Historic Dockyard Chatham

From sailing ships to submarines – The Royal Dockyard at Chatham has been building and repairing ships for The Royal Navy from 1570 in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign through to Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

The dockyard is spread over 80 acres with 3 historic ships, including a submarine, that you can visit as well as the historic buildings so allow plenty of time for your visit.

We needed timed tickets to visit both the submarine HMS Ocelot and the Victorian Ropery, so our tip is to book these as soon as possible.  Your ticket is valid for a year from purchase, so Papa Joe and I will be back to see the things we have missed.

historic dockyard chatham ocelot submarine 2

Papa Joe has found the target

Suitable for  4+

Where: Chatham Historic Dockyard, Main Gate Road,Chatham,Kent (sat nav ME4 4TY) 
Admission: Under 5 Free – Concessions, Family Tickets. All tickets are valid for 12 months
Website: www.thedockyard.co.uk

Being able to go inside the submarine was fascinating, but at times challenging as there are lots of narrow ladders and hatches to move through.

historic dockyard chatham ocelot submarine 1

Sliding through a narrow hatch on HMS Ocelot

historic dockyard chatham ocelot submarine 3

HMS Ocelot was the last warship built at Chatham Dockyard

We also visited the Victorian naval sloop HMS Gannet and the Second World War Destroyer HMS Cavalier.   As well as the large historic ships, you can see The RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection and other smaller boats on display.

historic dockyard chatham midget submarine

A midget submarine – even harder to fit into than HMS Ocelot

We are fascinated by industrial archaeology and old machinery, so Papa Joe and I really enjoyed wandering around ‘The Big Space’ exhibit full of big things, many of them made of metal.

historic dockyard chatham big space 1

Giant tools, boats of all sizes, and Kitchener’s Railway Carriage are all housed in a magnificent wooden building

We had a tour of  the huge Victorian Ropery.  When it was built, it was the longest brick built building in Europe. It is still being used to make rope today and the modern rope makers use bicycles to travel from one end of the rope making floor to the other.

historic dockyard chatham rope making 1

346 metres from end to end

We went on a guided tour by a ‘Victorian Rope Maker’ who showed us how rope was made.
historic dockyard chatham rope making 2

The strands are twisted together to make the rope

I then volunteered to try my hand at rope making.
historic dockyard chatham rope making 3

I had the easy job – walking backward with the finished rope as the other volunteer works the machinery

There are several other buildings with exhibitions to see as well as an indoor softplay area and an outdoor playground for The Mayhems to let off steam.
We had a great day out and will be back.

Getting There Chatham Historic Dockyard, Main Gate Road,Chatham,Kent (sat nav ME4 4TY)  Free Parking
Bus Stop B at Chatham Train Station for buses to The Historic Dockyard.  
Google see map or get directions

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