Back in February we paid a visit to Normandy with a plan to visit all the D-Day landing beaches and museums about the war.
It was a subject that both my husband and teen were fascinated by and we all learned a lot about the subject on our visit. In fact, we also found out that many of the vessels that set off on this mammoth operation were actually made or set off from close to home.
Since our return, Hubby has been keen to visit Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum as it is Britain’s only museum dedicated solely to covering all aspects of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, on 6 June 1944.
D-Day was a turning point in the Second World War, and a moment when the course of world events depended on the Allied troops taking part and the D-Day Museum is home to the impressive Overlord Embroidery, a tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of those who took part. Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, the embroidery is 272ft (83m long) and it traces in stunning visual form the progress of Overlord, from its origins in the dark days of 1940 to victory in Normandy in 1944.
In the Museum itself you can experience the sights and sounds of Britain at War. The kids were fascinated by an air raid shelter and an air raid siren that was attached to the wall. There were also displays of troops preparing for D-Day in their forest camp, women working in a factory, and a Horsa glider that has landed in Normandy.
One of the most fascinating displays for Hubby and I was the map room at the Allied headquarters at Southwick House as it showed where troups were sent from around Dorset.
Having visited Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches it was also fascinating to learn how the big concrete caissons were built, although nobody actually knew what they were building at the time.
There was no interactive items for the kids to try at the museum other than a spot of dressing up about half way round……..
and a huge landing craft to climb onboard.
The displays continue with a reconstruction of the Allied landings by sea and air on D-Day itself – World War II’s ‘longest day’. A real LCVP landing craft is on display, as is a rare Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV) tank.
If I am honest it is probably somewhere I would have prefered to go without the children as I wanted to read all the information and they were more keen to move on to the next display.
Portsmouth D-Day Museum is set on Southsea esplanade in Portsmouth which is also home to Clarence Pier Southsea, one of the largest amusement parks on the south coast and boasts all manner of amusements, rides and activities for all the family as well as the BlueReef Aquarium so you could combine the three and make a full day of it.