We've been sure to mention in our previous blogs how London is home to a vast array of history, reaching far back to the ancient Roman times, and we think it's one of the things that makes London so attractive and unique. Thus we've decided to delve deeper into one particularly interesting bit of history. A 20-minute scenic walk from our apartments and you'll stumble upon a 613ft-retired warship.
Commissioned into the Royal Navy in August 1939 the light cruiser HMS Belfast served an active role in the Second World War. Unfortunately two months into her service she suffered a devastating blow to the hull with interior damage so serious she spent three years in repairs. When she returned to the home fleet in 1942 the ship was rapidly called back into action. In the Royal Navy the HMS Belfast was the largest and most powerful of it's type and was equipped with advanced radar systems. This allowed the ship to play a vital role throughout the war.
The HMS Belfast was also involved in the Korean War during 1950 to 1952 providing support for the American and South Korean troops. She was retired from her service in 1963 after spending the last of her years performing peace-keeping duties. Just a few years after her retirement, a trust was formed to preserve the warship, and on the 21st October 1971 the Imperial War Museum opened the ship to the public in London.
This powerful ship still "stands" today permanently moored on the Thames for the people to experience and explore. Visitors can tour all 9 of the decks and learn what daily life was like for the crew on board. This floating museum is open every day between 10:00 - 18:00 (10:00 - 17:00 after 31st October). You can book your tickets online on the Imperial War Museum website, £14.50 for an adult and £7.25 for a child (5-15), with family tickets and group deals available. Or, if you're a savvy saver and have already purchased yourself The London Pass, you'll get free admission - resulting in a great saving on the adult price! This pass will also allow the holder to get 10% off the HMS Belfast gift shop. If you prefer to be spontaneous however you can also buy tickets from the admissions desk on the day.
Due to it's nature, the HMS Belfast is not fully accessible via wheelchair but modifications have been made to some areas of the ship to make them accessible for wheelchair users and even offer wheelchairs to loan if you need. We suggest you check their website before you go as they post any updates regarding lift accessibility.
We hope we've inspired you to take a trip down to the magnificent cruiser and experience the history and life below deck for yourself. As the last remaining of it's kind, it would be an absolute shame for you to miss the HMS Belfast while you're in London.
If you haven't booked your stay yet, book with us and enjoy the comfort of knowing you have a great value serviced apartment in a prime location.