It has always been an aim to see HMS Victory because of the significance of the Battle of Trafalgar and Lord Nelson to British naval history. Though the ship was laid down in 1759 she still remains a commissioned ship of the Royal Navy though her duties now are purely as a museum dedicated to one of Britain's finest hours.
The Mary Rose and its museum also provides a fascinating experience with the audiovisuals and exhibits, some of which can be handled. Though the objects in themselves are interesting, it is the account of how the artefacts were used by people at the time which makes it more interesting and brings the past to life. I watched the remains being raised in the 80's and was hugely disappointed not to see what was supposedly a hugely preserved ship break the surface. My childish expectations of what 'preserved' meant had to be revised.
Being a warship, a number of the items are obviously war related such as the great number of longbows which were found. These played a vital role in warfare and the male population of England was expected to train in their use from an early age - even 'football' was banned. Visitors can handle a longbow and the challenge is to draw the bowstring to your chin. A life time of training made these guys strong - and the weapon lethal. Pulling back the bowstring to my chin on the 'lady longbow' was not a problem. A total of 250 longbows were carried on board and were used alongside other missile weapons.
Some of the longbows that were recovered have been tested to destruction. Even after this time, the draw forces were considerable and (100 pounds) analysis had shown the wood to be considerably degraded. Estimates today are that a good longbow would draw 150 to 180 pounds. Some would go up to 200 pounds but this is difficult for prolonged use. To see a long bow in use by a trained archer who has trained in the way that longbow archers would have trained centuries ago is here:
Its impressive stuff and was created to try and understand the performance of the longbow at the Battle of Agincourt - a resounding victory for the longbow archer vs armoured troops.
After you've experienced my delights or horrors of United Kingdom, see what the destinations below may have in store for you.