Top Maritime Escapes
The UK is bursting with maritime history, from our involvement in Nelson's Navy, WWI and WWII to our huge involvement in trade and passenger liners.
Today, ferries and cruise ships can be spotted along our coastlines. The North Sea has been home to gas fields since the 1960s and oil was discovered in Scotland in 1975. Trawling with the use of radio navigation aids and echo sounders is the norm in our seas now and our Coastguard agency forms a respected part of our emergency services.
The UK is proud about its maritime heritage which is shown by the wide amount of museums and exhibitions which allow all ages to learn about our links to the sea in fun and fantastic ways.
There are maritime hotspots all over the UK, some of the best are within an hour’s drive from our top campsites featured below.
The National Maritime Museum, Cornwall
40 minutes from our Veryan Campsite, learn the story of the people for whom the sea has been an essential lifeline and source of food. Cornwall has strong maritime links with the Vikings raiding the area and using it to navigate around the cost. This museum is one of the best places to learn about the story of Vikings and their strong connection to the land. In the Viking Voyagers exhibition, climb on board the Viking ship, learn all about the history and say hello to the friendly Vikings on board.
The 15 galleries are set over 5 floors and include the tidal zone where you can view the underwater world of the harbour through two large windows. The lookout tower is a must see, allowing spectacular views of the harbour, you’ll be supplied with binoculars and telescopes so you can take a closer look.
Visit the nav station gallery where you can try your hand at steering your ship through a narrow channel and if you head to the pontoon just in front of the museum you’ll see some of the boats in real life.
The Mary Rose, Portsmouth
The Mary Rose is a true Tudor treasure trove. The ship foundered in 1545, was discovered in 1971 and was raised in 1982. The Mary Rose is undergoing conservation stages which will continue throughout its life time.
Find out what life was like for the crew on board the Mary Rose, 45% of who have been recovered and are on display. Look out for Hatch, the ships dog who spent all of his life on board the ship, catching rats and watching over day to day life. The museum has a huge database of artefacts found around the Mary Rose discovery site. Amongst the 19,000 or so objects are oak beer tankards, sand timers, leather boots and calfskin leather books.
Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum
The world’s only surviving tea clipper, the fastest of her time, the Cutty Sark is beautifully displayed in Greenwich, just 45 minutes’ drive from out Theobalds Park Club Site.
The ship, dating back to 1870 was originally used to transport tea but went on to deliver wool, newspapers, and oil in its final years. Raised three metres above ground level, visitors are able to walk underneath the magnificent hull, marvelling at the size and construction of the ship. Every effort has been made to ensure all 963 tonnes of the tea clipper provide the best experience for visitors whilst conserving the status of the ship and its keel.
The National Maritime Museum, actually the world’s largest, is just a short distance from the ship. Explore the exhibitions which take you through gripping journeys of discovery and exploration which shaped the world we live in today.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham
35 miles from central London and just a 30 minute drive from our Oldbury Hill Club Site, the Historic Dockyard at Chatham is a site of discovery and learning for all ages.
Dive into the exhibitions including the RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection, Submarines from both world wars and the three big war ships, HMS Cavalier, HM Submarine Ocelot and HMS Gannet.
The Victorian Ropery is the only one out of four original Royal Navy Ropeyards to remain in operation today. The rope made here uses many methods used 400 years ago. Zoos, film production companies, interior designers and churches are just a few examples of customers using the famous rope.
Dundee Heritage Club, Dundee Antarctic Exploration
In 1902 the first eyes laid upon Antarctica by the crew of the RRS Discovery, formed of forty nine men, a mix of scientists, naval and merchant seamen who carried out ground breaking research. Risking frostbite, snow blindness and the unknown, the team of 5 scientists discovered over 500 new marine animals, spiders, shrimps, star and shellfish. They were also the first crew to ever see an emperor penguin and they even obtained an egg.
During your visit to the Dundee Heritage club you’ll get a chance to learn all about what life was like on board the RRS Discovery, a ship built with pioneering technology, specifically for scientific research into Antarctica.
Just a 35 minute drive from our Scone Club Site, this is a fantastic day out for all ages, science and history lovers.
SS Great Britain
The SS Great Britain is just a 40 minute drive from our Cheddar Club Site and is worth every minute to journey through the life and times of the ship that changed to world.
The first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic and the longest passenger ship of her time, this ship has a huge history and stands proud in the Bristol Dry Dock, where she was first built in 1843.
Visit the dockyard museum and go back in time through the amazing history and dramatic stories from the ships adventure filled life. The three storey high replica engine of that of the SS Great Britain is a full scale working model which used leading technologies of its time to create the fastest ship in the world.
Gain a unique insight into life on-board U-534 which was heading to Norway when it was attacked by RAF 547 squadron aircraft. Forty nine of the fifty two crew members survived, four managed to escape through a torpedo hatch!
The wreckage was raised in 1993 and is now split into four sections for easy viewing. The exhibition includes original film archive, interactive displays and well preserved artefacts. When staying at Delamere Forest the 40 minute drive might seem like a long way to go for one attraction. Hop on board the Mersey Ferry Cruise and gain free access to the exhibit as well as other attractiopns including The Beatles Story and the Spaceport.