The HMS Belfast: historic warship and iconic London landmark
Originally built as a light cruiser for the Royal Navy, HMS Belfast is now a floating museum ship permanently moored on the River Thames in London by Tower Bridge. The Imperial War Museum converted the warship into a museum in 1971. Designed for offensive action and safekeeping trade, the ship has survived major disasters.
HMS Belfast was built by Messrs Harland & Wolff in 1936 and was launched by Anne Chamberlain, the wife of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, on St Patrick’s Day in 1938. The warship was commissioned under the command of Captain G A Scott DSO RN on 5th August 1939. Sent to patrol the northern waters to force a naval blockade on Germany, HMS Belfast hit a magnetic mine after two months. It severely damaged her hull, making her inoperable for three years.
The warship joined the home fleet in 1942 as the biggest and the most powerful Royal Navy cruiser, fitted with the strongest radar. The HMS Belfast played an important role in defending the Arctic convoys throughout WWII and took part in the Korean War. She spent her final years in peace-keeping duties until her retirement in 1963 after travelling half a million miles.
Climb aboard a piece of naval history
The Imperial War Museum invested much time and effort transforming the HMS Belfast into a museum. Today, she presents the highlights of WWII to younger generations. She is famous for surviving the Second World War and the Korean War. Every deck and room of the ship offers fascinating stories.
The HMS Belfast is an important piece of British naval history. It takes around 90 minutes to explore, so arrive early to tour the ship in its entirety.
Discover what life was like aboard the HMS Belfast at war and sea
Hop on board and discover what life was like aboard the HMS Belfast during wartime. Explore all nine decks and go deep into naval history. Learn about the sailors’ battle experiences and see amazing historical artefacts. You can visit the ship’s many rooms – the chapel, the laundry room, the sick bay, the wireless room, the mess decks, the captain’s deck, and an interactive audio-visual plotting table.
Interactive videos explain how the crew functioned, and the Life at Sea exhibition gives first-hand accounts from Second World War veteran. The War and Peace exhibition will also teach you plenty regarding HMS Belfast’s numerous campaigns.
The HMS Belfast is a must-see whether you are from London or visiting the city. You can enjoy some of the best views of the city’s nearby landmarks. Make the most of the photo opportunities on the main decks and the captain’s chair. Purchase tickets and take your friends and family on a tour of this amazing vessel.
- Experience the life of a navy sailor aboard a warship
- From the Captain's Bridge & engine rooms to the sailor's mess deck & operations room, there are nine decks of history for visitors to explore
- Step back in time and learn about historical events the ship was involved in over the years
- Meet and interact with the staff and volunteers, many of whom are veteran crew
- Admission Tickets
Opening HoursHMS Belfast is open 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day. Last admission is at 5 PM. The museum is closed 24th to 26th December.
How to get to HMS Belfast
London Bridge is the closest underground tube station. Exit the station via the Tooley Street exit and walk through Hays Galleria towards the River Thames. HMS Belfast is moored between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
How long does it take to explore the HMS Belfast?
Allow approximately 90 minutes to explore the museum.
Getting your tickets
Your voucher will be emailed to you within 20 minutes of purchase. You must present a printed copy at the venue.
Once purchased, tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable.
Children under 5
Children under the age of 5 years are entitled to free entry to HMS Belfast.