HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast is moored close to Tower Bridge, opposite the Tower of London, on the River Thames.

The ship shows you what it was like to live and work on board a warship that saw plenty of action during World War II. You can explore nine decks of incredible maritime history, learn battle stories from the Second World War and beyond, and get a taste of what a sailor's life was really like aboard this magnificent warship.

Built by Messrs Harland & Wolff of Belfast in 1936, it was launced by Anne Chamberlain, wife of the then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, on St. Patrick's Day 1938. After fitting out and builder's trials, the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 5 August 1939 under the command of Captain G.A. Scott DSO RN.

HMS Belfast served throughout the Second World War, playing a leading part in the destruction of the battle cruiser, Scharnhorst, and also was involved in the Normandy Landings. It was in service with the Royal Navy until 1965, when she was saved for the nation and was opened to the public on 21st October in 1971. Today, she is the last remaining vessel of her type - one of the largest and most powerful light cruisers ever built!

You can discover how the ship works, from the Engine Room deep in the bowels of the ship to the Operations Room and Compass Platform, the nerve center where the Captain controlled the ship at sea.

The Gun Turret Experience immerses you in the midst of a battle during the Second World War while the interactive Operations Room gives you a taste of being Captain as you control a fleet of ships off North Borneo.

You will find out what it was like to live as part of a ship's community - eating, sleeping and socializing together in cramped quarters. Down in the bowels of the ship; imagine what it was like to work among the noise and savagery of the inner workings of the ship.

You can wander around the ship at your own leisure, or you can even book a private tour (you must book and pay for in advance) with one of the Ship's Company where you will:

  • Hear the unique stories of how sailors survived in freezing conditions during the Arctic Convoys, what it was like to be one of the first ships firing on D-Day plus HMS Belfast's role as part of the United Nations forces in Korea from 1950 to 1952.
  • Discover some of the quirky sailors' stories of living and working on board, including the time a reindeer joined the crew.
  • Enjoy exclusive access behind the barriers for the perfect photo opportunity.

The cost is around $22.00 for adults and under 16's go free, making it very good value for families!

HMS Belfast is open daily:

March to October 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (last admission 5:00 p.m.)

November to February 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (last admission 4:00 p.m.)

Top Tips:

  • It is recommended you allow at least 90 minutes to look around.
  • The Walrus cafe onboard serves a variety of hot and cold snacks, meals, drinks, sandwiches and confectionery. There are also many cafes and restaurants nearby.
  • The ship's shop provides a wide range of books, CD's, DVD's, clothing and accessories, posters and stationery, souvenirs and gift ideas.
  • Be aware there are a lot of steps and ladders.

HMS Belfast is a treat for anyone who enjoys 20th century military or naval history - you'll be amazed at what you learn!

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