We booked Belfast with trepidation, taking five children on-board a WWII Cruiser was daunting. Steep stairs, narrow gangways and confined rooms.

After spending several hours exploring the amazing ship we were proved wrong. The children copped with the layout better than I did. A few pounds lighter and an inch or two narrower would have done me well. I am, of-course referring to my Christmas Bulge that seems to last longer and longer each year.

After battling the London traffic, dodging all the storm damage we made it to our pre-booked parking, north of the river, was easy to find and gave plenty of space for manoeuvring into the space marked on the map. It was a cold day but bright, we walked around the Tower of London, over Tower Bridge and down past City Hall then into the smart, modern admin building. Nice little cafe area, if a touch expensive. Fast, friendly and efficient staff got us processed and on our way quickly, with a quick toilet stop for the younger members of the group. We had pre-booked via the web site and only had to pay for one adult. Very reasonable of IWM.

Along the gang way we marched, ready for service aboard HMS Belfast. Greeted by friendly staff handing out FREE audio guides for all. They engaged the children well and built their excitement before climbing the first ladder to the Gun Turret Experience. Very nicely done, not over the top and enough to make you feel like your there in the midst of battle in the icy waters around North Cape.

Back down and we started to climb down into the bowels of this great ship. The engine room is fascinating, so intricate and pre-computer control. With an engine case removed you can see just how detailed the steam turbine is. The sound experience really helps give you the feeling of how deafening the engine room must have been and the size just seems overwhelming.

So much to see and experience on-board the ship. We took our time and explored every, open, part of the ship. I won’t go into more detail as I don’t want to spoil your visit. This is such a great place to visit and the educational value is priceless.

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