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. Visit official website for details.

HMS Belfast Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

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

Phone: 020 7940 6300

Official Website: HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast Reviews

Rated 4.7 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating I always love paying a visit to historical military ships and this one does not disappoint! With the HMS Belfast being a cruiser, this ship isn’t as daunting as a larger battleship, and you can explore this one comfortably in about 2 - 4 hours depending on your speed and if you feel the need to stop and read / listen to each section (audio guides come free with admission). There are directional arrows to guide guests along the right path so you don’t get lost. Be ready for lots of tight spaces, especially when going up or down the stairs that are really more like ladders. There is also a cafe on the ship with bathrooms so they have done a good job to provide amenities to visitors. The gift shop was fun but I wish it had more to offer.
Cody P - a week ago

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4 Star Rating Amazing day trip with the family. Perfect place to go if you any interest in WW2 or Ships. Stunningly preserved and really well presented. Lots to see and do. Very interactive for big and little kids. Lots of atmosphere. Lots of ladders so you need to be fairly agile. Lovely day out. Takes about 2 hours. Nice picnic and cafe facilities. Very highly recommended. A must. PS - Pre booking is needed
Matt Wallace - 3 months ago

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4 Star Rating The reason I give it 4 out of 5 stars, in some parts of the boat signed are not clear where to go and I end up going in circles and missed some of the objectives. On the website I think should mention that you need like 3-4 hours to properly visit it. We entered at 14:30 , and had no time to visit it properly . Apart from that I fully recommend and definitely I will come back to see the missed parts.
Iulia Marin - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating A beautiful piece of history that sits on the river right in the centre of London. Didn't have time to go in and check out the interior, but worth seeing even from afar, especially if naval history piques your interest.
Bent Zent - in the last week

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5 Star Rating HMS BELFAST boat in London I can only recommend. It is not just an ordinary museum. I liked the possibility of interaction that bring the ship's history to life. For a moment you feel like you are part of the crew. All those who served on HMS BELFAST were heroes to me. We spent a few hours on the boat. definitely worth a visit. 👍👍👍👍⚓️
Malu K - 3 weeks ago

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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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