HMS Belfast was launched in 1938 and served with distinction in both the Second World War and the Korean War. One of the most powerful large light cruisers ever built, HMS Belfast is now the only surviving vessel of her type to have seen active service during the Second World War.
Best known for her role during the Second World War in supporting the Allied troops on D-Day, HMS Belfast offers nine decks of history for visitors to explore. From the Captain’s Bridge to the sailor’s mess deck, operations room and engine rooms, visitors will hear her battle stories and experience what life was like for her 950 c rew.
HMS Belfast is now moored on the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
In January 2009 a new exhibition, Launch! Shipbuilding Through the Ages opened. Launch! focuses on the science, engineering and social history of shipbuilding in Britain from the ‘age of sail’ to modern prefabrication methods.
Why not combine your visit to HMS Belfast with other famous attractions and activities in London such as Kensington Palace or a Thames Cruise.
One of the most powerful large light cruisers ever built, HMS Belfast is now the only surviving vessel of her type to have seen active service during the Second World War. HMS Belfast played a leading part in the destruction of the battle cruiser Scharnhorst, and also the Normandy Landings. In service with the Royal Navy until 1965, she was saved for the nation in 1971 as a unique reminder of Britain’s naval heritage.
Launch! Shipbuilding Through the Ages
This new family-orientated exhibition will use hands-on and computerised interactive displays and engaging film and footage to demonstrate techniques of shipbuilding, from the ‘age of sail’ to modern prefabrication methods. The exhibition will focus on the science, engineering and social history of shipbuilding in Great Britain, and the interactive elements of the exhibition will allow children of all ages to get involved and experience this history.
‘What shall we give in return for so much?’ One of the most powerful large light cruisers ever built, HMS Belfast is now the only surviving vessel of her type to have seen active service during the Second World War. Serving Britain for 32 years, she played an important role in both the Second World War and the Korean War as well as performing peacekeeping duties throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Saved from destruction in 1971, HMS Belfast is now part of the Imperial War Museum and is the first ship to be preserved for the nation since Nelson’s Victory. Through its team of staff and volunteers – many of whom are veteran crew – the Imperial War Museum is dedicated to making sure that HMS Belfast still has a role to play in reminding visitors of her unique place in Britain’s maritime heritage.
History of HMS Belfast
The term 'cruiser' goes back to the days of sailing ships when large frigates could be detached from the main fleet to cruise independently. The sailing cruiser, like her twentieth-century counterpart, was sufficiently powerful and fast to attack and destroy enemy commerce raiders. During the nineteenth century when sail gave way to steam and wooden ships were replaced by those built of iron, and later of steel, the cruiser evolved into a powerful warship which was used to patrol the Empire trade routes and protect friendly merchant shipping. After the First World War (1914-1918) a single category of cruiser emerged whose size was indicated by the size of its guns; thus, HMS Belfast is a 6-inch cruiser, designed for the protection of trade, for offensive action, and as a powerful support for amphibious operations.
Please note: children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Please allow 1½ - 2 hours for your visit.
Dates & Times
|01 Mar - 31 Oct:
||10.00 - 18.00 (last entry 17.00)
|01 Nov - 28 Feb:
||10.00 - 17.00 (last entry 16.00)
|24 - 26 Dec:
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7 August 2016
Fun for kids and grandparent. Plus relaxing, uncrowned views of the river.
1 August 2016
Had a fantastic time on the HMS Belfast, so much history and some amazing views of all the surrounding London sights (Tower Bridge, Shard, City Hall etc.) Would recommend you give this attraction at least two and a half hours, more if you intend to read all the relevant information and have a go on the interactive resources available. All in all, a great day out learning about history and great photo opportunities, not only of the HMS Belfast but also other sights. Well worth a visit.
1 August 2016
Overall very interesting, just a shame that not every part of the ship could be accessed, but still an enjoyable experience.
25 July 2016
Tour signs can be a bit better.
19 June 2016
Hello . We had a great time exploring the Belfast .Found the audio guides very useful and also the many sources of information around the vessel taught us many things . As i work as a marine engineer i found this visit very interesting .we found all the members of staff , very friendly and helpful .
10 June 2016
Fabulous visit in every respect. I took my young great nephew and he learnt more about the history of the second world war than he has ever heard at school. The access to all areas was marvellous and the audio tape very informative, giving a real feeling of what it must have been like to serve on this proud ship.
20 April 2016
I took my kids to HMS Belfast and we had a great time
5 March 2016
Great day out, lots to see and a lot of information about the historical events the ship was involved in over the years. Lots of ladders to climb so probably not for the less-nimble.
12 September 2015
A definite must do when in London
10 September 2015
Lovely day out, really appreciated how life was on board this ship thank you