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Whilst many of the Government’s rules and guidelines have been relaxed, the threat of the virus remains high and we have a duty of care to keep all users of our historic estate safe. There are several safety measures that we have chosen to keep in place to help mitigate risk and ensure everyone has a safe but enjoyable visit to The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Please take a few moments to read our ‘know before you go’ information below and our frequently asked questions.

Charting new waters

... learn the ropes

The Dockyard was once the country’s largest and most important industrial site. Today its surviving Slips, big enough to protect mighty warships; and magnificent Mast Houses, long enough to store ships masts as tall as 90ft, mean there is no shortage of space and fresh air around our 80-acre heritage estate.

We continue to operate a number of measures 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 recommended.

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.

Go with the current

One-way systems through galleries.

Take Cover

We ask that face coverings are worn within all covered spaces to ensure your own safety and that of others.
For visits to HM Submarine Ocelot, face coverings are mandatory at all times

We've battened down the hatches

Some experiences will be operating differently

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.

We recommend that you book your visit date prior to arrival.

Let’s face it, virus or no virus, no one likes to queue. Our entrance is often one of the busiest parts of the Dockyard and by paying for your ticket in advance, we will be able to process your tickets quicker, meaning you can get into the Dockyard quicker and start enjoying your visit. 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.

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

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.
  • 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. Staff will also be behind Perspex screens in our shops and catering outlets.
  • Our main shop is accessible via the exit and accepts contactless or card payments.
  • 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 ticket and free up a place for someone else.

NHS Test and Trace

We are no longer legally required to request the contact details of our visitors. 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

The Mess Deck restaurant is open, serving a variety of menu options including our famous fish and chips. Food and drink, including Kentish pies and sausage rolls, is also available from the Wagon Stop Canteen.

There is a queuing system in place in both Mess Deck and Wagon Stop and we encourage you to use your time in the queue to make your menu choices. This will help our staff serve you quickly and keep the queue moving as efficiently as possible.

Seating is available inside and outside at both the Wagon Stop and The Mess Deck. Cleaning of these areas takes place throughout the day.

You are welcome to bring your own food. Additional seating is available outside and we encourage you to use our picnic spaces and enjoy Commissioner’s Garden.

Shopping opportunities are available within the Ropery Shop and main Visitor Entrance, selling unique hand-made rope gifts and Call the Midwife merchandise.

We've battened down the hatches

... tours, attractions & galleries

A one-way system is in operation through all our gallery spaces and historic ships. The one-way system helps make sure you don’t miss the best bits of our stories and collections.

Most of our galleries use natural ventilation and we make 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 is fully open with one-way access above and below deck. We encourage face coverings be worn in the internal spaces.

HMS Cavalier is open with access to the Petty Officers Mess and Port Corridor with views into the Wireless Operators Room, NAAFI, Sound Re-Production Office and Ships Office. For the first time, you can also access the Aft End internal spaces with views of the sick bay, laundry and overnight accommodation. The Squid Deck is now open. We are operating a one-way system with managed capacity in the internal spaces. We encourage face coverings be worn in the internal spaces.

Cavalier’s Ward Room and Bridge remain closed due to ongoing conservation works.

HM Submarine Ocelot is open and entry is via timed ticket only. Tickets can be booked on arrival at the Historic Dockyard in our ‘plan your visit’ area. We are carefully controlling numbers inside the submarine at any one time and your mini-tour will be led by a member of our knowledgeable team. Tours last approximately 15 minutes and group sizes are limited to 15.

Ocelot is an enclosed space with little to no natural ventilation. Face coverings are mandatory in the internal spaces of the submarine (unless you have a medical exemption) for the safety and wellbeing of our visitors and staff. There are numerous handrails throughout the experience to assist you moving through the hatches and stairways. We ask that you sanitise your hands thoroughly before and after your submarine experience.

Our knowledgeable staff will be on hand to assist your visit and tell the fascinating stories of our cold war submarine. A digital tour is also available (accessible via your personal mobile device) to help you discover more about her adventures at sea.

The Ropery

Your Ropery Experience can be booked on arrival. During the 30-minute experience you’ll learn about the ancient art of ropemaking, its vital role in supporting Chatham’s shipbuilding and discover why our enormous double ropewalk is ¼ mile long. You’ll also have the opportunity to get hands-on with our ropemaking machine, before exploring the breath-taking ropery buildings.

Rope demonstrations by the Master Ropemakers take place Monday – Friday when commercial rope making is underway.

Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744

Our 2022, temporary exhibition, Diving Deep: HMS Invincible 1744 is showing until 20 November.

Access to the exhibition is free as part of your entry ticket to the Dockyard. The gallery has a one-way system. You may be asked to queue and wait a short time before you enter the gallery as we will be limiting 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.
  • We encourage you to wear a face covering in our internal spaces

Keeping things shipshape

... enhanced cleaning

We still provide the warm welcome you have come to expect with a visit to the Dockyard but this is done from a safe distance.

All staff 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. We encourage regular testing with all our staff members.

At our ticket desk, in the Mess Deck restaurant, Wagon Stop Canteen and in the shops our staff are behind protective Perspex screens. Inside our galleries and other internal spaces we encourage them to wear face coverings.

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.

There are 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 make 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.

Frequently asked questions

... know before you go

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

No, if you already have a valid ticket to The Historic Dockyard Chatham, you do not need to book your visit in advance.

What happens if I turn up without a ticket?

It is no longer mandatory to pre-book your visit. If you turn up without a ticket/arrival time, please join the queue at our ticket desk and we can process your ticket(s) on arrival.

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

 We will:

  • Minimise queues at our ticket desks through recommending all visitors pre-book their visit
  • 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
  • Supply hand sanitiser stations across the site

In return we ask you to: 

  • Not visit if you, or anyone in your party, is unwell
  • Respect our staff and fellow visitors
  • Use our hand sanitiser stations at every opportunity, especially before entering our gallery spaces
  • Follow the one-way systems
  • Enjoy your visit and come again

Are Call the Midwife Official Location tours running?

Yes, Call the Midwife Official Location 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 ’40s still going ahead?

Subject to Government guidance around major events, we intend to run Salute to the ’40s on 10 and 11 September 2022. 

Find out more

How do I book a carer ticket?

Carers receive a complimentary ticket when accompanying a disabled visitor. 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?

There is no need to book/pay for your ticket in advance. On the date you wish to visit, please arrive at our entrance with your English Heritage pass and we will process your ticket(s) on the day. 

I have an Art Fund pass – how can I use it?

There is no need to book/pay for your ticket in advance. On the date you wish to visit, please arrive at our entrance with your English Heritage pass and we will process your ticket(s) on the day. 

More Frequently Asked Questions.