What would Vice Admiral Lord Nelson make of it? The new Queen Elizabeth class carrier is 35 times the size of his famous flagship HMS Victory and four times her length.
Visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will get the very best view of Britain’s largest aircraft carrier ever built this summer now she has arrived in her home port.
Views of the 65,000 tonne, 280-metre long carrier are possible from HMS Victory’s poop deck, the viewing platform of The National Museum of the Royal Navy and from the water on a harbour tour and are sure to be top of everyone’s bucket list.
Victory, a harbour tour and the National Museum are included in the Historic Dockyard’s all attraction ticket which includes 11 attractions charting the ins and outs of Britain’s 800 years of ground-breaking naval heritage.
Director of Visitor Experience John Rawlinson says: “The excitement is palpable about the arrival of the carriers. The best views of the carrier will be from our site and I can think of no better place to view this naval icon than from the ships that have defined our history like HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and the Mary Rose. The future of the Royal Navy is firmly embedded with the past – it will be a real highlight for our visitors and an absolute must-see.” To coincide with the carrier’s arrival into Portsmouth, there is a new Aircraft Carrier exhibition in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Storehouse Number 9.
For more than a century, the Royal Navy has led the way in operating aircraft from ships, and designing and building specialist aircraft carriers. The arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2017 and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales in 2020 marks the latest phase in this long history.
The exhibition charts the unique history of aircraft carrier development, from the beginnings of naval aviation where reconnaissance sea planes were craned on and off converted cruisers, through to the first specialist seaplane carrier HMS Hermes in 1924, to HMS Illustrious the last of the ‘innovative jump jet carriers’ decommissioned in 2014.