Region: Wales

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Newport Medieval Ship Project, Unit 20, Estuary Road, Queensway Meadows Industrial Estate, Newport, NP19 4SP

Contact: 01633 274617



Here’s a fascinating insight into medieval life and trade that is hidden away in a small warehouse in Newport as a working project conserving the timbers of a large 15th century Basque-built vessel. Discovered in 2002 on the banks of the River Usk whilst contractors were excavating for the orchestra pit of the new Riverfront Theatre, the solidly-constructed and very well-preserved hull was dissembled and rescued. Over 1,700 beautiful timbers are now being conserved with a view to putting them all back together in a magnificent maritime hall in Newport.

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Exactly what does your venue offer to educational visits?
The Newport Medieval Ship project is just that; it's a project in progress. It's an exciting, live, archaeological conservation project. Currently, we have about 62% of the Ship's timbers back in our climate-controlled store. The remaining 38% are now with our conservation partners in York undergoing the final stage of preservation at York. We are now preparing for the next phase of the project: reconstruction of our impressive Ship in full public view. To this end, you can see the first ‘trial reconstruction’ with 10 timbers now back together for the first time on over 15 years. 

Come and hear the stories of the discovery of the wreck, marvel at the sheer scale of the vessel, understand the process behind the recovery, recording and modelling of what the Ship looked like, the conservation process being undertaken, the detective story that defines when and where she was built, and our vision for the future display of the re-assembled Ship. But also come to understand Newport and Medieval times, the lives of the people, the trade that was being plied and the history of the Ship itself: where and when it was built, where it traded, what it carried and why it came to Newport.

They are fascinating stories, told by the enthusiastic volunteer guides who have a passion for this amazing project, delving back into the past and envisioning a future of reconstruction and public display.

The Friends of Newport Ship open the Ship Centre twice a week, on Fridays, Saturdays and Bank Holiday Mondays between Easter and early November (10.30am – 4.00pm), with guided tours telling the story of the project, viewing the store with conserved timbers and our plans for the future. We are now geared up to host school visits, helping learners to gain insights into medieval life and trade. We extend our season on Saturdays from 17 February 2018 until mid December. Full details are on our website.
Group visits for up to 50 visitors at a time can be arranged given prior notice (email

Why you are you a great place for educational visits?
This is the only recovered 15th vessel in Europe, if not the world. Her story, whilst incomplete, gives scope for imagination and enquiry, promoting further questioning of what we know about the ship, of the times in which she operated and the people that surrounded her.

What does a typical educational visit include?
Learning packs and work stations are being developed in collaboration with experienced teachers. We are happy to discuss these along with any specific needs of visiting groups to ensure that all targets are met.
We currently offer a short talk looking at the brief history of the project and some of the ‘treasures’ that we have discovered within the hull. Work stations include: finding the Ship, excavation, cleaning & digital recording, conservation & storage and artefacts in storage.

What group sizes do you cater for?
Given the space available to visitors, we can cater for a maximum of 50 visitors at any one time (i.e. 45 learners and 5 teachers) 

Do you provide projects, teacher’s packs, work sheets or any useful information?
We currently have a small selection of activity packs which are designed to cater for school parties of up to 45 children (mainly Y5 & Y6 targeted). This pack can also be made available to private visitors, not attached to schools.

The packs consist of areas of particular interest to children, and will give them an opportunity to record their experience of the guided tour by completing a Q&A section based on the information gleaned from their visit. Also free-writing exercises where that are encouraged to put their own thoughts on paper – naming the ship, opportunities to envisage medieval life, timeline puzzle incorporating notable Newport landmarks etc.

All exercises are designed to raise awareness of conservation and its importance. Packs can be provided to teachers prior to any planned visit, on request.

Are you happy for children to take photos, video or audio?
No restrictions

What is your process for booking pre arranged risk assessments?
We are happy to work with school staff to provide individual risk assessments usually through a pre-visit. The site is an active warehouse conservation and construction environment where the conservation process continues but this is fenced off from the visitors display area.

Does your venue have an education officer?
Currently, book through the project curator, Dr Toby Jones or Chairman of the Friends of Newport Ship, Phil Cox

What is the cost of the visit?
The policy for visiting museums in Wales is for free admittance. However, this site is opened by the Friends of Newport Ship (registered charity 1105449) and contributions of the order of £3 per visitor are appreciated.

Is specific clothing required for the trip?
The site is an unheated warehouse and it is strongly suggested that warm clothing is brought by visitors, especially out of the summer months.

Do you have first aid on site or will the group need to bring a qualified first aider?
As a volunteer group, we cannot guarantee the presence of a qualified first aider on site

Please list facilities available.
There are toilets, and facilities for hot and cold drinks to be purchased. There is space to put up more tables and chairs for eating lunches.

The Friends operate a small retail cabin with post cards, guide books and reminders of your visit.

What are your disabled facilities?
Access Guide – Newport Medieval Ship Centre

Physical Mobility
There are 12 outlined parking spaces in front of the centre; none of these are designated for Disabled, blue badge holders. The parking spaces closest to the ramp for disabled access are 3 -4 metres away. 

Entrance to the centre for all, including wheelchair users and those with pushchairs is to the left of the office door through the roller shutter. 

The centre is all on one level. 

Seating is available throughout the centre.

There are toilet facilities but none specifically for wheelchair users.

Visually Impaired
Volunteers are available to lead guided tours for visitors
There are a number of artefacts within the centre which can be handled by visitors under the supervision of our volunteers.

Hearing Impaired
The centre has a good standard of written material to support the project.

A small selection of hot and cold drinks is available to purchase on site.
Male and Female toilets are available
Merchandise is also available to purchase
Family friendly activities including costumes, books, basic crafts, trails and games can be used by visitors.

Dogs are permitted on site but must be kept on a lead at all times and leave the premises to relieve themselves.
Learning Difficulties
Volunteers are available to lead guided tours and assist with hands – on activities

What are your opening days and hours?
Regular opening days are Saturdays from February half term until mid December, and Fridays between Easter and the end of October. We also open on Bank Holiday Mondays.
Group visits for up to 50 visitors at a time can be arranged given prior notice (email

Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?
The team of volunteers is happy to collaborate with teaching staff to deliver whatever physically possible to stimulate learners of all ages.

Age of Children / Pupils: 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Historical Heritage Maritime Outdoor Education Themed Attractions

Curriculum Topics Covered: History Leisure & Tourism

Months Open: March April May June July August September October November