First and foremost, I offer an enormous apology for my absence- it's been over a month since my last post! I've been neglecting my blog for no other reason than lack of inspiration. I have some ideas in my head but I'm struggling to get them down. Writer's block, perhaps? :/

But, moving on, I thought I'd write a little about my holiday in Portsmouth a few weeks ago!
Anybody who knows me reasonably well would know that I am obsessed with Portsmouth- it is seriously my favourite place in the whole world. And, surprisingly, I remember liking the place before my interest in Nelson came about! 
 I think it has so much to offer, especially for anybody with an interest in naval history, and particularly for Nelson Nutters like me! :)

Me, my dad, his wife, Lizza, and my little sister, Skye, went for about a week and my auntie Sally also joined a couple of days later. We all stayed in a Travel Lodge, and, let me tell you, I just love Travel Lodges *sarcasm*. 
 But, to be fair, it wasn't all that bad, although the room was VERY warm. And I wasn't sleeping on a mattress on the floor for once- I had been upgraded to the sofa- huzzah!

During the holiday we always have a couple of visits to the Isle of Wight to visit the beach and the Donkey Sanctuary, the Chessell Pottery Barns- they have the biggest scones in the world!- and watch the fireworks display at the Needles, which they do on Thursdays through-out the summer. 
 We also usually have a trip somewhere else, often Brighton, but this year we instead planned to go to London on the Train... which didn't happen. Unfortunately, we didn't realise how expensive that would be, and in the end we decided to leave it for another day. Had we gone, one of the things we would have done would have been to see the Nelson effigy in Westminster Abbey. Alas, at almost a hundred pounds for the train journey alone, that joy has been denied me. :'(

However, on the plus side, this did mean we had an extra day in Portsmouth to do a couple of the things we still hadn't got around to doing. We first went to the Natural History Museum, which was good, but very small. They have a rather impressive butterfly house there, but I didn't stay in there long as it was very humid indeed! 
 Afterwards, we went to Southsea Castle, a Tudor built fortifcation from which Henry VIII himself watched the Mary Rose go down in 1545. But we only had twenty minutes to spend in there as we arrived a little later than planned! But it was still a very interesting walk round. And at least we can now say that we've done it- finally! 

One of the most underrated attractions in Portmouth is the Victorian battle-ship, HMS Warrior. She was one of the first iron-clad ships, and was so large and scary that she never took part in a single battle, as enemy ships would just run away at the very sight of her! 
 It's always a good visit, and, once you've bought your ticket at the Dockyard, you can go aboard as many times as you want for a year!

The same doesn't apply for Victory, however, as you are only allowed one visit, and, annoyingly, you are no longer able to buy tickets for individual attractions. >:( 
 So this year, we couldn't go on the Victory, but I was more than happy just to sit and look at her! She is a truely magnificent ship, and she never, ever, fails to impress me! 
 She is currently going under a massive restoration and half her masts and rigging are gone, as well as her figurehead, and as you can see work is being done to her hull- which I think gives us quite an interesting view of the structure of the ship. This has been, and will be going on, for quite a few months and I think she'll look fantastic when she's finally finished!

There is also work being done on a new museum for the wreck of the Mary Rose to be placed in. So, although you can still go into the old museum, which we did for the first time, and let me assure you, it was still awesome, you are currently unable to see the Mary Rose.  Fortunately, the new museum is in it's final stages of development and is due to be opening soon, so next year I should finally be able to see the Mary Rose!

Here's my little sister wearing Tudor-style armour inside the museum!

Also at the Historic Dockyard is the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), which has a lot on the age of sail but is rather limited on everything beyond that, although this doesn't really bother me much! 

Within the museum is the Nelson Gallery, which I could quite happily live in, for it has quite a few impressive relics, as well as memorablia! There is also, as you can see, a Nelson effigy, which I think is pretty good apart from the hair. I'm quite sure Nelson wasn't blonde!

One of the most impressive things there is a book on seamanship given by Capt. Maurice Suckling to Nelson in 1771 when he was just a midshipman. It would be fascinating to read it and learn what the young Nelson would have learnt from it. There is also a toothpick, a watch, a sextant and some buckles which belonged to him, among many other relics. I would definitely recommend it for any Nelson fan!

One of the things we didn't get around to doing, was go up the Spinnaker Tower. It is located in Gunwharf Quays shopping centre, and is some 170 metres tall (two and a half times as tall as Nelson's column!), with the largest glass floor in Europe. At night it's often lit up, making it look very pretty, and a wonderful addition to Portsmouth's skyline.
 We said for the last few years that we would make an effort to go up again, and we never did. This year, once again, we failed in our mission to go up the Spinnaker Tower.

A highlight of the holiday for me was meeting, for the second time, Alex and Finni, who played the official Nelson and Emma during the Trafalgar celebrations a few years ago. They are such friendly people, and they certainly know their stuff! They also gave us cake. Yummy.
 Big thanks to them! :D

The night we left was one to remember, simply because of the really thick fog that came in out of nowhere! We could only see a ghostly glow of the Spinnaker Tower from where we were parked, which was about five minutes away from Gunwharf Quays! And there were fog horns going off constantly. It was quite eerie, but very cool, although I'm not sure how thrilled I'd be if I lived there!

Back in home, I really do feel like I'm in the wrong place. I'd love to live in Pompey one day, although it's a quite a long way from where I live in Worcestershire! 
 Maybe if I do well enough with my A-Levels, and then get a good degree, I could work in the NMRN... :D

Below is a video of the holiday in Portsmouth with images taken mostly by me using my mom's very cool camera! Thanks mom! :)

8/30/2012 04:58:12

Sounds like you had a great time :^) I've been planning to go to Portsmouth this year, but like you it's the cost of the train that's stopping me! But I really hope you do get to see the effigy in Westminster Abbey one day - I went a couple of weeks ago and it's simply amazing (I put a picture of it on my blog). I agree with you about the hair on the Portsmouth one!

(also, your sister looks super cute in that armour!)

8/30/2012 07:51:41

It was great! Definitely go when you can, you'd love it I'm sure!

I am soo jealous of you having seen the effigy! But, I'll get there one day. :)

I will inform Skye that you admired her photo- she will be very excited! :)

10/11/2012 22:28:20

You have shared here valuable information about Portsmouth and wonderful experience. I had never heard about this place before. I really enjoyed your worthy post. I am thankful for that.


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    Hi there! I am second in command here at HMSH!
     My name is Rae-Rae and and I live in Worcestershire in the UK.
     I am a teen Nelson enthusiast and my passion has lasted since I was only nine- over seven years!
     I aim (rather ambitiously!) to rekindle the love of Nelson and his Navy for the younger generations and make him a well-known hero again. I want his memory never to fade!
     Please do check my YouTube channel for any Nelson-related videos, as I do post on there from time to time!


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