Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Trip Round HMS Belfast

Last December, we did manage to pack rather a lot into our trip down the big smoke; as well as BBC Broadcasting House, The Churchill War Rooms and a show at the (yet to be blogged about) Royal Albert Hall, we also visited HMS Belfast.

HMS Belfast
 
 
It's somewhere Andrew’s wanted to go for a few years, being interested in history, engines and the Second World War and it also gets bonus points for accepting Tesco vouchers as entry tokens.
 
I should probably start by explaining: we were there on a very cold winter's day, on the last day of our weekend in London and at a time where I was still on crutches. Add in the fact that a large proportion of the ship is outside, there was a school party running around, very few places to sit down and guess what, it’s an actual boat (complete with stairs, narrow doorways and pillars) - well, let's just say, I think Andrew enjoyed the place a lot more than I did. I do think it's a fascinating place to visit with a huge amount of history attached, it's just a shame my experience of it was tainted by my own clumsiness back in September. Ah well.

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

 
Anyway, as well as the history, we'd be lying if we tried to claim we weren't influenced just a teensy tiny bit by this...



  
HMS Belfast was built in 1936 and played a vital part during World War II. The ship is part of the Imperial War Museum collection and is moored on the Thames just along from London Bridge and next to Hays Galleria. Tickets start from £14.50 for adult entry (or free if you change £4.50 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers online first). Once you're past the entry gate there's a long walkway to get to the boat where you get a stunning view of the Thames, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. 

HMS Belfast View to Tower Bridge

 
Then it's on to the collection booth for your 'listen to the handset' thingy which, maybe it’s just me, but I really can't get on with (I either miss half of what's being said because I'm looking at something else or I have to stand in one place to listen to the whole thing getting in the way of everybody else. Personally I find the best museums are the ones that let you look round, read stuff and investigate everything on your own terms).

HMS Belfast


Anyway, I think Andrew half-listened to a few of the items but I didn't bother and just wandered about looking at stuff. There’s a bit of a tour route around the boat which takes in the lower and upper decks and then you can go up the ladders to the bridge if you want. 

HMS Belfast


Andrew went up high while I stayed down below on the deck and I like to imagine that when he was up there, he had a go at doing this...




HMS Belfast
 You can just see me down below on the deck

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast


Each section's been reconstructed with mannequins and props showing how it would have been years ago and every time I visit some kind of boat, I'm always amazed by how many people they can fit in a small area. The dental room wasn't a particularly nice one to look at (think reconstruction of someone's tooth being pulled out!).
 
HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

 
Andrew took a lot of these pictures as being on crutches didn't really leave you with your hands free to do anything!

HMS Belfast
 
  
It took us about a couple of hours to look round the whole place although we didn't investigate the restaurant. On one hand, I'd quite like to go back again really as there was so much of the ship I couldn't get to (climbing up to the bridge was definitely a no-no), but on the other hand, there's so much more to do and explore in London!
 

6 comments:

  1. I know its well out your way, but you might enjoy a trip to the Chatham Dockyards (or your OH will at least!) It has a few war ships to explore and I really enjoyed the guided U-boat tour. And thats coming from someone who has no real interest in these kind of things! My nephews were in their element too! x

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  2. It looks amazing - I've heard about HMS Belfast but never knew that it was a "real ship" - I thought the insides were stripped out.

    Lizzie Dripping

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  3. Those museum mannequins use to scare me so much as a child growing up! Plus Outnumbered is always a great excuse for everything haha. I've been on German World War 2 sub, that's now in Chicago, that was pretty awesome, if not very cramped, it's amazing how people live in such tight quarters, I think it would drive me mad!

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  4. Oooh I really like the look of the interior!! Thanks for sharing,,I've only ever sailed past it!x

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  5. It looks a really interesting place to go although I do find the mannequins quite creepy looking. :) I noticed all their sweets that were on the display & saw the Sherbet Fountain (yum) and the bottle of Tizer.......can you still get them?! Anyway will definitely visit there when we (eventually) go to London. Xx

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  6. Ahh this looks totally up our street. SO interesting! Little bit of a shame that it was so hard for you to get around but it's so great you guys managed to fit so much in while you were there!

    xo

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Thank you very much for all your lovely comments; I do have every intention of replying but sometimes life with a baby gets in the way...

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