HMS Belfast

A visit to the HMS Belfast will open your eyes to the difficult conditions faced by the brave men who served on her decks during the war

View of the HMS Belfast with the Tower of London and Tower Bridge in the background
View of the HMS Belfast with the Tower of London and Tower Bridge in the background cc licensed photo by Ed Webster

One of the London's magnificent attractions today is the HMS Belfast. This beautiful majestic ship played such an important role in protecting and winning the war at sea during WW2. It also served in the Korean war during the 1950s. After covering over 500,000 nautical miles it retired to its current location on the River Thames in 1971 where it is now one of the Imperial War Museums.

The HMS was completed May 1936 and after just two months at sea she endured substantial injuries when accidentally striking a magnetic mine. The damage to the ship's lower bowel was so severe that discussions were made as to whether or not the ship should be fixed or demolished. After the decision was made to repair her it took three years to complete. During those three years there were major advancements in technology. Radar with an electronic eye was at that time implemented giving the HMS Belfast an edge that proved to be an extremely useful addition. This provided state of the art technology and it proved to be an advantageous tool for the crew on the ship during the war.

Imagine the feeling of being in very close encounters as the crew of nearly 1000 men had to eat, work and sleep in the same space. The beds consisted of hammocks made from canvas and one of the first skills everyone working on board had to learn was how to mount them without them folding up on them. They were tightly spaced about one foot apart from each other making for extremely close sleeping quarters.

When viewing this grand old war ship you will have a great time exploring the nine decks, climbing up and down ladders adventuring through the core of the inner battle ship. Book a private tour or enjoy an audio tour guide available in four languages that is free for anyone visiting. The languages are English, French, German, and Spanish. Hear many interesting stories of historical events and unbearable conditions that the crew had to endure. For those who chose there is also a family audio guide.

Test your skills at piloting the ship in the interactive operations room, stroll by rooms such as the bakery, the dentist's office the utilities room plus the medical room. Experience the sobering and chilling sensation of war in a simulation of battle of north Cape in the gun turret.

Overall expect to take a minimum of one and a half hours to explore the ship and exhibits, however you may want to allow considerably more time as there are so many other things to see and do including the HMS Belfast gift shop, the cafe downstairs or the rooftop bar and cafe where you can enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful views.

There are many other impressive landmarks in the area, with the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, and The Shard being particularly close, making them good candidates for visiting on the same day.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes, however admission is free with a London Pass.

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2JH, UK

Phone: 020 7940 6300

Official Website: HMS Belfast

Map of nearby accommodations: Booking.com

Directions

Tube Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Northern and Jubilee LineLondon Bridge5 minutes
District and Circle LineTower Hill16 minutes

How to get to HMS Belfast by Tube

From London Bridge Station exit onto Tooley Street and go right (east) to Battlebridge Lane, left (north) to the Thames Path, then right to the entrance of the HMS Belfast.

From Tower Hill Station on the north bank exit to the south and follow Tower Hill Terrace east to the Tower Bridge approach. Cross the Bridge to the south towers, take the stairs down to the Thames Path and follow it west to the entrance.

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Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5HMS Belfast Star Rating

4 Star Rating I was put off by the price initially but some visiting friends wanted to go so I ended up going. Turns out it was money well spent. It was fascinating walking around getting a sense for what life would've been like on such a ship in its prime.

John Coimbra Walsh - 6 days ago

5 Star Rating You get to see a lot of the light cruiser, like the engine, boiler room, shell room and of course the upper decks with a great view on the main cannons as well as the London Skyline and the tower bridge. Almost like a small museum inside, and the audio guide is free! You can explore the ship on your own, which is pretty cool. I definitely recommend it.

Yoshika Miyafuji - 11 days ago

5 Star Rating Very impressive and lovingly maintained museum ship. Almost all decks and areas of the ship can be visited. In many places there are informative boards or videos with which the process or the technical features are explained in more detail. The price is absolutely fair. You should plan two hours for the visit. Highly recommended.

Achilles Pelion - 30 days ago

5 Star Rating Very informative. Great photo opportunities. Would advise you go as early as possible to beat the crowds. Really close to Tower Bridge if you wanted to combined with one of the Tower Bridge tours. There are discounted tickets available online if you book in advance but bear in mind the museum is run mostly as a charity and your tickets help fund the upkeep and further restoration of the ship. There are toilet facilities and refreshments available on board (cash only in the cafe). There are lots of steep, narrow stairwells to take you from deck to deck. Wear sensible shoes and trousers!

Sarah Glover - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating I am lucky enough to say that I have not only been on the Belfast but to have my ship tied up along side her. Definitely a great experience, I try and visit military museums every chance I can. And this was by far the best display I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Just so much to see and learn, definitely cool to see how it was on other ships during the time period. And cool to see how our ships have changed over the years ! Lots to learn from this visit and I definitely recommend it to anyone even if they aren't into the military, good way to kill a couple hours !

kyle fenner - 2 months ago

Video


An interesting introduction to the HMS Belfast

Photo Gallery

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