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by captain kait
Houghton, New York
August 3, 2005
We got to tour the ship ourselves, winding and crawling through the narrow passages. (There are also many many sets of steep, closed-in staircases, and once you head in one direction, it's not easy to turn around. The lower areas aren't ideal for those with mobility problems or space issues, but the upper areas also offer interesting features.) The day we visited, a weekday in mid-spring, there were few other visitors, which meant we were able to explore most of the ship by ourselves. In certain areas, we came across life-sized figures posed mid-action in their duties, but these seemed to detract from the adventure of prowling through seemingly endless tunnels and tiny passageways alone. It was somewhat confusing to try and follow the set-up progression of areas, and without signs it would be easy to get lost below decks. I was amazed, however, at the opportunity to see all this up close and learn through that contact. And of course, at the end of our trip, I stood at the bow of the ship, threw my arms out, and re-created that famous scene from Titanic. The buildings along the Thames may date the ship back half a century, but while on the HMS Belfast, it's easy to lose track of time. London is famous for it's (older) history, but this fun museum would be a great stop for families or any war history buff.
From journal London Museums
October 6, 2001
The HMS Belfast is a WWII warship, England's most powerful of the time. You get to walk through many sections of the ship. See what it was like for sailors and officers. Stand on the bridge next to the Captain's chair. Aim the anti-aircraft gun (you can climb into the gunner's seat and actually move the turret and adjust the position of the barrel). Walk through the engine room and learn how steam engines worked. See what a naval kitchen was like in WWII. There's plenty to see on this ship.
The ship is full of tight, steep ladders. Keep this in mind before you go here.
The HMS Belfast is a few minutes walk from the London Dungeon and is about a 5 minute walk from the Tower Bridge, on the opposite side of the Thames from the Tower of London.
From journal London and Vicinity
London, United Kingdom
July 12, 2001
At the start of the Second World War, HMS Belfast was part of the fleet operating out of Scarpa Flow, trying to block Germany’s ports. She was then attacked by a submarine, and spent several years being overhauled before being put back into service, as an escort for convoys of merchant ships heading for the beleagued Soviet Union. The ship took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy. After the end of the war in Europe, the ship was sent to the Far East, where it later took part in the Korean War. During her active lifetime she sailed nearly half a million miles.
Today the ship is berthed just off Tooley Street, on the south side of the river near Tower Bridge. The tour of the boat takes you round the quarter-deck, with a wooden board showing the battles the ship fought in, and the gun placements, which show the ship’s formidable fire-power. I found the engine rooms very interesting – I took my brother here one Easter holiday, and he also found the vast, steam-powered systems fascinating. The tour explains how the ship was powered, and how the whole thing worked. You can also see the bridge, the officers’ and enlisted men’s living areas, and the eating rooms – and see what a crowded environment it was to live in!
The tour is very good, and the whole ship is set out with interesting maps, living objects, and navigational displays to show you how it worked. Little boys sick of churches and art galleries will love this place – and so will their parents!
Adults’ tickets are £5.40, children come in free, and OAPs and students pay £4. The nearest tube stops are Tower Hill (District and Circle lines) and London Bridge (Northern line). The ship’s open 10am to 6pm in summer, and closes an hour earlier in the winter.
From journal The greatest city in the world - London
Northern Va Suburbs of DC, Virginia
February 13, 2003
HMS Belfast is a cruiser. It was launched in 1938 and served throughout WWII.
This is a most interesting tour, and would be great for kids. They have lots of lifelike dummies in all the different cabins protraying life as it would have been when the ship was in working order. I liked seeing the kitchen, the dentist, and the sailors just sitting around playing cards. I would leave at least two hours for this tour. They have a snack bar and also a gift shop. Click
here to view their website.
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