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Explore behind the scenes at Fort Nelson

Thursday, 10 August 2023

rounded brick archway with iron gates

History-lovers will have the rare chance to see behind the scenes at Fort Nelson as part of a free Heritage Open Days event.

Two areas not usually open to the public – the Victorian Officers Quarters and the West Tunnel – will be open to the public on September 9 and 10.

Expert guides will lead five special tours on Saturday and Sunday, each lasting 30 minutes. Numbers will be limited to 12 people per tour and the free tours must be booked in advance at

Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s to protect against a potential invasion by the French, which never materialised.

Although never used for its original purpose the Fort played a significant role in both World Wars; as barracks for troops waiting to be deployed to the front line in the First, and as an anti-aircraft ammunition supply depot during the Second.

Today it stands as the finest Victorian fort of its kind and as part of the Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of artillery, displayed in its museum.

Fort Nelson is open Tuesday to Sunday during term time and daily in the school holidays – 10am to 5pm.

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, with thousands of venues opening up hidden places and giving visitors the chance to try new experiences.

Public Engagement Manager, Elizabeth Puddick, said: “It’s great to be part of such a prestigious national event and to be able to show visitors some behind the scenes areas which are usually not seen by the public.

“Come and discover a piece of Hampshire’s history. It’s a free event so bring all the family but remember to book in advance.”

For more information contact:

Cathy Brooks, Communications Officer at

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About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.