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HMS Belfast

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The HMS Belfast was launched in 1938 and served in the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1963, seeing action in World War II, the Korean War, and then post-war exercises in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Now moored near Tower Bridge in London, the ship has been a museum since 1971, and today is part of the Imperial War Museum. With a permanent exhibition across 9 decks, plus tours and special activities for children, you can learn all about life on board a ship when you visit the HMS Belfast on your trip to London!
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Tickets & Tours

Tickets and tours which include a trip to HMS Belfast.
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Go On-Board HMS Belfast & See London's 30+ Sights Tour
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Go On-Board HMS Belfast & Westminster Sights Walking Tour
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3 tips for visiting the HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast
Wear flat shoes and clothes which let you move freely! The 9 decks of the ship need to be navigated via ladders, steep steps, and narrow gangways. You’ll also need to pay attention when moving from room to room as you have to step over the thresholds, which were designed to keep each room watertight.
Make sure that you pick up the audio guide! It’s included in the price of entry, so even if you don’t want to use it to guide your whole trip, it might still come in handy if there’s anything you’re particularly curious about. It also has a special audio channel for children!
HMS Belfast is a very popular attraction, especially with school groups and families. Try to arrive early in the morning to enter before it gets crowded, as the vessel tends to fill up over the course of the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is HMS Belfast?

HMS Belfast is a Royal Navy ship launched in 1938 and received her commission in 1939, a month before the outbreak of World War II. The ship and her crew saw active duty in the North Sea and Arctic Circle before participating in the D-Day landings. In 1945 she was sent to Sydney to assist in the war in the Far East, but Japan’s surrender on August 15 meant she didn’t see active duty in the region during the war. The ship remained posted to stations in the Far East until the outbreak of the Korean war when she became part of the United Nations naval force. She was recommissioned for the last time in 1963, was sent to Gibraltar, and took part in minesweeping exercises in the Mediterranean, before returning to Portsmouth. Throughout the 60s and 70s, various voices lobbied to prevent Belfast from being scrapped, and in 1971 she was towed to London and outfitted as a museum before opening to the public on October 21, 1971, the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. She’s been a floating museum ever since. Read more.

What will we see inside the ship?

HMS Belfast has 9 decks open to the public, and most of them are set up to show visitors what it would have been like to live and work on a navy vessel. You’ll see sleeping quarters, the sick bay, the bakery, the gun turrets, and the laundry room, plus the Flag Deck and Operations Room, where the captain and officers would command the ship. You’ll also be able to visit Serving the Seas, a permanent interactive exhibition marking the 80-year history of HMS Belfast, and featuring stories from members of her crews throughout the years. Throughout the year there’ll also be special events, such as Ship Shape, which introduces visitors to what it takes to keep a ship in good working condition and prevent damage in the future. Read more.

Does the ship move or is it stationary?

A hole was dug in the river bed to accommodate HMS Belfast’s hull when she was first moored at Tower Bridge, but since the River Thames is a tidal river she still rises and falls as the surrounding water moves. She’s attached to two dolphins (stable man-made structures - not the animal) which make sure that she doesn’t move too much, even in the strongest tides. The motion of her rise and fall is quite gentle, and generally does not cause seasickness. Read more.

Will my children enjoy a trip to HMS Belfast?

Absolutely! Children aged 5 and over will enjoy climbing up and down ladders and exploring the ship’s decks, engaging with the interactive exhibits, and listening to the special child-friendly version of the audio guide. Those visiting with very young children might find the ladders and stairs to be a challenge. Only the ‘2’ deck is accessible with a stroller, at other times small children may need to be carried, assisted, or carefully watched as they move between decks. Read more.

How long should I plan for my visit?

It takes at least 90 minutes to explore the whole ship if you’re in a rush. That being said, if you want to read all the displays, grab a bite to eat at the café, or take part in any of the activities for families, you may want to spend half a day inside the museum. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The HMS Belfast is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm with the final admission at 5 pm. The museum is closed on December 24, 25, and 26.


Tickets on the day cost £27.25 (£30 with donation) for adults (aged 16 to 64), £24.50 (£27 with donation) for concessions (those aged over 65, students, and disabled visitors), and £13.60 (£15 with donation) for children aged 5 to 15. Children aged under 5 can enter free of charge. Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.


HMS Belfast
The Queen's Walk

how to get there

The HMS Belfast is a short walk from London Bridge station which is served by Southern, Southeastern and Thameslink line trains, and the London Underground (Northern and Jubilee lines). London Bridge is also served by bus numbers 17, 21/N21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 133/N133, 141, 149, 344, 343/N343, 381, 521, N199, and RV1. The HMS Belfast can also be reached by London Underground services to Tower Hill (Circle and District lines), a station which is also served by the 15/N15 bus route.
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