Portland’s D-Day Museum saw its visitors jump by 25 percent last year – a record breaking year for the centre.

The Castletown museum saw 15,000 visitors come through its doors as they immersed themselves in the history of the Second World War.

Now, the museum is preparing for what it hopes will be its ‘biggest season ever’ as the 80th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy is marked later this year in June.

The museum has put its success down to hosting more special events, an expanding friendly and enthusiastic team, and a growing online following from history enthusiasts across the globe, particularly in America.

The museum reopened on Monday, March 11 and will remain so until the end of the summer season from 10.30am until 3.30pm.

Dorset Echo: Volunteers dress in period costumes and there is a range of different artefacts and vehicles from the war for visitors to seeVolunteers dress in period costumes and there is a range of different artefacts and vehicles from the war for visitors to see (Image: Castletown D-Day Centre)

Shaun Souster, the museum’s duty manager, can’t wait to greet thousands more visitors through its doors this year.

He said:  “As the 80th anniversary year of D-Day, 2024 is set to the biggest season yet for the Castletown D-Day Centre. Myself and the team are really looking forward to meeting visitors for our unique approach to living history.

“Whether you are a military buff wanting to get hands-on with rare artefacts or just learning about the Second World War at school, the Castletown D-Day Centre has something for everyone.”

It has a host of activities scheduled for the year including a wreath laying service at Castletown beach, regular displays of rare military vehicles, talks from expert speakers, and immersive interactions with a host of military re-enactors.

READ: Exercise Tiger 80th anniversary to be marked

As part of the D-Day commemorations, visitors to the Castletown D-Day Centre will also be able to enjoy the return of the popular 1940s weekend which takes place on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 as well as a special D-Day 80th anniversary commemorative event on Thursday, June 6.

The D-Day centre also includes an impressive array of authentic Second World War artefacts and vehicles, including a full-size replica Spitfire, a Bofors 40mm gun and even a restored Sherman tank, plus interactive audio-visual displays, tank tours and a D-Day bunker.

As a Community Interest Company, the centre relies on support from visitor admissions and is part of the Castletown Regeneration Project spearheaded by Agincare Founder and chairman Derek Luckhurst.

The museum also still has some space for anyone who wishes to volunteer and it offers flexible working hours, with lunch and period uniform provided.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Shaun on 01305 443 444 or email d.day.centre.portland@gmail.com