This imposing Victorian fort is home to the Royal Armouries national collection of artillery – The Big Guns. Fort Nelson is one of the few places where you can experience live black-powder firings of historic artillery pieces daily at 1pm.
Strategically positioned atop Portsdown Hill, with panoramic views across the Meon Valley and Portsmouth Harbour, Fort Nelson is a historic monument, restored to how it would have been in the 1890s. Visitors can access most areas of the fortifications and see how the Fort would have operated.
Although a cliché, the phrase ‘must see’ truly applies to Fort Nelson’s astonishing collection of different artillery and guns from different time periods. Over 700 items of artillery from many countries and spanning 600 years are brought to life whilst sensitively telling the unique stories behind them.
Weighing the same as 17 double-decker buses, an object of great interest is the huge 18 inch, 200 tonne Railway Howitzer. Designed and built by the Elswick Ordnance company of Newcastle, in 1918, as part of a trend to build bigger calibre guns with more destructive shells, it is the world’s largest surviving military gun.
Visit Fort Nelson and experience the exhilarating bang of gun firing. Discover more about the amazing collection, explore the eerie tunnels, and uncover the story of Fort Nelson, its intriguing shape and history.
From 18 March 2020 our museums in Leeds and at Fort Nelson will be closed to visitors until further notice.