Fort Nelson building

Fort Nelson

This imposing Victorian fort is home to the Royal Armouries national collection of artillery – The Big Guns.

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.

The museum’s displays trace the development of artillery from pre-gunpowder siege machines to modern-day super guns. There are over 350 big guns on display.

Fort Nelson has just undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment transforming it into a museum for the 21st century. It now has a new visitor centre, a new café and new galleries, including the magnificent Voice of the Guns gallery.

Admission is free

Owing to a technical issue, the daily gun-firing at Fort Nelson has been cancelled for a short period. Our technical team are addressing the problem and we hope to resume this daily event as soon as possible. The rest of the Fort, including the museum galleries, tunnels and Cafe 1871 remain open.



  • Exit the M27 at junction 11.
  • Take the exit signposted for Gosport and Fareham.
  • Stay in the left-hand lane, this will take you down a slip road to a roundabout.

Landmark: A railway viaduct on your left.

  • At this roundabout take the first left turn, signposted A27 Portchester.

Landmark: Delme Arms Public House on left.

  • Stay in the left-hand lane.
  • Go through the first set of traffic lights.
  • At the second set take a left-hand turn into Down End Road.
  • Follow the road up and around for approximately ½ mile.
  • Fort Nelson will appear on your left-hand side.

Brown tourist signs for Royal Armouries will help guide you on this route.

Ensure a trouble free journey and check for the latest road traffic information at Highways England


At present there is no bus service to Fort Nelson.


The closest railway station is Portchester, which has regular trains running from the east (Portsmouth/Cosham/Havant) and from the West (Southampton/Fareham/Eastleigh). Taxis from Portchester station to Fort Nelson take approximately 5 minutes.

Other mainline stations nearby:

  • Fareham – 10 minutes away by taxi
  • Havant – 20 minutes away by taxi


Taxi services are widely available in the local area.


There are two free car parks available at Fort Nelson. Our main car park is directly outside of the visitors centre and contains 4 allocated parking spaces for visitors with disabilities as well as standard parking spaces. Please be aware that this car park can get busy at peak times.

There is also a second over flow car park opposite the Fort, but this does involve crossing a busy road and climbing a number of steps to reach the visitor centre. This car park may be unsuitable for parties with mobility issues or young children.

Opening times

Open daily

Summer (Apr-Oct)
10am – 5pm
Last admission 4pm

Winter (Nov-Mar)
10.30am – 4pm
Last admission 3pm

Closed 24, 25 and 26 December

Contact details

General museum enquiries
01329 233 734

Education Enquiries
0113 220 1888

Venue hire enquiries
01329 848 518


Free admission


Royal Armouries Museum
Fort Nelson
Portsdown Hill Road
PO17 6AN

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