If you have ever been to London you must have seen the HMS Belfast, which is anchored underneath the Tower Bridge. The HMS Belfast is one of the most powerful light cruisers ever built and the only surviving vessel of her type to have seen active service during World War 2. In May 1971, having been in service for 32 years she was due for decommission, but luckily the Imperial War Museum stepped in, encouraging the formation of a private trust that led to her been permanently moored in London.
HMS Belfast is now an interactive museum where you can explore what life on board a warship must have been like. There are nine decks on board, allowing you to explore maritime history.
For the first time since HMS Belfast opened its doors to visitors in 1971 the ship’s Operations Room is now open to the public. This was the nerve centre and brain of the entire ship allowing them to know where the enemy was. This has an exciting interactive display allowing you to experience what it must have been like during times of war.
The interactive display includes a new simulated radar which plots other ship’s positions, based on the real-life Pony Express exercise of 1961 which involved 60 warships, 20,000 naval personnel and 6,000 US, British and Australian troops off North Borneo in the South China Sea. There are also lots of exciting presentations, hands-on activities and workshops available on visits to HMS Belfast.
I must say this looks like a fabulous day out and I know that my son would really enjoy it. I will have to think of a reason to get to London. If like me you live a long way away you can download this activity sheet to do with your kids. My son had fun doing it.
HMS Belfast Operations Room Information
FREE ENTRY for children under 16, Adults £13.50, Seniors/Students £10.80
Opening Times: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Recommended for ages 8 and upwards