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The Royal Navy’s success at sea during the 18th and 19th centuries was made possible through Britain’s long-term state funding of both the Navy and a network of shore support facilities built across the world.

Royal Dockyards, like Chatham, were at the heart of this shore support infrastructure providing the Navy with the facilities it required to build, repair and maintain the fleet. By the mid-18th Century they had developed into the world’s largest industrial organisations employing thousands of well-paid skilled artisans working in a wide number of trades. Central to any Royal Dockyard were their dry docks and it was the quantity of these expensive structures that set the Royal Yards apart from merchant shipyards.


The Historic Dockyard Chatham is now open to visitors.

For your safety, and in line with the latest government guidelines, things will be different from your last visit and there will be a few changes to how you’ll explore our 80-acre site. Please take a moment to read our ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO‘ information.

If you have any queries that are not answered on this page, please contact us via 

If you are trying to contact us via telephone, we are experiencing a high volume of calls and we ask for your patience during this time.