It’s been years that have passed since my eyes struck the docks.
Memories I held were fairs with coins and antique clocks.
I remember metal detecting and being extremely cold,
Thinking this place is boring and full of the old!
Twenty years on the attractions changed a lot.
It’s had exciting renovations making it a must go family hotspot.
The weekend just past was the launch for this year.
A perfect time to visit and to get ourselves into gear.
We arrived at the entrance about 10 o’clock,
Following lots of other enthusiastic explorers in a large excited flock.
I was taken by surprise upon my first sight.
It wasn’t dark and dingy how I remembered but now trendy and bright.
The barns you enter are presented remarkably well;
High ceilings, bright lights and a fresh fragrant smell.
We took the opportunity to book events through the day,
Then started our adventure with my son leading the way.
Of course the first place he ran to was the bold Navy Ship,
In pride of place showing it’s extraordinary craftsmanship.
The HMS Gannet was build in 1878.
She protected our waters in The Navy for 90 years straight.
We rang the bell on boat and turned the huge wheel,
Then read the stories onboard of the sailors tiring ordeal.
The Secret Lab was booked for ten past eleven,
Where we put on our overcoats and goggles before entering science heaven.
We experimented with lights, balls and balloons;
Con-vexed and con-caved mirrors like giant metal spoons.
The children absolutely loved the hands on fun,
The older ones enjoying it as much as my two year old son.
My sons favourite part was the coloured paint wall.
Squirting colours from syringes making a unique rainbow fall.
After our short lesson we used pegs to bend pipes,
Learning how historically they used sand to form shapes of all different types.
We had a go at pipe bending and rearranging the pegs,
Before I had to get back up and stretch out my legs.
We then had our time slot for a submarine tour,
Where we first checked on the replica outside that we’d fit through the door.
Our tour group arrived and we boarded the ship,
Seeing all of the essential items that make it very full and equip.
69 men served at one time on that sub.
They was said to all stink and be in need of a good scrub.
The HM Ocelot was launched in 1962,
It did 29 years service before retiring in the docks where it made its debut.
Following the submarine we had one last warship to steer.
The National Destroyer, The HMS Cavalier.
We climbed the steep stairs and rang the large bell,
Imagining how divine the 16 thousand yards of sausages the crew ate would smell.
The last of the ships was build in 1944,
Now a memorial for the 11 thousand that died on 142 destroyers in the Second World War.
After paying our respects we had a bite to eat.
The food was reasonably priced and went down a treat.
I had a pie filled with sweet potatoes and cheese
And the boys had some hot dogs washed down with hot tea’s.
Following our lunch was the last stop of the day.
Save the best bit until last they do always say.
A ropery sounds boring, I’m fully aware,
But, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the experience in there!
Vicky the actor was the highlight of our day.
She absolutely convicted the character she was given to play.
I listened intently to all the words that she spoke,
As she fully engaged with all the children, adults and my miserable bloke!
I was further amazed when we could make rope ourselves,
Bringing to life the hardwork and dedication to make the collection on top of the shelves.
Vicky gathered volunteers and showed us the skill,
Demonstrating to all how manually ropes were made back then and still.
The Victorian Ropery ended our day on the highest note,
Confirming it was far from a tired old place with a few old boat.
I’m not sure entirely what I truly expected,
But I was blown away by the day and stand completely corrected.
Chatham Historic Dockyard was a fantastic day out.
A perfect choice for families with children without a doubt!
Please note: The attraction has a lot more to offer, including a Gallary, a Museum, The Big Space (with a variety of lifeboat and dockyard memoribilia), The Boat Beneath the floor and various educational cinematic screens dotted around to watch at your own pleasure.
Please also note, My two year old walked unaided around the attraction, however it does involve a fair bit of walking. Make sure you allows enough time between pre-booked events.
This review was completed following entry to Chatham Dockyard In return for a honest review. For more information on what’s on please visit the The Dockyard.
For more family days out check out my Days out guide. Who knows, it may just inspire your next big adventure!