Half Term Activities at The Mary Rose

The Mary Rose, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

May 26th – June 3rd 2018 

Ever wondered what Tudor sailors ate? Or how a ship’s cook fed a huge crew on the high seas?

Come to the Mary Rose Museum this half term to see its fiery new programme of Totally Tudor activities and meet the Tudor chefs working on a replica kitchen from King Henry VIII’s favourite warship. 

From 26th May – 3rd June, step into a busy naval kitchen and watch the ship’s chef sweat over the cauldrons, conjuring up a host of dinners for the 500 crew. This Tudor Master Chef will be firing up a feast at the Mary Rose Museum’s purpose-built authentic replica of the ship’s galley (the first of its kind) every two hours, demonstrating:

  • Cooking a 350-litre beef broth in a duplicate Mary Rose cauldron.

  • Chopping and boiling beef rations in muslin bags for the crew.

  • Dangle-spit roast venison and preparing a pot roast for officers in front of the fire.

  • Making a casserole for officers in a bain-marie of the crew’s food.

  • Mixing up bread and baking it the brick oven.

  • Demonstrating Tudor cooking gadgets like skimmers, scales and a bread trough. 

The Mary Rose Museum will also be hosting a public lecture: The Story of the Mary Rose Galley: Excavating, Raising and Recreating the Ship’s Kitchen on the evening of the 30th of May. Christopher Dobbs, Head of Interpretation and Maritime Archaeology for the Mary Rose Trust will be discussing how artefacts from the Mary Rose have led the way in building a picture of Tudor food and cooking. Using experimental archaeology, research conducted from finds aboard the Mary Rose is helping us to understand the workings of a Tudor kitchen by recreating the cooking facilities and meals served on the warship.

The galley on the Mary Rose was quite different to our kitchens at home. Onboard were two large, brick ovens, each with a huge brass cauldron above in which meat, fish or broth was cooked.

Sailors diets weren’t as bad as we might think. The crew probably didn’t get their 5-a-day but would have had a daily ration of dried peas – delicious! Each man got about a kilo of meat every day, but because there were no fridges or freezers in Tudor times, meat and fish was salted and packed into barrels to last a long time, so long in fact, that barrels of bones were uncovered from the wreck.

Although the crew ate dry biscuits made of water, flour and salt, they would have soaked them in the broth prepared in the large cauldrons. They ate from wooden bowls (or pewter for the important officers) using spoons, knives and their hands! The crew would have washed this down with a gallon of beer a day – nearly four litres – but don’t worry, it was much weaker than today’s pints and safer to drink than water, especially as it contained essential calories and vitamin B.

As well as the special activities, visitors over the half term period can enjoy all that the Mary Rose offers as home to the largest and most important collection of Tudor artefacts anywhere in the world.

Annual adult tickets for Mary Rose are priced at £16 (less for children and concessions) and family tickets are also available. Tickets can be bought from the Mary Rose Visitor Centre and Museum. A 10% discount applies to tickets bought online at

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard tickets bought after 30th March 2018 do not include admission to Mary Rose and Mary Rose tickets cannot be bought from the PHD Visitor Centre.

For further details, please visit before your visit.