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Currently closed to visitors

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is currently closed to visitors.

We had every intention of reopening for the 2021 season on 13 February but the Government guidelines did not allow us to do so.

We will carry on following the changing Government guidance, continually assessing risk and will communicate as we know more. Please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for the latest updates. We will reopen to visitors once restrictions allow and it is safe for all users of the Historic Dockyard, this will be no earlier than 17 May 2021.

We will be extending the expiry date on annual tickets to cover the period that we are closed. Once we have confirmed our opening date, we will be in touch with further information regarding new expiry dates.

For those who may have purchased a new ticket but not yet visited, tickets will not be activated until the first visit.

If you have any questions please contact but please bear in mind our teams are all working remotely and the majority are doing so on a flexible furlough basis.

When we are ready to re-open please see the updates below as things will be different from your last visit and there will be a few changes to how you’ll explore our 80-acre site.

All visitors must book an arrival time in advance
(including annual ticket holders)


Please take a few moments to read our ‘know before you go’ information below and our frequently asked questions.  As we adjust our sails and adapt to our new ways of working, we ask for your patience – this is as new to us as it is to you.

You can help us ensure safe voyages for all Dockyard users, we ask that you:

  • Respect the rules and guidance
  • Protect yourself and each other
  • Enjoy your visit

Charting new waters

... learn the ropes

We’ve still got 400 years of fascinating history and 80-acres to explore but this summer there will be a few different ways to embark on your maritime adventure.

In line with the latest government guidelines, we’ve introduced a number of changes to help facilitate your visit and ensure we protect you, your family and our staff. Please familiarise yourself with these before your visit.

As always, our friendly staff will be on hand to help during your visit.



Always seaworthy

Advance online bookings with allocated arrival times only.
Limited number of tickets each day.

Chart your course

Download our map onto your mobile device before your visit.

Keeping things shipshape

Hand sanitiser stations across the site.
Enhanced & regular cleaning regimes.

Toe the line

Abide by social distancing rules.

Go with the current

One-way systems through galleries.

Hands 'off' deck

Contactless or card payments only.

Take Cover

We ask that face coverings are worn within all covered spaces to ensure your own safety and that of others. 

We've battened down the hatches

Some experiences will be closed.
Interactive displays will be disabled.

Abandon Ship

You should not visit if you, or anyone in your party, is feeling unwell or if you should be in isolation.

Always seaworthy

... Ticketing & Entry

Advance / pre-paid visits & arrival times only.

It is essential for everyone to purchase a ticket (where required), book a date and an arrival time prior to a visit.

Our entrance and ticket desk is often one of the busiest parts of the Dockyard, that’s why we’ve introduced advance tickets with allocated arrival times. This helps us stagger the number of visitors arriving at any one time and minimise queues.

The number of tickets available each day is limited to allow us to control the number of visitors within The Historic Dockyard site.

Advance tickets with an arrival time are required for everyone for each visit – including existing annual ticket holders.

Once inside the Dockyard, you are free to explore and there is no time limit on your visit – you are welcome to stay until we close (currently 5pm). Please follow our site rules, they are in place to ensure a safe visit for everyone.

For regular visitors, our entrance will look slightly different to what you have come to expect, this is to allow adequate space for queuing and to implement a one-way system.

We ask that face coverings are worn within all covered spaces to ensure your own safety and that of others (children under 11 are exempt).

Please note:

  • Entry is via the main visitor entrance only (next to our main car park). Pedestrian access is NOT permitted via Dock Road. Please do not alight from public transport at this point, instead continue to the stop adjacent to St Georges Centre. Please be aware, if you are walking from Chatham Station, your walk time will be considerably longer because of this.
  • Try to avoid arriving earlier than your pre-booked time. If you arrive early, please wait in your car. You are also welcome to use the outdoor play and toilet facilities located to the left of the entrance ramp.
  • You may be required to queue for a short period. A marked queuing system will be in place.
  • Our staff at the Ticket Desk will be behind a Perspex screen
  • The Mess Deck Restaurant (including its toilet facilities) is temporarily closed.
  • You will no longer exit via the usual route. The new exit is next to the Fish and Shippy – beside the main visitor entrance – this is clearly signposted on-site.
  • Our main shop is accessible via the exit and accepts contactless or card payments only.
  • Car parking is outdoors at the Mast Pond. Signage will direct you on arrival.

Change of plan?

If you pre-book a ticket but become unwell or think you won’t be able to visit, please send a message to, we can release your arrival time and free up a place for someone else.

Annual ticket holders

Once you’ve purchased a ticket for The Historic Dockyard Chatham you can enjoy unlimited access for a year. We have been closed to visitors since 18 March and, whilst this has been beyond our control, we value our regular visitors and appreciate your patience during this challenging period.

For this reason, all annual tickets will be extended to reflect the time that we have been closed during the period of your membership. For example, if your membership expired on 18 April, you will receive a 1 month extension on your ticket. If your ticket is due to expire on 18 September, you will receive a 4 month extension on your ticket.

The extension period will commence on 25 July 2020 (not from the date of your visit).

Please note:

  • If you have an annual ticket, you still need to book your arrival time in advance of your visit.
  • Your ticket will be updated with a new expiry date at our ticket desk on your next visit. You have until 31 October 2020 to validate your ticket with its updated expiry date.
  • If you have purchased an annual ticket but have not yet activated it, your 12 month visitor period will begin from the date of your first visit.
  • Freedom Pass Holders should follow the same instructions as an annual ticket holder. You will be required to show your pass at the ticket desk to validate your ticket.

NHS Test and Trace

We are legally required to request the contact details of our visitors. We will record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test and Trace without delay when required. We will record the name of the lead member of your group/party/family and the number of people in the group, a contact phone number, the date of your visit and your arrival time.  These details will be collected via our secure booking system when you book your visit.

In addition, the NHS Test and Trace QR code is displayed at our main visitor entrance and in our catering outlets. If you have the NHS COVID-19 app, please scan the QR code using your smartphone to check-in on arrival.

Eat, drink & shop

Food and drink, including Kentish pies and sausage rolls, will be available from the Wagon Stop Canteen. The Mess Deck Restaurant is closed but our famous fish & chips will be available from “The Dockyard Fish & Shippy” via the outdoor terrace service area.

There will be a queuing system and we encourage you to use your time in the queue to make your menu choices. This will enable our staff serve you quickly and the queue to keep moving as efficiently as possible. We will be accepting contactless and card payments only.

Seating will be available inside Wagon Stop and cleaning of this area will take place throughout the day. Additional seating will be available outside and we encourage visitors to use our picnic spaces and enjoy Commissioner’s Garden.

You are welcome to bring your own food and enjoy our open spaces for picnics.

The Ropery Shop will be open, selling unique hand-made rope gifts and Call the Midwife merchandise.

We've battened down the hatches

... tours, attractions & galleries

A one-way system will be in operation through our gallery spaces. This includes Command of the Oceans; Hearts of Oak; RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection; 3 Slip: The Big Space; Steam, Steel and Submarines; and No.1 Smithery.

During busy periods you may have to queue for a short time to enter our galleries. This enables us to control the number of visitors within the spaces and ensure everyone is able to maintain a safe social distance.

Most of our galleries use natural ventilation and we will be making the most of windows and doors to improve ventilation. No. 1 Smithery has air-conditioned galleries which have been adapted to prevent the recycling of air within the spaces.

Three Historic Warships

HMS Gannet will be open with one-way access to the main deck only.

We have now opened HMS Cavalier for limited visits on main decks only (inside spaces are still restricted until further notice).

Due to the confined spaces and touch points, HM Submarine Ocelot will be closed for visits until further notice.

However, you can experience HM Submarine Ocelot virtually via a new audio tour which can be accessed via your mobile device onsite.


The Victorian Ropery

Tours of The Victorian Ropery will no longer need to be pre-booked and access to the Ropery will operate on a new one-way, free flow circuit.

Rope demonstrations will take place when commercial rope making is underway.

Our interactive facilities have been temporarily withdrawn.

Tattoo: British Tattoo Art (finally) Revealed

We’re pleased to be able to open the doors to our temporary exhibition, Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed.

Access to the exhibition is free as part of your entry ticket to the Dockyard. The gallery will operate as a one-way system. You may be asked to queue and wait a short time before you enter the gallery as we will be limited the number of people inside at any one time.

Please note:

  • There will be hand sanitising stations at the entrance to galleries. Please use these before entering.
  • Please be patient as some galleries and areas may need to close briefly throughout the day for sanitising
  • Some experiences, such as HM Submarine Ocelot will be closed until further notice.

Keeping things shipshape

... enhanced cleaning

We will still be providing the warm welcome you have come to expect with a visit to the Dockyard. In all cases, this will now be done from a safe distance.

All staff will have their temperature checked on arrival at the Dockyard. Any staff with a high reading or experiencing signs of illness will not be allowed to report to work.

In areas where staff cannot maintain a 2m distance, such as at our ticket desk, Wagon Stop Canteen and inside our galleries, they will be behind protective Perspex screens or wearing face protection.

Our staff will continuously clean toilets and high touch point areas throughout the day, enhancing our already stringent cleaning standards. Electrostatic cleaning will take place once per day in all public areas.

Some areas will close briefly during the day for sanitisation and some areas and exhibits will be temporarily unavailable.

There will be a number of sanitisation stations across the site and we request that you use these frequently, especially at our entrance and prior to visiting any of our gallery spaces.

Most of our galleries use natural ventilation and we will be making the most of windows and doors to improve ventilation. No. 1 Smithery has air-conditioned galleries which have been adapted to prevent the recycling of air within the spaces.


The COVID-19 crisis and the forced closure of our visitor attraction has inevitably had a huge financial impact on Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.

As an independent charity we receive very little funding from government, meaning we are solely reliant on generating our own sources of income. Revenue from ticket sales, tours, corporate hire and weddings all contribute towards a substantial percentage of our annual income and help us meet the considerable expenditure required for preserving a 400-year old historic site, its scheduled ancient monuments, working Victorian ropery and three historic warships.

Your support through the purchase and renewal of tickets is one of the best ways to help us weather this storm. It is always very much appreciated. The presence of visitors in the ‘Yard’ helps keep the site alive and the Dockyard spirit strong.

We need your help now more than ever and there are some further ways you can support our work:

Frequently asked questions

... know before you go

What is timed ticketing?

We’ve introduced a pre-book, pre-pay, timed arrival procedure. This applies to everyone who wishes to visit The Historic Dockyard. This helps us stagger the number of visitors arriving at any one time, minimise queues and control the number of visitors on site.

To book your advance ticket:

  1. If you would like to buy a new ticket click here / If you have an annual ticket click here
  2. Select the date
  3. Select the entry time
  4. Select the number of visitors in your party

What if I miss my time slot?

Time slots have been put in place to help stagger the number of visitors arriving at any one time. If you miss your time slot, please arrive as soon as you are able and join the back of the queue. Your tickets will be included in the daily capacity and you will still be able to visit.

I have an annual ticket, do I still need to book a ticket in advance?

Yes, all visitors to The Historic Dockyard need to book a ticket and arrival time in advance, regardless of whether they have an annual ticket or buying a new one.

What happens if I turn up without a ticket/arrival time?

All visitors need to pre-book an arrival time in advance. This allows us to control the number of visitors at our ticket desks and on site each day. If you have not pre-booked an arrival time, you will not be able to visit the Dockyard.

We recommend you visit our website and book the next available arrival time, unless we have reached our capacity for the day.

Will my annual ticket be extended to cover the period that you’ve been closed?

 All annual tickets that had not expired before 18 March 2020 will be extended to reflect the time that we have been closed during the period of your membership. For example, if your membership expired on 18 April, you will receive a 1 month extension on your ticket. If your ticket is due to expire on 18 September, you will receive a 4 month extension on your ticket.

The extension period will commence on 25 July 2020 (not from the date of your visit).

Is everything open? What is closed?

 Due to the latest government restrictions and with safety our priority, sadly we are not able to operate all our facilities as normal.

 The following facilities will be temporarily closed:

  • HM Submarine Ocelot
  • The Mess Deck Restaurant (indoors)
  • Wagon Stop Indoor Play
  • 3 Slip Mezzanine

 What are you doing to keep me safe during my visit?

 We will:

  • Restrict our visitor numbers
  • Minimise queues at our ticket desks through pre-booked, staggered arrival times
  • Give a warm welcome Dockyard welcome, from a distance and behind a Perspex screen at our ticket desks, catering and retail facilities
  • Train our staff on working within a Covid-safe environment
  • Use one-way systems through our gallery spaces
  • Operate contactless payment in our catering and retail spaces
  • Increase our already stringent cleaning regimes, including electrostatic cleaning of all public spaces daily
  • Install hand sanitiser stations across the site

In return we ask you to: 

  • Not visit if you, or anyone in your party, is unwell
  • Respect that our staff are learning new ways of working
  • Keep your distance from other visitors, staff and site users
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds after using facilities 
  • Use our hand sanitiser stations at every opportunity, especially before entering our gallery spaces 
  • Follow the one-way systems and abide by our queuing systems
  • Be patient when areas are closed for cleaning
  • Enjoy your visit and come again

Are Call the Midwife Official Location tours running?

Call the Midwife Official Location tours recommenced on Saturday 1 August. Tours run on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to the end of October.

If you have an existing booking or would like to redeem a gift voucher please contact with your preferred date.

If you would like to make a new booking please click here.

Please note Call the Midwife Official Location tours are not included in a general entry ticket to The Historic Dockyard.

 Is Salute to the 40’s still going ahead?

Whilst the world adjusts to living and working within the latest Covid-19 safety restrictions, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has needed to carefully review its operations, including future programming and events.

Salute to the 40’s is always a busy, vibrant event that brings people together from all over the country. At this time we feel that, within the current government guidelines, we would not be able to operate the event safely for our visitors, traders and staff.

We have therefore taken the difficult decision to postpone Salute to the 40’s until we can safely meet again.

Find out more

Will the Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed exhibition be open?

We are thrilled that Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed remains on display in our No.1 Smithery gallery. Entry is included in your admission ticket to the Dockyard.

Find out more

I have a valid/Medical reason for NOT wearing a face covering

Please speak with our Front of House team on arrival, explaining your position on this, and we will provide you (or a member of your party) with a discreet paper wristband to indicate your exemption from this. This will help our staff during your visit and stop them approaching about a face covering you each time you enter an enclosed space. 

The date I want to visit isn’t listed on your website?

We are currently releasing session dates 2 weeks in advance.

How do I book a carer ticket?

Carers receive a complimentary ticket when accompanying a disabled visitor. Please book via our “I have an annual ticket” page to reserve your arrival time. On arrival, you will be asked to show a form of ID to validate your ticket.  

I have an English Heritage discount card – how can I use it?

We are currently running a price promotion on our entry tickets (which is better than the English Heritage discount) and an English Heritage card cannot be used in conjunction with this offer.

More Frequently Asked Questions.