This post will provide details about how to visit the historic HMS Belfast, including tickets, discounts, exhibits and nearby attractions.
Ticket prices are rather affordable, particularly if you take advantage of one of the many available discounts.
Prices below are for tickets purchased in advance online. Tickets at the entrance gate cost slightly more.
- Adult (16-64): £24.50
- Child (5-15): £12.25
- Concessions: £22.05
- Child under 5: free
NOTE: Concession prices are valid for seniors over the age of 65, students with ID, and disabled visitors.
As per the cancellation policy mentioned in Imperial War Museums website, tickets are non-transferrable and non-refundable.
Thus visitors are requested to carefully select date, time and number of tickets required.
There are a variety of different ways to save money on tickets to the HMS Belfast.
This section will cover some of the best discounts you can get on admission to this notable landmark.
In the past, admission to HMS Belfast has been included for free or at a discount in most London tourist attraction discount passes.
Sadly, tickets to this attraction are not currently provided by any of the London tourist passes.
That said, if you're planning to visit other attractions in the area, these services might still save you a lot of money on additional activities.
It's also worth noting that HMS Belfast is likely to be included with these tourist passes in the future, so you might want to check what they have to offer.
These passes can save you up to 55% off of the retail prices of many of London’s top attractions and tours such as the following:
- Tower Bridge
- Windsor Castle
- Tower of London
- Kensington Palace
- St. Paul's Cathedral
- Westminster Abbey
- Hampton Court Palace
- Churchill War Rooms
- Thames River Cruise
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- And more!
They can also save you time by allowing you to skip the queue.
Consider one of the following discount passes:
Each of these services provides admission to several attractions for one low price.
Take a look at our post covering London City Passes for more details.
There are currently two combo packages available which include admission to the HMS Belfast:
- £58/Adults | £28/Children
- Includes admission to HMS Belfast
- Includes a Westminster walking tour
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
- £95/Adults | £45/Children
- Includes admission to HMS Belfast
- Includes admission to Churchill War Rooms
- Includes a 3-Hour Westminster walking tour
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
Both of these discount sites frequently provide great deals on local activities and attractions in London.
2 For 1 Ticket Programme
The 2 For 1 program allows National Rail customers to enjoy a buy-one-get-one-free deal on several popular activities in London.
In the past, they used to offer this deal on tickets for HMS Belfast.
There are a few (somewhat inconvenient) rules you need to follow to take advantage of this discount, but it can be a great way to save money on admission.
Although this deal is not currently available as of August 2023, we recommend checking the Days Out Guide to see if it's being offered when you plan to visit HMS Belfast.
Students, and adults over 64 pay slightly less for tickets. Be sure to bring your ID.
Tickets for individuals with a disability cost slightly less and one carer is allowed to enter for free. (See prices above).
As of August 2023, it offers free admission to serving UK armed forces and veterans on both Armed Forces Day and Remembrance Sunday.
Proudly moored on the south side of the River Thames near London Bridge, the HMS Belfast was saved from the scrapyard in the 1960s by the Imperial War Museum who now operate the craft as a museum ship.
For those who love history, especially the history of WWII, a visit to the HMS Belfast is a must.
TIP: Check out our post detailing London’s other military museums.
Best Times to Go
Most people stay about 90 minutes, however, with the amount of information in the exhibits, one could spend half a day here.
Fortunately for travelers, you can visit any day of the year except December 24, 25, and 26. Weekdays are less crowded, with most people visiting between 11 am - 3 pm.
On weekends, there are considerably more visitors, with the busiest times being 12 pm - 4 pm.
Where is the HMS Belfast?
The nearest Underground stop is London Bridge, but you could also reach the ship easily from Tower Hill and Monument Underground stations.
You can also take the National rail to the London Bridge station.
We recommend using this Google map to get exact directions from anywhere in London.
TIP: If you are new to London, you might be interested in reading our post on how to use the London Underground.
Alternatively, if you are considering purchasing a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket while in London, keep in mind that all companies make a stop here.
Directions for Drivers
If you're on the north side, drive south on A3 or A201 towards London Bridge. Cross the bridge, turn left onto Tooley Street, and you'll find HMS Belfast on your right.
If you're on the south side, head north on A200, cross Tower Bridge, turn right onto Tooley Street, and you'll spot HMS Belfast on your right. Parking is available nearby.
Directions for Tube users
If you're on the north side of the Thames, take the Northern or Jubilee line to London Bridge station. Walk south across London Bridge, and you'll reach HMS Belfast on the river's south bank near Morgan's Lane.
If you're on the south side, use the District or Circle line to Tower Hill station, then head southeast on Tower Bridge Approach to find HMS Belfast on the north bank of the Thames.
Directions for Bus users
From the north side, take bus 343 towards London Bridge and alight at London Bridge station. Walk south across the bridge to HMS Belfast on the south bank.
From the south side, take bus RV1 towards Covent Garden and disembark at Tower Bridge Road. Walk east to reach HMS Belfast on the north bank of the Thames near Morgan's Lane.
- Open daily except December 24, 25 & 26
- 4 November to 20 February: 10 am - 5 pm (last admission 4 pm)
- 21 February to November: 10 am - 6 pm (last admission 5 pm)
NOTE: In particularly bad weather, some portions may be closed to the public or the entire craft may be closed to the public completely.
Due to limited space on HMS Belfast, larger backpacks and luggage are not allowed.
There are plenty of places nearby to store your bags, however.
Tourists visiting the Belfast are given an audio guide to assist as they walk in and along the numerous corridors, sectors, and hallways throughout the ship, getting a glimpse of what life was like for those that historically worked on this vessel.
This is a very useful service included with the price of your ticket, and it can help you learn a lot about all the exhibits on the HMS Belfast.
There are separate family-friendly audio guides for visitors under the age of 12, ensuring that families need not worry about their children being disturbed by certain exhibits and artifacts.
Free audio guides are available in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Russian and Spanish.
There are several popular attractions in the vicinity of the HMS Belfast. You might want to combine your visit to the ship with another attraction. Here are some of them:
Another idea is to take a ferry ride on the nearby commuter ferry, the Thames Clippers.
Since you have just been on a stationary ship, you might like to get out on the water and actually move!
The Thames Clipper is a commuter ferry, not a cruise. It departs from the London Bridge City Pier, just a 5-minute walk from the HMS Belfast.
It is an affordable way to see the London skyline from the river. You can find out more about the Thames Clipper from our post about which London boat trips are best.
The HMS Belfast is one of the most historic ships in all of England, and it has been lovingly transformed into a “floating museum.”
Each room on the ship is essentially its own exhibit, with authentic artifacts from the era and sometimes even interactive displays to help visitors learn more about how the area was used.
In this section, we will cover some of the more popular experiences and exhibitions included on the HMS Belfast.
Gun Turret Experience
This is a relatively new exhibit that covers the turrets on the second level of the ship.
Discover how the magazines were loaded into the guns and how they worked.
Boiler and Engine Room
With several cutaway displays explaining how the boiler and engines work, this is easily one of the most popular exhibits on the ship.
Visitors will also learn significant details about some of the hardships faced by people who worked on this section of the HMS Belfast.
Arctic Mess Decks
The mess deck is where everyone gathered to eat and talk about life.
This exhibit actually includes a re-creation of what that experience was like, complete with mannequins depicting everyday activities.
This is where all the biggest decisions were made, including plotting courses and figuring out how to approach any given target.
There is a display allowing visitors to plot their own course which kids might enjoy.
While this might be a little creepy for younger visitors, it’s definitely an interesting exhibit that shows how the sick were treated on board the HMS Belfast.
As with other areas of the ship, there are mannequins depicting real events that took place in this area.
See where everyone lived while onboard this historic ship.
These areas include a lot of artifacts and displays, including an exhibit focusing on a variety of different knots used by seamen.
There are also diaries and other notable items from throughout the history of the HMS Belfast.
Climb the ladders
There are nine levels on a ship that you can explore. You can use ladders to go up and down between the different levels.
You start from the engine rooms on the lower levels and can go all the way up to the highest part of the ship called the flag deck.
Other Permanent Exhibitions, Display and Installations
- Lower Decks - Highlights include Steer the ship, Under Pressure & Shell Rooms
- A Happy Ship - Highlights include A tot of rum, A taste of home & Gallantry near the Galley
- World of Warships: Command Centre
- Home From Home - Highlights include Unwind on board, Battling the bitter cold & Don’t get locked up!
- The Quarter Deck - Highlights include 25 years at sea, The great views of Tower Bridge & D-Day Experience.
- Feeding the Crew - Highlights include A hungry crew depending on you!, Belfast’s bakery & Look out for the cat!
- Life on Board - Highlights include Find your rank, Name that tune & Keeping in touch
- Upper Decks - Highlights include 360° Views, Sit in the Captain’s chair & Command a Fleet of Ships
- Fighting Fit - Highlights include Meet Tony Rowan, Sea beds & Not just for the crew
Built between the years of 1936-1938, this historic ship was originally intended to be part of the British naval blockade against Germany.
It was initially created to fill the brief of "a 9,000-ton cruiser sufficiently armored to withstand a direct hit from an 8-inch shell, capable of 32 knots and mounting twelve 6-inch guns."
The ship would also carry seaplanes and hold its’ own anti-aircraft defense.
It served during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. For this massive and historic invasion, the Belfast was used as the headquarters ship of Bombardment Force E.
The Belfast supported the landings by British and Canadian forces in both the Gold and Juno Beach locations.
There is far more to the history of this vessel, and you can learn more about it by using the excellent interactive 80th Anniversary HMS Belfast timeline.
Facts and Figures
- Class & Type: Town-class light cruiser
- Builder: Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Belfast, UK
- Displacement: 11,550 tons
- Length: 613 ft 6 in (186.99 m)
- Beam: 63 ft 4 in (19.3 m)
- Draught: 18 ft 3 in (5.56m) forward – 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m) aft
- Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
- Complement (number of crew): 781 – 881
- Armament: 12 6-inch guns, 12 4-inch dual-purpose guns, 16 2-pounder AA, 8 Vickers 0.5-inch machine guns, 6 21-inch torpedo tubes
- Aviation facilities: 2 hangars and 1 catapult (removed 1945)
Want more of war-time London? Then book yourself onto London’s only pay-what-you-like World War II Tour!
Do you need to pre-book HMS Belfast tickets?
It is not required to pre book your tickets.
But during peak tourist seasons when there might be higher demand, booking tickets can help you secure your entry for your preferred date and time.
Can you stay overnight on the HMS Belfast?
Yes, 'Kip in a Ship' package of this ship provides children aged 7-16 to experience a sleepover in the heart of London.
Educational institutions and youth groups can partake in maritime-themed nighttime events, a personal tour of the Captain's Bridge and Flag Deck, and the opportunity to experience ship's interior life along the River Thames during this exciting expedition.
To know more, click here.
Is the HMS Belfast still seaworthy?
HMS Belfast is permanently moored on the River Thames in London and serves as a museum ship operated by the Imperial War Museum.
It is not used for active naval operations and is not considered seaworthy in the traditional sense.
Why is the HMS Belfast in the Thames?
HMS Belfast is permanently moored on the River Thames in London as a museum ship.
The decision to place it on the Thames was made to provide a central and accessible location for visitors to learn about its history and explore its decks.
The ship's location also offers a unique view of the river and the city's skyline.