While it’s camouflaged exterior ensured its survival during the second world war, the HMS Belfast now stands out on the southern shore of the River Thames as a London landmark and the only floating part of The Imperial War museum. Permanently moored on the south side of the river, the HMS Belfast is easily accessed from the Southbank area and welcomes over a quarter million visitors per year!
Guests are invited to hop aboard HMS Belfast to explore what life was like living at war and at sea. With nine decks in total, this museum allows patrons to wander freely and interact with audio and visual exhibits of their choosing.
This Royal Navy cruiser was launched on March 17th 1938 in Belfast, Northern Ireland making this year it’s 80th and certainly a cause for celebration. While Belfast was later, used in the Korean War, the ship was officially decommissioned in the 1960’s and since 1971, has been a museum ship after being saved from destruction in a scrapyard. Soon after opening as a museum, the HMS Belfast became incorporated into the Imperial War Museum network which has five branches including the Churchill War Rooms in Westminster. This incorporation is a great advantage to those looking to tour multiple museums a day since tickets are easily combined and The Imperial War museum network offers a yearly membership for those wishing to visit its attractions scattered throughout London and the greater United Kingdom. For just £35 a year, you’ll get unlimited free admission to HMS Belfast, Churchill War Rooms and IWM Duxford.
Here’s some helpful information for your next visit to The HMS Belfast:
The HMS Belfast is located on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. The nearest rail and Underground stations are both London Bridge. It is open daily November 4th to February 20th: 10am – 5pm (last admission 4pm and February 21st to November 3rd 10am – 6pm (last admission 5pm). Keep in mind that in particularly bad weather, portions of HMS Belfast may be closed to the public or the entire craft may be closed to the public completely.