Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

About Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson is home to the Royal Armouries national collection of artillery and historic cannon – the big guns – and is a great day out for all the family.

Step back in time and explore a fully restored Victorian fort with its high ramparts, original fortifications, massive parade ground and underground tunnels, plus a national museum housing over 700 pieces of artillery from across the world and spanning 600 years of history – each with their own story to tell.

Located in a key position above Portsmouth, Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s to protect against a potential invasion by the French, which never materialised.

Although never used for its original purpose the Fort played a significant role in both World Wars; as barracks for troops waiting to be deployed to the front line in the First, and as an anti-aircraft ammunition supply depot during the Second.

Discover the Fort’s intriguing history in the building itself and through the museum exhibits.

Highlights of the collection on display include an innovative 15th -century Turkish bombard, a gigantic 200-tonne railway howitzer and the infamous Iraqi supergun.

With an exciting collection of big guns, stunning panoramic views, entertaining children’s activities, a museum shop packed with gifts and souvenirs, and a café serving delicious refreshments – there is something for everyone to enjoy at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson.

Opening times: Term time: Open Wednesdays to Sundays (closed Mondays & Tuesdays) School holidays: Open daily 1 April – 31 October: Opens 10am / Closes 5pm 1 November – 31 March: Opens 10am / Closes 4pm

Car parking £3
No animals except assistance (guide/hearing) dogs.

Why should I visit?

    • Free admission to the site and museum
    • Children activities on offer all year-round
    • It’s the best-preserved Victorian fort of its type
    • Explore the secret tunnels and underground chambers
    • A great Cafe serving light meals, snacks and hot drinks


Assistance dogs allowed
Baby changing facilities
Disabled parking available
Gift shop
On site parking
Suitable for ages 12 and above
Suitable for ages 3 and above
Suitable for ages 5 and above
Suitable for ages 8 and above
Tour Guide – we require booking for this facility
View all

Next event

D-Day: A Portsmouth Story

24th May 2024 - 1st Sep 2024

Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

A new exhibition will open at Fort Nelson to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day - free admission. The special exhibition, D-Day: A Portsmouth... 

View all

Discount tickets and vouchers

There are currently no discounts available on tickets, parking or entry. Please sign up to get the latest vouchers as they become available. Or View all of our vouchers.

Where to find us


Fort Nelson
Portsdown Hill Road
PO17 6AN

Find us online

By car

Exit the M27 junction 11. Follow the brown tourist signs for the Royal Armouries.

By train

Mainline stations Havant (20 minutes by taxi), Fareham (10 minutes by taxi), Portchester (3 minutes by taxi)

Kids activities

harry hampshire

There is so much for kids to do at Fort Nelson, some of the activities include:

  • Treasure boxes: A range of free treasure boxes contains a selection of toys, stories and suggested activities designed to provide hands-on-fun for inquisitive pre-schoolers (0-4 years).
  • Eerie tunnels and underground chambers to investigate (all ages).
  • 19 acres of Victorian Fort to explore including the ramparts, parade and galleries (all ages).
  • Rifle machine gun simulators: Youngsters can test their marksmanship skills on an electronic rifle, and machine gun ranges (4+ years).
  • Season events throughout the year for young visitors including special Sunday gun firings with uniformed detachments (all ages)

Don't miss out! Sign up to get offers, competitions and days out ideas!

Don't miss out! Sign up to get offers, competitions and days out ideas!

Sign up to the Hampshire's Top Attractions enewsletters. We'll send you an email once or twice a month, with ideas for days out, upcoming events, discounts at attractions and special competitions across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with Hampshire's Top Attractions.

Thank you for signing up to the Hampshire's Top Attractions enewsletters! Remember to pop us on your safe senders list.