Museum Update

After the first Trustees’ meeting of 2018 we felt that a general museum update would be a great way to start off the year.   We have made some great strides over the last year both, as a visitor attraction and as an organisation.  We have been able to offer fantastically researched and presented tours,  improved facilities to our guests in the form of a renovated cafe/shop area, and we have been able to add new exhibits to our collection with a few more to follow this year.  Our membership and volunteer numbers have grown in the last year and we are thankful for all the hard work they have put in already!

For this coming year we have invested in our toilet facilities by adding disabled facilities (which are almost complete), upgrading our toilet area, creating new baby changing facilities, and further updating our shop with new products.  Coming out of our winter period closure, our financial position is as we predicted – stable and we are ready to build up our finances as the new season moves on to allow us to further invest in the museum.  As with many volunteer-run museums, the majority of our funding comes from visitor entry fees and goodwill donations.  With this in mind we remain in the black and, in contrast to previous years, have not needed to liquidate any museum assets to meet the museum’s liabilities as has been necessitated in previous years.

Our 2015-16 accounts have now been finalised and are now with the Charities Commission.  Unfortunately, due to questions with the accounts that required attention, our accountant was unable to complete the accounts until these particular issues were explained.  As the current trustees were not in office during this period it was more difficult to promptly resolve these issues.  These have now been submitted and viewable online on the Charity Commission’s website, although, due to a clerical error with the submission, our accounts have been incorrectly marked as “qualified”.  This is reflected in our Accountant’s statement in our submission which gives us a good bill of financial health.  In addition, the values showed on the main summary page for the Hovercraft Museum Trust show that our income and outgoings match exactly which is not accurate.  This is due to the full credit and debit line totals being shown for the 2015-16 period on the summary page, whereas, it should be showing the same values less our starting and ending cash balances.  Both these clerical errors are in the process of being corrected by the Charity Commission.  Keep an eye on the Charity Commission’s website for our 2016-17 accounts which are to be submitted on time shortly.

Visitors and members regularly ask about “The Princess Anne”, but if you are not in the know you would be forgiven for thinking they were asking about one of the Royal Family!  In fact, they are talking about our largest and most famous exhibit – one of two remaining SRN4 cross-Channel hovercraft that served for over 30 years in the English Channel taking over 400 people and 60 cars at a time.  Our restoration work is ongoing, mainly thanks to our SRN4 fund that has been greatly supported by the local community and people from all around the world.  In the past year, we have introduced various sound effects on the craft and opened up new areas such as the lift fan bays and toilets safely by securing them with Perspex.  We also had to invest in the electrical system onboard to allow adequate power for essential lighting and power tools to aid restoration.  To date, we have raised £8005, which has been well spent, chiefly on putting on new propellers from a donor craft, roof repairs, electrical work and painting.  The craft is 49 years old in 2018 and we want to ensure she remains in good condition for future generations to enjoy.  For the coming year, we will be completing a full repaint in Seaspeed livery, going back to metal where required to fix points of corrosion and working on a more permanent solution for the leaking roof which will ensure that interior components do not deteriorate any further.

The museum has been on its current site for around 20 years but has never enjoyed security of tenure.  This has been the main reason why major funding has never been achieved.  Due to the hard work from the last two years since we opened to the public on a weekly basis, we have had a great number of happy visitors which is getting us noticed.  Behind the scenes, much work is being done to ensure the future of the museum on its current site.  A “2020 Vision” booklet has been created and contains our aspirations for the near future and we have been sharing these concepts with interested parties.  The official word from Gosport Borough Council is that the museum’s future is secure and we will keep you updated as best we can.

After many years of opening a few days a year for summer events, the museum is now able to open every Saturday (and Wednesday in the school holiday periods) with only volunteer support.  We have built up a partnership with Hovertravel and some 30 special events are planned at the museum during 2018, including hovercraft pleasure trips from the “Lee” slipway and other hovercraft tours and excursions within the Solent.  We have positive discussions taking place with hovercraft manufacturers to promote hovercraft to a wider audience and multiple TV crews completing productions ready for broadcast this year featuring the Hovercraft Museum.

We would like to thank our small, but dedicated, team of volunteers who work tirelessly.  The trustees want to place on record the enormous appreciation for the work they do and the time they give up.  Finally, we would like to further extend our appreciation to all our supporters from around the world – the buzz and interest in this museum has been extremely valuable to the museum and the wider hovercraft sector.

Closed 20th January 2017

Regrettably, we are closed this weekend (20th January 2017) due to high winds causing damage to our roof.  Our apologies to anyone that may have been planning on coming this weekend and we hope you will be able to visit us next weekend instead.

Hovercraft Rides!

Missed out on a chance of a Hovercraft ride at our Show in September? Then come and visit us on Saturday 21st October and have a pleasure flight around the Solent in association with Hovertravel

Also, you can travel to us directly from Portsmouth or Ryde with Hovertravel or maybe you are on the mainland and fancy a day trip to the lovely Isle of Wight?

Pleasure Trip Prices are : Adult £15, Child £6 and under 5s FREE

Either pay on the day or you can pre-book with Hovertravel and find prices for the crossings directly to and from Ryde

Weather Dependant, the schedule is:

  • 10:30 Depart Ryde
  • 11:00 Onwards – Pleasure Trips from Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 12:00 Depart Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 12:15 Arrive Ryde
  • 14:00 Depart Ryde
  • 14:30 Onwards – Pleasure Trips from Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 15:40 Depart Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 15:55 Arrive Ryde

Still can’t make this date? Then stay tuned to our website for more dates coming soon!

Hovershow 2017

Don’t forget about the Hovershow this weekend (16th & 17th Sep).  We will be offering 15 minute rides on the Hovertravel craft normally used between the Isle of Wight and the mainland!

If that wasn’t enough, we will be open all weekend with 40+ hovercraft to view and climb in, model hovercraft, racing craft, hot food, kids activities, candy floss, face painting, tombola and much more!

It will be a brilliant family day out so come down and see what the world of Hovercraft is all about!

Plenty of parking is available in the compound next to our entrance (opposite the slipway).  Go to our Visit Us page for more travel information!


Proudly supporting the Merchant Navy

A red Merchant Navy flag with the Union Jack is flying at the Hovercraft Museum on a flag pole at the seafront.September 3rd every year marks Merchant Navy Day, celebrating this often forgotten service. Many of our members either serve or have served in the MN and this year The Hovercraft Museum is pleased to be supporting charity Seafarers UK by flying a Red Ensign, joining over 600 other institutions around the UK. More information can be found here at

A call for tour guides

We are looking for volunteers, young and old, who would like to be trained as Guides at the museum. We will provide full training, support and the opportunity to join a friendly developing team of enthusiastic volunteers.

We are looking for people who:

  • Enjoy interacting with the public
  • Are willing to learn
  • Have an interest in hovercraft
  • Are prepared to give up time mainly on Saturdays

If you want to find out more please use the contact form on the contact page or speak to Jim Gray at the museum.

Reserve our New Book Now!

 For all you Hovercraft enthusiasts!   Our new book is landing soon, and you have the chance to reserve your copy for a limited time only!  It’s a brilliantly produced book, authored by our very own Jim Gray!  Up till the release date on 14th May we will offer a £5 discount, leaving only £9.99 to pay.  If you are interested please take a look at to secure your copy.  Copies are flying off the shelves so don’t miss the chance to secure yours!


by Jim Gray


51RQpkUnyAL£14.99 £9.99 (Pre-order Price)

Lee-on-the-Solent is synonymous with planes and seaplanes, but it is also the home of another, slightly more unusual form of transport – the hovercraft.

After the first cross-channel crossing by a hovercraft in 1959, there was a revolution in design and development. Within a decade, the mighty SRN4, capable of carrying 400 passengers and sixty cars across the English Channel in less than forty minutes, had arrived. As the commercial hovercraft thrived, the military also continued to innovate; the British Interservice Hovercraft (Trials) Unit (IHTU) being established in 1961.

Utilising the archive of the world’s only hovercraft museum, based in Lee-on-the-Solent and boasting more than seventy historic craft, Jim Gray uses a wealth of rare images – many unpublished – to explore the importance and impact of the hovercraft, offering a fascinating glimpse into a vehicle that has captivated the imagination of the public for more than fifty years.

SRN4 Call to Arms


As you may have heard we now have a dedicated project manager for the SRN4 project. His name is Steve McGarry and he’s the go-to guy for all things SRN4 at the museum. Now that we have undergone a planning and evaluation process we are ready to propel the SRN4 restoration project forward. As part of this, we need as many hands as we can muster. If you have an interest in becoming a volunteer helping on this project (or just helping at the museum in any capacity) please visit our website at for more information on how to get involved! If you have any questions please feel free to contact us through the website “Contact Us” page or enquiries@hovercraft-museum. org.


To give you a flavour for some of the more pressing tasks here is a representative sample:

  • Fix up the “Skirters” box (used by the skirt technicians to repair skirts while in service) so that it can be moved to the front of the craft to be used as a display exhibit.
  • Replace broken glass panes
  • Dry out the port side cabin and repair the ceiling
  • Replace worn seats in passenger compartments
  • Strip, prepare & paint parts of the craft
  • Clean bar/galley and fill with period food and drink packaging for an authentic atmosphere
  • Replace rotted parts of side decks that have fallen through
  • Clean and illuminate the lift ducts, and install a Perspex door to show off the pivotal piece of technology that makes hovercraft work – the lift fans!
  • Polish and clean exterior windows and apply UV-resistant films to protect the seats in the long term


We hope to see you at the museum soon!