History comes alive at Fort Nelson this summer with an action-packed programme of events, showcasing the Victorian fortress’s history from the 19th century to the modern day.

Highlights include three themed weekends – focusing on the Victorian age and two World Wars – as part of the summer holiday programme, culminating in all the pomp and circumstance of the Fort Nelson Tattoo on Saturday, September 8.

Family events run every day from July 23 to September 2, including craft activities, treasure hunts and trails, cannon drill and practice, plus daily gun firings – all themed accordingly.

Museum admission and parking are free, although charges apply for events and some activities. The programme runs as follows:

Victorian Fort Nelson – Monday, July 23, to Sunday, August 5, including a Victorian Fair during the weekend of July 28 and 29. Enjoy all the fun of the 19th century fairground, including an authentic steam-driven carousel/merry-go-round, donkey rides, coconut shy, themed face-painting, and lots more.

Fort Nelson during World War One – August 6 to 19, featuring a WWI weekend (August 11 and 12). Weekend highlights will include WWI equipment handling sessions with an expert, sandbag defence races, gun firings by costumed volunteers, themed face-painting and various games and activities.

Fort Nelson during World War Two – August 20 to September 2 – including a WW2 Weekend (August 26 and 27), with jive-dancing displays and tuition, an assault course, vintage traders’ market, gun firings, face painting and various displays.

The World – Monday, July 23, to Sunday, September 2 – As Great Britain welcomes the world for the Olympic Games, discover how many countries are represented in the Royal Armouries’ international collection.

Fort Nelson Military Tattoo – Saturday, September 8. Enjoy a unique mix of military and civilian bands and display teams, set within the historic setting of the Fort, as well as exciting gun firings. Choose between a matinee performance with historic flypast, or gala evening with fireworks.

Fort operations manager Nigel Hosier said, , “We would like children to appreciate that museums are an important part of the world in which they live, offering a unique insight into the past and how it shaped modern life. They are guaranteed to have a day to remember, in an exciting but informative way.

“The Fort was built by the Victorians, in response to feared invasion by the French, and played a major part in both the First and Second World Wars. So it’s fitting that our summer events have those themes. We then round it all off with the Fort Nelson Tattoo, which is guaranteed to be a great modern-day spectacle.”

There’s also a chance to explore the Victorian fort, complete with new galleries, tunnels, ramparts, Café 1871, and daily gun firings.

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.

Last year, this unique heritage attraction underwent a £3.5m redevelopment to create a museum for the 21st century, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Royal Armouries is Britain’s oldest public museum and home to the national collection of arms and armour, including artillery. For more information, visit www.royalarmouries.org

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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.

Download the PDF press release.