HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London

Last updated: 01/10/2019

A different tour option in London for those who want to get away from conventional museums is to visit the HMS Belfast, a warship docked in London that currently houses a very interesting museum.


HMS Belfast is one of the most important warships of WWII. Originally a member of the British Royal Navy, he traveled all over the world, facing extreme weather conditions, participating in expeditions in various locations.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Current location of HMS Belfast, close to The Shard and London City Hall

The construction of the ship began in 1936 and its name is a tribute to the city of Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, where it was built. In 1939, HMS Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. However, at the end of the same year, Belfast was hit by a German mine and spent the next two years going through a repair process. He returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment, and armor.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
HMS Belfast seen from the Sky Garden

In 1943, he participated in operations in the Arctic for escort of Soviet ships. The following year, he participated in operations supporting the landing of troops in the region of Normandy (action known as Day D). Then he went to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving just before the end of World War II. Between 1950 and 1952, he was present during the Korean War and continued to participate in other overseas actions. Finally, he “retired” in 1963. Since 1971, HMS Belfast has served as a museum..

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To visit HMS Belfast, you can buy your ticket online or directly at the ticket office. It is necessary to access the ship via a bridge of sorts, as it is anchored in the River Thames. Show your ticket to the clerk and pick up the audioguide to begin your tour of the ship. HMS Belfast is quite large and you have to pay attention to follow the numbers shown in each room. Each issue has a corresponding audio explaining the functions of each place, and curiosities about the daily life of the ship's crew.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
ship aisles

Book 2 to 3 hours to be able to explore the details of the ship's corners. The tour requires you to go up and down several stairs to fully understand the workings of HMS Belfast. The exhibition, in addition to being very explanatory, has the presence of dolls that simulate the habits of officers. Virtually the entire ship can be explored, passing through the laundry, kitchen, dormitories, control rooms, engine room, warehouses, infirmary and much more. There are 5 upper floors and 3 lower floors!

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
All floors of the ship


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Read more: What to do in London – Complete itinerary of 5 days or more



When crossing the footbridge and taking the audio guide, you will reach Floor 0. This is the main floor that will give access to the others during the tour. Right at the entrance there is a television showing a video about the ship. For those looking straight ahead, go left along the corridor until you find a door to enter the ship and start the tour itself, following the numbers that are shown in each room. The figure below better shows the path taken during the tour.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London

Following the red arrows you will see all the rooms on the ship in order. It looks a little confusing at the time of the visit, but using this little map, you won't get lost. Notice that throughout the tour of Floor 0, you will descend several times to the Lower Floors (-1, -2, -3). Follow the signs because the ship is organized for you to go down a certain ladder and go up another, so you don't run into another visitor in the opposite direction. So respect the signage.


Here you will find most of the rooms on the ship: laundry, woodworking and electrical room, post office, chapel, radio, butcher, bakery, kitchen, sailors' accommodation, medical and dental clinic, radio, grocery store and two exhibitions: Life at Sea (Sea Life) and War and Peace.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Time to start the visit
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
ship butcher shop
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
The bakery
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
sailors' dormitories
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Exhibitions on the activity of HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
There was even a mini surgical center inside.

LOWER FLOORS (-1, -2, -3)

These floors house the ship's boiler and engine room. This one is pretty tight and the area is more difficult to access. It is not recommended that small children go down the site due to limited mobility. There are signs that show that show certain areas are below the water level. On Floor -2 there are also rooms that house bombs used in wars.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
3 lower floors where the boilers and engine room are located
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Tip: go down facing the stairs
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
It's easy to get lost in this tangle of cables and pipes
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Bombs, lots of bombs

UPPER FLOORS (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The largest of these floors is 1, where you can walk to the front deck of the ship and see the anchor and very heavy chains. These floors also house the admiral's and captain's cockpit, private officers' cabins, operations and monitoring room. The last deck houses the ship's flag.

HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
View from the front of the ship
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
View of the ship from one of the upper decks
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Control room
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
Captain and Admiral's Cabin
HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London
captain's dorm


Right at the ticket office on HMS Belfast, there is a bar called Tom's Kitchen. It has two floors and is an excellent option during summer days, enjoying the view from the terrace. On the ground floor is a delhi to buy quick snacks and drinks. Those taking the tour inside HMS Belfast have the option of getting to know the HMS Café (Floor 1), which offers ready-to-eat snacks, cakes, muffins and ice cream.


By subway, the best options are:

  • London Bridge Station: Northern Line (black) and Jubilee Line (grey) – 5 min. on foot
  • Tower Hill Station: District Line (green) and circle line (yellow) – 15 to 20 min. on foot


HMS Belfast

  • Address: The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2JH
  • Schedules: daily from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: £15.30 (includes audio guide) – buy online in this link

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HMS Belfast: Battleship docked in London - Travelers

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