NEW-LOOK FORT NELSON PROVES A HIT - Thursday, 19 July 2012

Visitor numbers have jumped by 54 per cent, following the £3.5m redevelopment of the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson.

A total of 20,128 people passed through the doors of the Victorian fort, near Fareham, during April, May and June. This compares with 13,092 at the same time last year.

The boost follows last year’s refurbishment, supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Improvements include the breath-taking glass-sided Voice of the Guns gallery, featuring 14 of the most iconic exhibits in the national collection of artillery and historic cannon.

Other highlights include a state-of-the-art education centre, social history galleries and new interactive displays, purpose-built visitor centre, and Café 1871.

Fort operations manager Nigel Hosier said, “The figures are a huge boost for the local area, and testimony to all our staff’s hard work.

“Museum admission and parking are free, which allows everyone to have unlimited access to their national heritage in a time of recession. We are now entering our busiest time of year, with a full programme of summer events and activities, including a Military Tattoo on September 8. These will help maintain the excellent upward trend for visitor figures.”

The news was welcomed by Cllr Robert Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning, Economic Development & Tourism.

He said, “When the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson secured a Heritage Lottery Fund £3.5m grant to transform the impressive Victorian Fort into a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, we were delighted. The re-launched attraction now showcases the Fort to its full potential, with new interactive exhibits.

“To hear that visitors are flocking to the Fort in such numbers is good news for tourism locally. In particular we are hoping that there will be knock-on effects in local market towns such as Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham, both of which provide Pocket Guides with Winchester City Council’s support outlining their strong links into to the impressive naval heritage of the area. Winchester City Council has worked closely with Fort Nelson for many years and we’d like to extend our congratulations to the dedicated team there who worked so hard to make this happen.”

Standing high on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, Fort Nelson showcases one of the world’s finest collections of artillery and cannon, from across the ages and from all corners of the globe.

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Notes to editors

To find Fort Nelson, follow the brown Tourist signs from the M27. The Fort is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm.

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