HMS Belfast, permanently moored on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge since 1971, is a WWII Royal Navy warship, the most significant example of her kind today. Constructed in Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard in 1938 (the same shipyard that produced the Titanic 30 years earlier), she survived her involvement in the Arctic Convoys, the Korean War, and at the D-Day landings where she was responsible for firing some of the first shots. Today, her nine decks serve as an interactive museum, welcoming to families with children, where visitors can experience and understand the complexities of life onboard.
Ladders and hatches link the decks between the Engine and Boiler Rooms where a mock soundscape imitates the constant noise of running the ship to the Flag Deck at the top which boasts 360° panoramic views of London. In between, interactive installations and exhibits allow visitors to attempt to steer the ship, imagine sleeping in freezing conditions on the Arctic Messdeck, explore the process of meal prep for 950 crew members, look at ranking and responsibilities, hear the open fire of guns on D-Day, try a new World of Warships gaming room, and offer photo opportunities from the Captain’s chair. Visitors will also hear memories of veterans, the tale of a war surgeon who worked on board, and an introduction to Rear-Admiral Sir Morgan Morgan-Giles who was the HMS Belfast captain in the 1960s.
HMS Belfast is open 10am to 6pm daily with last admission at 5pm. Allocate at least 90 minutes. Tickets cost £23.60 without the addition of a recommended 10% donation. A variety of discounts are available and Imperial War Museums members visit free. Amenities include a café and a shop. Visitors should be aware that the nature of the ship impacts accessibility.