After lunch, my next stop was to be HMS Belfast. I originally scheduled my lunch to be after HMS Belfast, but there’s no harm in mixing up the schedule a bit.
The weather was fine, a little chilly and windy in the morning but sunny in the afternoon. Still, I kept my hand warmers going.
Entry to the HMS Belfast is part of the London Pass. The ticket counter is in the gift shop/cafe. Your London Pass will be scanned and a paper ticket will be issued. You’ll need to show the ticket to staff once you go onboard.
My first stop was the rear turrets, going up through a ladder on the right/starboard side of the ship.
One of the turrets is open, and you can visit it for a really realistic experience of what the turret would’ve looked liked inside during the height of World War II. The projectors, smoke blasts and loudspeakers all mixed into the sound of sailors shouting, the loud blast (IT IS REALLY LOUD) during firibg and rattling of the armor plates, as well as smell of cordite and smoke timed and placed to seem as if the breeches were still hot from firing the previous shell…
After the turrets, the trip took me back down a deck, and into the port side of the ship’s superstructure.
I came upon the torpedo section. These 21-inch torpedoes are HUGE. I considered taking a selfie while hugging the torpedo, but a group of Americans came in…
The smell of paint, machine oil and asbestos (I hope not, and yes, asbestos is present on the ship) makes you feel like the ship is still an operating warship. The machine oil smell gets stronger as you descend into the belly of the beast. You can go about 5 decks down right into the engine room. It’s cramped down there and you’ll have to walk along tiny gangways and down tight ladders, exactly like what the crew would’ve experienced, so I wouldn’t recommend anyone with claustrophobia to go down there. Also, some sections are dimly lit and so quiet that you’ll really start to wonder if it’s a good idea to be down there alone.
Men have served and died on that ship. That’s a fact.
Going back up, you’ll pass through quite a number of compartments: food, services, sickbay and the sort.
Once you’re back on topside, more guns!
There’s quite a number of interesting spots on the top deck, including all the different bridges and fire control stations.
And I saw quite a number of couples doing the “Titanic thing” on the bow of the ship. Ironic, as the Titanic was also a British vessel.