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The Historic Dockyard is a fascinating and awe-inspiring place for young visitors. Our Early Years and Key Stage One visitors are always amazed by the size of the ships and buildings in our collection and there is always plenty to see and do. Where else can your pupils board a real ship, meet a pirate, visit a collection of historic lifeboats and play in our indoor or outdoor play areas all on the same day?

If you would like an accompanied visit, our expert learning team member will guide and assist your group throughout your visit.



Make your own skipping rope

Investigate the rope making process in the Ropery, the longest brick building in Europe. Work together to make a class piece of rope on our specially- designed model machine, adding handles to make it into a class skipping rope and use it to skip to a traditional chant.

What’s in the Bag? Maritime material handling session

In this session, your pupils will investigate sealed bags containing a selection of materials used in shipbuilding. In groups, children model a ship hull shape from polymer and float it in our bespoke ship-model testing tank to discover how metal ships float even under wind and wave conditions.

Jack and the Flum Flum Tree by Julia Donaldson

Jack’s Granny is sick with a bad case of the moozles! And the only cure is the fruit of the fantastic Flum Flum tree which grows on the faraway Isle of Blowyernose. Children take part in story time, deciding what they would take in their patchwork bag if they were going on a journey like Jack.

Pirates Ahoy! Your own swashbuckling adventure…

Board our historic sailing ship, HMS Gannet, to meet our resident pirate and experience the life of a swashbuckler first-hand. Dressing up, singing, playing percussion instruments and storytelling will fire your pupils’ imagination. Make your own pieces of eight to take back to class as souvenirs of your pirate adventure.

Grace Darling: Victorian Heroine

Experiencing the highlights of the largest collection of RNLI Historic lifeboats in the country, pupils will re-enact the inspirational story of Grace Darling in the atmospheric lifeboat station (weather permitting). Using costume, props and sound effects, they will bring this Victorian heroine’s story to life.

Full Speed Ahead! Ship Building Challenge

Stimulated by the National Maritime Museum model collection, pupils work in groups to build a ship’s hull and fit it with a motor. Facing the challenge of the tow tank wind and wave machine, groups compete against each other in trials, evaluating their designs.

Ready, Aim, Fire: Rocket Launching

Taking their inspiration from the Sea Cat missiles on board HMS Cavalier, The Historic Dockyard’s own Destroyer, your pupils will work in teams to create rockets and fire them from our specially designed air pressure launcher, aiming to hit a target. Which team will sink the battleship?