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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31 May 2015
Well worth the visit while in the capital.
16 April 2015
Very competitive prices. Will use you again.
14 April 2015
Was pleased that this visit turned out to be very interesting.... much more than what I've expected it to be.
13 April 2015
enjoyed our trip,group aged from 4 to 70 but did not care ,at all, for the "art works" I felt all ready for a Dr. Who film crew to arrive!!!!
7 April 2015
Slightly disappointed that none of the ship had been restored to the pre 1950's re-fit as would have liked to imagine what it was like during WW2. Very enjoyable through apart from the stupid artwork you'd let that idiot decorate all the mannequins with
6 April 2015
Very easy to do and download the tickets and they were the cheapest I could find, very happy all roind
5 April 2015
Very interesting day out with lots of historical detail which was fascinating. The Belfast is an incredible ship and it was amazing to witness this feat of engineering and also to imagine what it would have been like to live day to day on such cramped conditions with so many others.
26 March 2015
A really fascinating ship to visit, Enjoyed all the exhibits. It was good to be able to access most of the ship with very few restrictions. Lots of information and photographs on the data boards.
8 March 2015
The museum is well-maintained, decent audio guide (included), clean bathrooms. Very interesting, informative look into what it would have been like to live on board a war ship, and nicely choreographed, if small, section dedicated to the ship's war history and miscellaneous artifacts. I enjoyed the extra touches to enhance the sensual experience: smell of baking bread, lowered temperature at the quarters in the front of the ship, disinfectant smell in infirmary. Don't miss the boiler room, but be prepared to walk backwards down skinny stairways.
1 March 2015
My daughter and I had an amazing morning on HMS Belfast. We were first through the gates and spent a full 3 hours on board.
It is like a maze, and a museum all rolled into one.
Brilliant information around the ship and on the audio and interactive displays.
Good morning out.