A couple of weeks ago, I decided to visit HMS Belfast, the WW2 ship moored on the Thames near London Bridge station. I’d got a Tesco Clubcard voucher which was about to expire, and thought I should use it up sharpish! Unfortunately the Sunday I visited was one of the hottest days of the year, and I can tell you it got pretty warm inside the ship. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my visit.
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HMS Belfast is run by the Imperial War Museums, and information can be found on the same website. The ship was built in Belfast and launched in 1936. Hit by a mine in 1939, she had to undergo thorough repairs before returning to service in 1942, helping to protect Arctic convoys (Russia’s wartime supplies) and playing a crucial role in the Battle of North Cape. She also played a key role during the D-Day landings. HMS Belfast is the last remaining ship of her type in existence, and has been in position on the Thames for over 40 years.
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Outside the ship it was hot, but inside it was even worse – hot and stuffy. The filmed ‘battle’ on the gun deck was highly entertaining, though. When I reached the ship proper, I was amused to find this sign:
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I found the waxworks on the ship rather creepy, particularly this grim-looking fellow. Others could be found baking in the kitchen, manning the controls and lying in hammocks.
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I ventured down to the bowels of the ship to explore, which involved a good deal of climbing up and down ladders (and is not recommended for young children). This would have been more fun if it had been less warm. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with being below the waterline, and was rather glad to be back on deck.
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Front of the ship
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Prow of the ship
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Prow of the ship
Even if you’re not really into naval history, HMS Belfast is a good place to visit, as there is lots to see (including a number of small exhibitions inside the ship). I enjoyed it – especially as I got in for free!
Address: The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2JH
Opening Hours: 10am-6pm
Prices: Adult £16, Concession £12.80, Child £8; under-5s free