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Fort Nelson

Visited August 2012

Location Near Fareham, Hampshire
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Cafe, Toilets, Gift Shop








Fort Nelson was built by Lord Palmerston in the 1870's during a time when an attack by the French was seen as imminent. It is just one of an entire network of forts built to protect Portsmouth from the French. In fact the attack did not materialise and the Palmerston Forts were soon known as Palmerston follies. Several of the forts remain but they are not all open to the public. Fort Nelson is home to the Royal Armouries collection of big guns, so is open to the public everyday. If you are interested in artillery, then this is the place for you!


The fort is actually huge. The main entrance has the shop and cafe which leads through to the old Victorian barrack rooms, these house a display on the fort's history, and the artillery in the Royal Armouries collection. The  'Voice of the Guns' exhibition features weapons from the Victorian era right through to the present day, including several parts of the infamous Iraqi supergun, which is quite a sight to see.










Outside there are plenty of areas to explore, from the ramparts with the view over the Solent, to the large parade area. There is also a labyrinth of underground tunnels. The fort buildings are mostly Victorian, but there are also additions from WW2 when it became an anti aircraft ammunition depot.







The fort makes a good rainy day destination, not only because there is so much of the interior to see, but also the children are catered for with a whole room dedicated to children's activities. These include craft, colouring, cutting & sticking- and were very well received by my children. There was also a children's trail, which you could hand in at the end and be entered into a prize draw (we have not heard anything so assume we have not won)


There is a cafe and shop in the newly-renovated visitors centre, the cafe gets really busy at around 11.30, especially at the weekend. In fact the whole fort seems to - we arrived first thing and had the place to ourselves for a while, so if you don't like crowds then head out there at opening time.


Note from Dad- The shop at the fort is a good place to purchase airfix model kits, if that is your interest. See my finished model above.







More info:  Royal Armouries

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