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Everyone enjoys a good walk at Christmastime. For visitors to Hampshire during this festive season, take some time with the family to learn a bit of history and get a bit of exercise exploring Fort Nelson and the Royal Armouries.

After the presents have been opened and the Boxing Day leftovers have been consumed, the landmark at the crest of Portsdown Hill in Boarhunt is welcoming visitors to the site. From 27 December through to 3 January, guided walks and treasure hunts have been planned for family fun. In addition to brisk outdoor activities, the site’s Café 1871 will offer a special winter menu and plenty of hot drinks.

The ‘Walk the Fort’ event invites all to visit this amazing Victorian fort. Originally built in the 1800s, the site is home to the Royal Armouries’ national collection of artillery – aptly called The Big Guns. The museum takes visitors through the development of military artillery from pre-gunpowder siege machines to modern-day super guns. There are over 350 big guns on display at the fort.

Some well-known weapons include the captured French field guns from the Battle of Waterloo and one of the two Mallet’s Mortars. Visitors can access most areas of the fortifications and see how the Fort would have operated. There is even a daily firing of the guns at the site.

The fort was strategically built atop Portsdown Hill, with panoramic views across the Meon Valley and Portsmouth Harbour. It is the perfect historical adventure for families enjoying a Christmastime cottage holiday in Hampshire. From your well-appointed cottage, you can enjoy all the museum has to offer without the long drive home in post-Christmas traffic.

Having just undergone a multi-million pound restoration, Fort Nelson has been restored to how it would have been in the 1890s. It now has a new visitor centre, a new café and new galleries – including the magnificent Voice of the Guns gallery.

Image Credit: David Blaikie (flickr.com)