Mary Rose visitors to get a real whiff of history during its 40th anniversary celebrations

Visitors to Hampshire can mark the 40th anniversary of one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks being raised from the seabed with a virtual voyage of discovery on Henry VIII’s favourite warship.

In the run up to this autumn’s anniversary of the Mary Rose returning to the surface after laying submerged for almost 500 years off the coast of Portsmouth, visitors are being invited to become Time Detectives to learn more about the ship and its story.

On 11 October 1982, Henry VIII’s flagship emerged from the waves, and the ship’s remains – as well as fascinating collection of recovered artefacts – are displayed at the award-winning Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Now, the Museum is celebrating that milestone anniversary with events and exhibitions, including launching a ‘world first’ multi-sensory augmented reality game.

Downloadable at home from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Roseimmerses players in the sights, sounds and even the smells of life on board the ship almost five centuries ago.

Visitors can use their mobile phone as a ‘magical spyglass’ to reveal secrets from the past and complete a mission for King Henry VIII by following a character to collect clues and solve the mystery of the Mary Rose.

While the app can be used anywhere – revealing the sights and sounds aboard the ship – when using it in the Museum visitors also get to experience the smells of life 500 years ago, thanks to backpacks that automatically trigger scents at key moments. For instance, when players are asked to fire a virtual cannon, visitors will smell the gunpowder.

Created by UK-based film and immersive production company, Picture This Productions –which made the award-winning interactive VR experience ‘Fly’ for British Airway’s centenary – it is said to be the world’s first multi-sensory AR experience of its type.

Launched last month, the AR game adds to the highly acclaimed 1545 – When their world ended, an audio-visual walk-through experience opened last year, which takes visitors through the history of the ship, including re-living the final moments as it sank.

Among other anniversary events so far announced are a series of Anniversary Lectures (6 – 8 October), which will look at the Tudor court during the time the Mary Rose was in service, the impact the excavation has had on maritime archaeology and hear the story of the raising from some of the divers involved.

The Museum is also asking people to share their memories of the Raising of the Mary Rose, whether memories of watching it on TV, from the seafront in Portsmouth, or even being part of the operation. A special blog will offer conservation and collections updates and other stories (

Visitors can also retrace the footsteps of King Henry VIII, who watched from Southsea Castle as his flagship sank. Built in 1544, the Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry around England’s coasts to protect the country from invaders. Visitors can explore the Castle’s keep and enjoy panoramic views from the top to the Isle of Wight (

For tourist information about Hampshire see

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    Time Detectives Mystery of the Mary Rose - credit Alessandro Beltrame, Picture This Productions

Top photo: Hufton + Crow.