2018 is a special year as it marks the 80th anniversary of the launch of the historic warship HMS Belfast in March 1938. This iconic landmark’s history is fascinating and climbing aboard was very special … The HMS Belfast belongs to the Imperial War Museums, which I have started to present on this blog with the Imperial War Museum of London I visited back in 2016. Let’s dig into the HMS Belfast history and see what a wonderful time you can spend aboard either with your family or history lovers!
Stepping into the HMS Belfast is like getting into History. This warship is said to be “the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship”. And considering its military actions, it surely is…
This town-class light cruiser was built for the Royal Navy and launched on St Patrick’s day 1938. It was the first to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland.
After being severely damaged by a german mine at the beginning of the second World War, it returned to action in 1942 with improved equipments.
The HMS Belfast escorted Arctic convoys during 1943 and was involved in the Battle of North Cape the same year.
In June 1944, the HMS Belfast took part in operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings.
After the HMS Belfast participated in the Korean War in 1950-52 and managed a number of further overseas commissions, it entered reserve in 1963.
On 14th October 1971 HMS Belfast was anchored on the River Thames in London. It is now located near the Tower of London and Tower Bridge as a museum.
Ideal place for families and history lovers!
London is full of places where the whole family can have a good time and HMS Belfast is definitely part of them. Climbing up and down the ladders there to navigate your way around all 9 decks is quite fun for everyone!
Exploring the HMS Belfast allows the visitor to understand how it was for a crew to live onboard at war and at sea.
We get up close to the real life of these men living in the warship.
The visit was very much appreciated by the kids, as it paints a picture of the everyday life of men at war.
All the trades are well-depicted with life like wax models reproducing scenes from their everyday life.
Some of them being more scary than others …
Many stories are described all along the visit (with many pictures and films) for us to get a picture of their feelings, fears and also pride of being on this boat.
A central location
The HMS Belfast has a central position, which makes it ideal when visiting London. Moored on the Thames, near the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, it gives a perfect opportunity to stop by !
Many of London landmarks are nearby for you to enjoy either a cultural or entertaining visit of the capital:
– If you want to get close to some famous skyscrapers, the Shard or the Walky Talky are just nearby. The last one is offering a free entrance to a SkyGarden, which will leave you lasting memories!
– If you want to enjoy a great meal and drinks in a lovely place overlooking the Thames, I can recommend the Coppa Club (with its famous igloos in Winter!).
– If you just want to have a walk, I would personally follow the river Thames in direction of London Bridge and head for the Borough Market to grab something to eat there, then pass the Shakespeare Globe to make some pictures, and finally reach the Tate Modern to have a look of the city from the top floors. From there, you can walk on the Millenium Bridge and head for St Paul’s Cathedral, maybe the most iconic building in London…
There is so much to do in London! Visiting HMS Belfast gives the opportunity to know more about the life on a warship during the WW2 and it also offers an ideal starting point for a city tour… Book your tickets and share your experience on this blog!