As an island nation the British have always prided themselves on their seafaring expeditions. Throughout history many tales have been told of the great sea heroes, from military commanders like Admiral Lord Nelson to the swashbuckling rogues of Tudor England, like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. Many old timber ships have not survived the rigours of sea and time, but a few important examples have been found and lovingly restored. Marvel at the Victory and Mary Rose in Portsmouth, or experience Second World War conditions aboard HMS Belfast or HMS Cavalier.
Enjoy a leisurely trip on one of the last operating British paddle steamers, or feel the claustrophobic chill inside a cold war submarine. A lot of these vessels are no longer seaworthworthy but exist as static exhibitions, floating restaurants and coffee bars. In one instance, a redundant paddle steamer has even been moored in a shopping precinct and serves as a florist. For others though the battle to secure funds for much-needed restoration work is a continuing struggle, and some will sadly be lost.