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Enemy troops closing in on Portsmouth

On the 8th and 9th February, Royal Armouries Fort Nelson will be taking brave visitors on an after dark, time travelling tour of a Victorian Fort on the brink of war.


Presented in association with acclaimed interpreters, Griffin Historical, ‘1878: The War that never was’ will introduce visitors to a parallel version of history in which the French have successfully invaded Britain and enemy troops are closing in on Portsmouth.


Fort Nelson was built between 1861 and 1870 as part of a network of defences intended to protect the key British naval base at Portsmouth when a French invasion had been considered a serious possibility. Buried in the Downs, designed using cutting edge defensive technology and bristling with artillery, the Fort waited for a war that never actually happened.


Subsequently Fort Nelson has been used for a range of military purposes, but never the one it was intended to fulfil. It now houses and displays the Royal Armouries’ remarkable collection of artillery.

Time travelling visitors will be led on an interactive tour where they can witness events as they could have been had history taken a different course. Buoyed by its victory against Prussia in 1871, France is set on adding Great Britain to its empire. French troops have landed and are marching on Portsmouth and the home of the British navy must be defended at all costs.


Tours will run at 6.30 pm, 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm on both evenings.

Tickets for ‘1878: The War that Never Was’ are available online. £16 per person, suitable for ages 12+, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.




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