HMS Warrior 1860

We look at how a trip to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and the HMS Warrior 1860 can tie in with curriculum linked subjects suitable for all Key Stages.

Subjects that can be covered at the dockyard include English, Maths, History, Geography, Science, Design and Technology, and Business.

The HMS Warrior 1860, docked at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of its opening to the public following its triumphant return to Portsmouth. It offers an array of school workshops for children to get hands-on and learn about the history and engineering behind the ship.

The HMS Warrior 1860

HMS Warrior 1860 has dominated the seascape in Portsmouth Harbour and is undoubtedly one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. Launched in 1860, the HMS Warrior was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet. It was said to be the fastest ship in the world during that time and so intimidated its enemies, protecting Britain from attack.

On-board HMS Warrior pupils in Key Stage 3 and 4 can have the chance to interview 'Florence Nightingale' about her life and work as well as question the 'ship surgeon' about his techniques. Students can also learn about the social developments in Britain during the 19th century. 

For Key Stage 1 pupils, the Shipwright's Challenge workshop helps them discover materials used to create the battleship and includes games and challenges. 

For Key Stage 2, pupils can use Science investigations and team challenges to discover the ingenuity of Victorian engineering and compare the Warrior’s design and construction to other ships such as the Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Western, SS Great Eastern and SS Great Britain.

HMS Warrior 1860

Pictured: HMS Warrior 1860 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

What else to see when visiting the dockyard

The HMS Warrior 1860 isn’t the only ship docked in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and schools visiting can also hop on board the famous HMS Victory which links to Lord Nelson. On the HMS Victory, school groups can enjoy a self-guided visit. For Key Stage 3 groups there is also a workshop which allows pupils to go behind-the-scene and look at historical archives to learn more about Nelson and his ship.

The Mary Rose Museum, recently refurbished, holds the famous Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s key ship. At the museum children from Key Stages 1-4 can learn about the history of the ship and the Tudor period. For Key Stage 3 and 4, students can take a workshop in Leisure, Travel and Tourism, relating to Business Studies. There's also a Science, Conservation & The Mary Rose workshop for Key Stage 3 which links to Chemistry and Biology. During this workshop students can use microscopes to examine wood cell structure and investigate the changes caused to the ship from 437 years under the sea.

Schools can also learn a lot from visiting the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth. With workshops suitable for all Key Stages, pupils can learn about Nelson's shipmates, slavery, Elizabethan discovery, archived history and pirates.

School information

There are online resource available on the website which children and teachers can use both before and after a visit to develop understanding of the attractions and their significance. 

School ticket rates are available.

Tickets to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard includes entry to the Mary Rose Museum, HMS Warrior 1860, HMS Victory, The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, Boathouse 4, HMS M.33 and Action Stations. 

Also included is admission to our off-site attractions, including Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and HMS Alliance, all in Gosport. Plus a complimentary waterbus to the Gosport attractions and a 45 minute Harbour Tour.

For more information, visit

Lead image: HMS Warrior 1860