HMS Victory Famous Warship

HMS Victory Famous Warship

Top Tourist Attractions

HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is best known for her role as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.

HMS Victory, the most famous ship in the history of the Royal Navy, is best known as Horatio Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.

Today Victory is preserved at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Hampshire, England, and, as the flagship of the First Sea Lord & Chief of Naval Staff, is the oldest commissioned warship in the world.


Laid down in 1759 Victory was a First Rate, the most powerful type of ship of her day with three-gun decks mounting 100 guns. The Royal Navy had always built very large ships to fight major fleet battles. In contrast, the French and Spanish navies did not build First Rates until after the end of the American War of Independence in 1783.

In service for almost forty years, Victory was well known for her excellent sailing qualities and served as the flagship to a series of distinguished Admirals including Kempenfelt, Howe, Hood, Jervis, and Saumarez. She fought at Ushant in 1781 and St Vincent in 1797.

Victory's most famous Admiral was Horatio Nelson who flew his flag from her between May 1803 and October 1805 as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet. For eighteen months Nelson blockaded the French fleet under Admiral Villeneuve in Toulon.

Visitor Experience

Best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar, the Victory currently has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy. The visitor experience on board HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as Nelson’s famous flagship from the Battle of Trafalgar is now brought alive with a hand-held audio guide.

The Royal Navy's Flagship

There have been many celebrated warships in Britain’s naval history but HMS Victory can justifiably claim to be the most famous of them all. Having served as Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, she has become one of the UK’s most-loved visitor attractions.

When you visit HMS Victory, you'll see the spot where Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson fell with an engraved plaque marking the spot. Occasionally, Captain Hardy may be in his cabin, greeting visitors with tales from his adventures at sea.

HMS Victory Under Hull Walkway

Visitors are now also able to experience the NEW: HMS Victory Under Hull Walkway. This will enable them to descend into the base of the dry dock and view the 3600-tonne ship from below. This is a first for her in dry dock and is a must-do on your visit.

The Victory Gallery

Visit the new Victory Gallery which has been completely refitted and now tells Victory's story beyond her immortalized role at the Battle of Trafalgar. Through a mixture of large format cinematic film, interactives, newly displayed and previously unseen artifacts including a shot-damaged section of the original Victory mast from the Battle of Trafalgar and a spectacular ten-foot-tall, 200-year-old figurehead, it charts her decline and rescue in the 1920s by the Society of Nautical Research (SNR) and the dramatic events when she could have been permanently lost to the nation.  It also introduces visitors to the people, both famous and not so famous, behind the ship’s 256-year history and adds to her rich story with new snippets of information for even the most ardent Victory fans.

Exploring the powerful iron-hulled warship of the 19th century and its decks is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to be missed.