HMS Belfast was originally a Royal Navy light cruiser in operation from the Second World War right up until 1963 when it was finally retired from Her Majesty's Navy and bought by Imperial War Museum. It's located on the river Thames, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge with views over the Tower of London (which is something of an experience itself - especially for first time visitors to London).
Below board, nine decks have been restored and brought back to apparently functional life; complete with sailors and military men of all kinds apparently cracking on with their work.
The history of HMS Belfast is unique: having been designed for the protection of trade and offensive action she was involved in patrolling the northern waters in efforts to impose a maritime blockade on Germany, hit by a magnetic mine and on rejoining the feel in 1942 was the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy and equipped with the most advanced radar systems. She sank the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst during the Battle of Noth Cape and remained protecting the arctic convoys until 1944 when she spent five weeks supporting the D-Day landings.
All this history - right up to her role in the Korean War - can be drunk up in detail by families wondering around with headsets or, best of all, just by getting hopelessly lost in the endless cabins and decks, from the gun rooms to officers quarters to kitchens and sick bays.
A real treat for children with an interest in military history that will make them feel as though they've somehow lived life as a naval commander during the Second World War.
|Where||HMS Belfast, The Queen's Walk, London , SE1 2JH | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
01 Dec 15 – 31 Mar 16, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|