Set sail in Chatham as visitors are welcomed back to The Historic Dockyard

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust is pleased to announce The Historic Dockyard Chatham will reopen to visitors on Monday, May 17 after being closed to the public for seven months due to Government COVID-19 restrictions.

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 to explore around the 80-acre heritage estate.

Favourite experiences, such as walking the decks of Victorian sloop HMS Gannet and surveying the fleet’s fastest ship, Second World War Destroyer HMS Cavalier, have been specially adapted to ensure an exciting but safe day out.

As well as going aboard historic warships and watching Master Ropemakers at work on the quarter-mile long ropewalk in the Victorian Ropery, visitors will be able to discover original displays and collections in the exhibition and gallery spaces, many of which are outside, meaning plenty of fresh air.

Richard Morsley, Chief Executive, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said:

“We are thrilled to welcome our visitors back and look forward to families and friends reconnecting at the Historic Dockyard this summer. Our team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the site looks outstanding, and with a new temporary exhibition and new Collections on display, we are confident in delivering a fascinating maritime adventure in a happy and safe environment.”

For the first time at Chatham, visitors will be able to inspect a full-sized scale model of a ballistic missile operated by the Royal Navy during the Cold War. The UGM-27 Polaris is the latest loan from the Imperial War Museum and takes pride of place in the expansive, No. 3 Covered Slip. Polaris was the largest project in the Royal Navy’s peacetime history and gave Britain a global nuclear capacity.

Celebrating the latest season of BBC One award-winning drama, Call the Midwife, the Official Location Tour continues to go from strength to strength with fans flocking to see how the Naval site is transformed into 1950s and 60s East London. Tours have been specially adapted with safety the utmost priority; this includes smaller group sizes.

Opening on Saturday, May 29 a new, temporary exhibition ‘Hidden Heroines’ uncovers the untold stories of the women of the Dockyard throughout its 400-year history, right up to present day – from the women of the Spinning Rooms and Sail and Colour Loft, to tales of stowaways, women masquerading as men and the extraordinary women whose impact left a lasting legacy. Access to the exhibition is free as part of an entry ticket to The Historic Dockyard.

In line with the latest government guidelines, and to keep things ‘ship shape’, all visits to The Historic Dockyard Chatham must be booked online, in advance, where arrival dates and times can be chosen. Visitors are asked to ‘toe the line’ and abide by social distancing rules, adhere to one-way systems and wear face coverings in internal spaces.

Mr Morsley continued:

“Providing peace of mind during an unsure time and considering our visitors wellbeing is our priority, as is ensuring a first-class experience in the world’s most complete and best-preserved dockyard of the Age of Sail.”

Medway Times