, telling a poignant story of life and conflict on the high seas.

2. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Next up, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is an absolute must-see. It’s not just one museum but a cluster of attractions that will fill your day with awe. The HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, stands proudly here. You can also explore the HMS Warrior, the Royal Navy’s first iron-hulled warship. The dockyard is a living museum, where history is preserved not just in artifacts but in the very timbers and iron that once ruled the waves.

3. The D-Day Story

For those interested in more recent history, The D-Day Story brings to life the personal tales of World War Ii’s pivotal invasion. Interactive displays and moving narratives capture the bravery and complexity of the operation. It’s a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and the strategic importance of Portsmouth during this critical period.

4. The National Museum of the Royal Navy

At the heart of Portsmouth’s Naval heritage is The National Museum of the Royal Navy. Here, you’ll find a treasure trove of naval history, from the age of sail to modern-day fleets. The museum showcases the Royal Navy’s influence on the world and the evolution of maritime warfare, with an impressive collection of artifacts, models, and memorabilia.

5. The Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum

Literature lovers, rejoice! The Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum is a quaint and charming tribute to one of England’s greatest writers. The house where Dickens was born has been lovingly preserved, with period furniture and personal items that offer a glimpse into his early life. It’s a small but delightful museum that Dickens enthusiasts wouldn’t want to miss.

For a broader cultural experience, the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery is your go-to destination. With a diverse collection that spans fine art, decorative art, and local history, there’s something for everyone. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, so there’s always a new reason to visit.

7. Southsea Castle

History is not just found in museums, and Southsea Castle is a prime example. Built by Henry VIII in 1544, this coastal fortress has stood the test of time. It’s a museum in its own right, with displays that recount its history and the role it played in defending Portsmouth. The views from the ramparts are simply breathtaking, offering a different perspective on the city and its maritime heritage.

8. The Royal Marines Museum

For a deep dive into military history, the Royal Marines Museum is second to None. Housed in a former officers’ mess, the museum celebrates the history of the Royal Marines. Through interactive exhibits and personal stories, visitors gain an understanding of the courage and commitment required of this elite fighting force.

9. The Square Tower

Another historical gem, The Square Tower, dates back to the 15th century and has served many roles, from a defensive fortification to a gunpowder store. Today, it’s a venue for events and exhibitions, with a small museum area that tells its storied past. It’s a fascinating corner of Portsmouth that often flies under the radar.

10. Cumberland House Natural History Museum

Last but not least, nature enthusiasts will find a haven at the Cumberland House Natural History Museum. This family-friendly museum showcases the Flora and fauna of the region, with exhibits ranging from local wildlife to geology. The butterfly house is a particular highlight, offering an up-close experience with these delicate creatures.


  • What are the opening hours for the museums in Portsmouth?

    Opening hours vary by museum, so it’s best to check their individual websites for the most up-to-date information. Many museums in Portsmouth are typically open from 10 am to 5 pm.

  • Are there any combined tickets available for multiple museums?

    Yes, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard offers a range of tickets that provide access to multiple attractions within the dockyard, including several museums.

  • Can I find any museums in Portsmouth that are suitable for children?

    Absolutely! Many museums in Portsmouth, like the Cumberland House Natural History Museum and the interactive exhibits at The D-Day Story, are designed to be engaging and educational for children.


In conclusion, Portsmouth’s museums are a testament to the city’s rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the Mary Rose Museum to the Cumberland House Natural History Museum, each institution offers a unique window into different facets of Portsmouth’s past and present. Whether you’re exploring the decks of historic warships, delving into the life of literary giants, or marveling at natural wonders, these museums provide an enriching experience for all ages. So next time you’re in town, make sure to set aside some time for these top 10 museums – they’re sure to leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for this dynamic coastal city.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.