Accessibility for Familes | The Mary Rose
Accessibility for Children

Nervous about visiting The Mary Rose?

This page will tell you everything you need to know to make your visit more enjoyable.

You can download this document to print out at the link below
Information for grown ups

What is the museum about?

The Mary Rose Museum houses King Henry VIII’s warship and her collection of thousands of artefacts from the shipwreck. It is a great place to find out about Tudor life. There is no larger collection of authentic Tudor artefacts elsewhere in the world. The museum focuses on the men who worked on-board and how they lived their life rather than naval history or military history.

Is there anything for children to do?

Yes! Children are more than welcome in the museum and there is plenty for them to do. You can:

  • Watch the projections of the crew onto the ship
  • Meet our skeleton dog, Hatch
  • Use our interactive displays
  • Play the ‘Foil the French’ touchscreen game
  • Try our replica longbows
  • Handle real and replica artefacts

We have family events during seasonal periods and school holidays. For upcoming events see https://maryrose.org/families/

Is the museum accessible if you have a physical disability?

Yes! Our museum is fully accessible. You can find out more about accessibility here: https://maryrose.org/accessibility/

What is it like inside the museum?

The museum is quite dark and atmospheric to make you feel like you are on the ship. The other reason the museum is quite dark is because UV light damages our artefacts.

There are also noises that make you feel as if you are at sea. For example, the whooshing of waves and the footsteps of people who might be on decks above you.

My child doesn’t like the dark. Is there anything we can do?

On selected dates every month we have a ‘Relaxed Opening’ morning. The house lights of the museum are left on and it is not so dark. Some of the audio-visual effects are also switched off. You can find details of the next event here: https://maryrose.org/ 

Is it busy and noisy in the museum?

It can be busy and noisy in the museum especially during the school holidays and special events. In general, the busiest times at the museum are between 12pm and 3pm. In term time, there will be lots of children around between 10am and 2pm. Generally, the winter months are the quietest times to visit.

There are also a number of attractions that feature noise and can also be visually stimulating. Some to note:

  • The projections onto the ship – these happen every 7 minutes. There is a cycle of two projections.
    • The Mary Rose at Peace features men dressed as Tudors doing jobs that would have been done on the ship. This features sounds like a band, a whistle, and a dog barking.
    • The Mary Rose at War features men dressed as Tudors at war with an enemy ship. This includes the sounds of shouting, canons and guns firing, and people shooting arrows.
  • Foil the French Game – a game where you can shoot down enemy ships. This game dings every time a ship is successfully captured.
  • Some galleries have interactive displays that include narrated short films. These films are started by members of the public. Sometimes, more than one of these will be playing at once in a gallery.
  • The hand-driers are very loud so please be aware of this if you are using toilet facilities.

You might want to bring ear defenders if your child is sensitive to noise.

Please note: we do not provide audio guides.

Who can I ask for help?

All of our staff and volunteers at the museum are happy to help you with any queries or issues. They wear pink shirts or a grey jumper, or are dressed in Tudor costumes. Managers will be in plain-clothes but will be wearing a name badge and a Mary Rose lanyard.

Where can I go if my child is distressed?

If your child is distressed, a Team Member can direct you to a quieter place in the museum. If necessary, we can direct you to the nearest exit.

Is there any extra security?

Security is taken very seriously because we are situated in HM Naval Base Portsmouth. There are various precautions to keep us all safe including:

  • There will be a bag search when you enter the dockyard at the Mary Rose ticket office.
  • You will see Ministry of Defence guards at the gates into the naval side of the dockyard.
  • You might see armed police walking around the dockyard or maybe even inside the museum. Please don’t be alarmed; usually they are just completing their daily checks. In case of emergency, follow their instructions.
  • You might see a sniffer dog checking the dockyard. Please don’t distract them or try and pat them – they are busy working dogs!
  • There is no cloakroom or buggy park at the museum. For security reasons, you must keep all of your belongings with you at all times. This includes bags, coats, and pushchairs.

My question isn’t answered here! What can I do?

Please contact us and let us know if you think we should add something to this information!