HMS Belfast – A London Naval Museum

HMS Belfast – A Naval Museum Managed By The Imperial War Museum:

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HMS Belfast, London © Travel Signposts

Moored on the River Thames in London is the HMS Belfast, a Royal Navy cruiser which is now a naval museum and part of the property of the Imperial War Museum.

Built in Belfast and launched on St. Patrick’s Day in 1938, HMS Belfast was named after the capital of Northern Ireland. She was commissioned in August 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

HMS Belfast served throughout WWII and is famous for the role she played in the destruction of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst during the Battle of North Cape. Designed for offensive action and for supporting amphibious operations, HMS Belfast was also one of the first ships to provide cover fire for the advancing Allied troops at the Normandy D-Day Landings. After the war, she supported the United Nations forces in Korea and remained in active service with the Royal Navy until 1963 when she was decommissioned.

HMS Belfast was intended to be scrapped in 1967, but fortunately she was saved by a joint committee from the Imperial War Museum who fought for her preservation. In 1971 HMS Belfast became the first ship to be saved for the nation since Nelson’s HMS Victory and is now a unique part of Britain’s twentieth century naval heritage.

HMS Belfast – A Naval Museum

An unusual, but now familiar sight on the River Thames, HMS Belfast has been used as a floating naval museum since 1971.  A part of it has been recreated to replicate what it was like in 1943.  This naval museum is a great place to learn about the ship and the role it played as an escort on the Russian convoys and the bombarding force at the D-Day Landings. Original artefacts, audio-visual reconstructions and life-like models help to bring HMS Belfast’s dramatic story to life. The museum is great place for a family outing and children can even try on original uniforms and handle historical artefacts.

To fully explore HMS Belfast, it is best to allow 1½ – 2 hours for your visit.  A free audio guide is included in the admission price.  Between decks the ladders are sloped so for a safe visit make sure to wear appropriate footwear. The London Pass includes free entry to HMS Belfast so if you’re doing a bit of London sightseeing, it is cheaper to purchase the London Pass for your HMS Belfast visit.

The nearest tube station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee Line) or Tower Hill (District and Circle Line)

Opening Times:
1 Mar – 31 Oct 10:00 – 18:00
1 Nov – 28 Feb 10:00 – 17:00

HMS Belfast
Morgan’s Lane
Tooley Street
London SE1 2JH
Website: www.hmsbelfast.iwm.org.uk/

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Comments

    • avatarTony Page says

      Unfortunately, HMS Belfast is currently closed and will not be reopening until after Easter 2012. HMS Belfast is closed because in November 2011 a pedestrian walkway from the embankment onto the ship suddenly collapsed into the Thames, injuring two men. Definitely worth it when it re-opens, though.

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