HMS Warrior’s Tree-mendous lights make a festive return


The rigging team at the National Museum of the Royal Navy is getting ready for Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in their traditional way. By decking the 53m (176ft) high fore mast and yards of the Victorian battleship HMS Warrior with festive lights, they create one of the tallest Christmas displays on the south coast.


HMS Warrior’s mast, festooned with 1,000 lights has, in recent years, become a real favourite in the city and one of the most photographed sights.


Members of the rigging team worked aloft to bedeck the mast and yards with hundreds of LED lights, hoisted up to them by colleagues from the Shipwright team, that are set to twinkle across Portsmouth harbour until Twelfth Night.


Lead rigger Stuart Sheldon who led the project this year explains:

“This is a seasonal project and one that we look forward to every year because we know how magical the result is. We’ve watched the weather very carefully this year because it has been so wet and windy and then leapt into action when the opportunity arose. It’s a real team effort and the crowning glory is hoisting the 2.5m (8ft) high star into position.”


HMS Warrior’s Christmas lights kick off the festive season at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which is open 10am until 5pm every day this December, excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 


HMS Warrior, Three Cheers for Christmas on HMS Warrior, Saturday 3rd December and Sunday 4th December, 11am to 4:30pm, suitable for all ages, free with a valid ticket

Extend the festivities and get transported back to the 1860s and join in a festive immersive experience, as the crew of HMS Warrior prepares for Christmas onboard. Enjoy traditional Victorian entertainment, and meet the various members of the crew. Marvel at the Magic Lantern Show with Professor Alan Brindle, meet the ship’s cook and more, just watch out for the King of Misrule, as the youngest crew member runs Warrior for the day. Help the crew of Victorian sailors and Royal Marines decorate the gun deck and chat to them about their experiences in the Royal Navy. 


The Mary Rose, The Tudor Ladies and the Twelve Days of Christmas, Wednesday 28th December and Friday 30th December, 11am to 4pm, free with a valid ticket 

How was Christmas celebrated in the 16th century? Discover the festive period at the time of Henry VIII as we welcome back the Tudor Ladies for an entertaining hour-long show where they demonstrate how Christmas was celebrated in Tudor households. There’ll be singing, dancing and even a chance to join in – it’s fun for all the family, so come and find out more! There will be three shows throughout each day. 



The Ultimate Explorer Ticket is the best value option for 12-month entry to all the attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard including the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, HMS M33, the galleries and exhibitions of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, Gosport and Harbour Tours and starts from £39 per adult and £29 per child. It is valid for multiple entries throughout the year, with family tickets available. Book online at