Royal Naval Museum



Trafalgar 200

Commemorating the Bicentenary of Trafalgar 1805-2005

21st October 2005 is the Bicentenary - the 200th anniversary - of the Battle of Trafalgar.

On that day in 1805, a fleet of 27 British ships of the line, under the command of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, met and fought a combined French and Spanish fleet of 33 ships off the coast of South-West Spain, near the port of Cadiz.

The result was an overwhelming British victory: 19 of the Combined Fleet’s ships were captured or sunk on the day. Over 7,000 French or Spanish sailors were killed or wounded.

Losses on the British side numbered some 700; but among them was Nelson himself. Arguably the Navy’s greatest hero, whose tactics and leadership had brought the glorious victory that cemented British mastery of the seas for the next 100 years, Nelson had been shot as he paced the quarterdeck of his flagship, HMS Victory, early in the battle by a sniper from the rigging of the French ship, Redoubtable.

Such was Nelson’s fame at the time, created by his dashing victory at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, that rejoicing in Britain at the news of Trafalgar came to be overshadowed by sadness at his death. Since then, ‘Trafalgar’ and ‘Nelson’ have become largely inseparable.

So, 2005 is an opportunity to celebrate the life of Nelson, the achievements of the Royal Navy at Trafalgar, and more broadly Britain’s historic and continuing relationship with the sea.

What’s happening at the Museum?

Click here to view the events that will be taking place at the Museum in 2005.

There is a large range of Bi-centennial gifts available in the Museum Shop

What’s happening in Portsmouth?

Tuesday 13th - Wednesday 14th September
Nelson’s Last Drive
From Merton to Portsmouth. Contact: Bill White (Tel: 020 8994 1416)

Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th September
Nelson’s Last Walk. Pageant on Southsea Common.

Friday 14th - Saturday 15th October
The Trafalgar Conference
Major international conference in the Historic Dockyard, focussing on the Battle of Trafalgar from the view points of the three sides. Jointly organised by the Royal Naval Museum, The 1805 Club, The Nelson Society, and the Society for Nautical Research.
Contact: Julian Thomas, Royal Naval Museum (Tel: 023 9272 7567)

Linked with concerts in the Cathedral (Thursday 13th October) and the Annual Seafarers Service in Portsmouth Cathedral (Sunday 16th October)

Friday 21st October
Trafalgar Day Celebrations centred on HMS Victory.
To include start of national Beacon Lighting. For further information, visit


For further information on Portsmouth events, please go to

What else is happening in the country?

Major exhibition at the National Maritime Museum (Nelson and Napoleon, July to November)

12th August - 11th September
The New Trafalgar Despatch
Symbolic recreation of the voyage of HMS Pickle and Lt Lapenotiere’s ride from Falmouth to London to deliver Collingwood’s Trafalgar despatch.
Contact Bill White (Tel: 020 8994 1416)

Friday 16th September
The Thames Nelson Flotilla
Symbolic recreation of the waterborne funeral procession.
Contact: Peter Warwick (Tel: 020 8947 9061)

Friday 21st October
Bellringing from New Zealand to Britain

Weekend of 22-23rd
Trafalgar celebrations nationwide

Saturday 22nd October
Trafalgar Night at the Albert Hall
A musical celebration organised by King George’s Fund for Sailors.
Contact KGFS (Tel: 020 7932 000)

Sunday 23rd October
National Service in St Pauls Cathedral, in the presence of HM The Queen

Trafalgar Square Parade/Event

Saturday 29th October

Nelson and the Hamiltons

Study day at the British Museum

This event includes a presentation of Lady Hamilton's Attitudes

Details Tel: Hilary Williams 020 7323 8849

Keep up with events at