Life Onboard a Warship: The HMS Belfast

Launched in March 1938, the HMS Belfast saw active duty during World War II by playing a part in destroying the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst at the Battle of North Cape and in the Normandy landings. It also served the Royal Navy in Korea and was used in peacekeeping duties in the 1950s and ’60s. It is now permanently docked in London near the Tower Bridge and is operated by the Imperial War Museum.

Don’t Miss
  • The self-guided tour that starts on the quarterdeck, goes to the bridge, and then through nine decks to see what life was like on board. It includes mess decks, officers’ cabins, a galley and sick bay.
  • The operations room with a reenactment of the ship’s part in the Battle of North Cape on December 26, 1943.
  • A visit to the boiler and engine rooms to see the huge boilers required to produce the superheated steam that propelled the ship. It took four hours to produce enough steam to get the ship moving!
Plan Your Visit
  • Prices (as of January 2015) – £16.00 for adults, £8.00 for children 5-15, and £12.80 for students and seniors. They also offer some family packages that can be found here. Imperial War Museum Members get free admission. One way to save on the ticket prices is by taking advantage of the “2 for 1 London” offer by Day’s Out Guide combined with a National Rail ticket if it is available when you are visiting. HMS Belfast is also included on the list of attractions if you purchase the London Pass.
  • Open daily from November 3 through February 28 from 1000-1700; March 1 through October 31 from 1000-1800; Closed on December 24 through 26.
  • During inclement weather they may need to close some ladders and upper decks on short notice.


Make it a Day (or two)

In the Area

  • Step  back in time to the 11th century and visit the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, and take a tour by one of the Yeoman Warders.
  • Visit one of my favourite places in London, the Tower Bridge, which now has glass floors in the high level walkways to let you see down 42 meters to the river below!
  • Take in the view of all of London from the Shard from either of floors 68,69, or 72. And then please tell me all about it.-I’m dying to get up there!
  • Fire, war, and murder- the London Bridge has seen it all and at the London Bridge Experience you’ll take a journey through all the scariest bits of London’s history. Too scary for this wimp.

Imperial War Museums

  • At the Imperial War Museum London you learn about people’s experiences of modern war and you can visit their new First World War Galleries.
  • If you like planes the Imperial War Museum Duxford  is the place to go. They have several hangars with planes from different countries and it is Britain’s best preserved WWII airfield. You can even book a flight in one of their vintage aircraft. This museum is a day trip in itself and worth the trek out of London to Cambridgeshire if you have some extra time and a car.
  • Back in London you can visit the original Cabinet War Rooms and bunker used by Churchill and his government during the Blitz at the Churchill War Rooms.
HMS Belfast Collage
Sailors hard at work at their duties on board the HMS Belfast. They look so real!


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This post is part of my London Love series.

For more information on common (and some not so common) sights in London, as well as itineraries to help you plan your time, please visit my growing collection of posts in London Love.

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