Anyone who's ever been to London must have seen HMS Belfast, moored just next to the iconic landmark and unmissable photo opportunity of Tower Bridge. If you're planning a trip up to London this half term, you might like to know that the ship's Operation Room is now open, offering a fascinating glimpse into life on board. And even if you're not going anywhere near London, you may like to print out this fun activity sheet (click on it to see it bigger) to get five minutes peace when the kids are bored !
For the first time since HMS Belfast opened to visitors in 1971, the ship’s Operations Room is now fully open to the public with an exciting and new interactive display that shows the inner workings of the ship’s central nervous system.
Visitors can imagine exactly what life was like onboard the ship exploring nine different decks of maritime history. The new Operations Room gives you the chance to plan your own mission at sea and includes a new simulated radar which plots other ship's positions, based on the real-life Pony Express exercise of 1961 which involved 60 warships, 20,000 naval personnel and 6,000 US, British and Australian troops off North Borneo in the South China Sea.
There are lots of exciting presentations, hands-on activities and workshops available on visits to HMS Belfast with Signalling and Signals workshops, Morse Code activities and Ship’s Conversations lessons available. Full details of events are listed at the end of this release.
One of the most powerful large light cruisers ever built, HMS Belfast is now the only surviving vessel of her type to have seen active service during the Second World War.
In May 1971, after 32 years of service during which HMS Belfast had steamed nearly half a million miles, the last of the Royal Navy’s wartime cruisers was ‘reduced to disposal’ in preparation for sale and destruction by the ship-breakers. However, help was at hand. The Imperial War Museum encouraged the formation of an independent trust led by one of HMS Belfast’s former captains, Rear-Admiral Sir Morgan Morgan-Giles. Eventually, this devoted band of enthusiasts succeeded in bringing her to London, where she opened to visitors on Trafalgar Day, 21 October 1971. The ship is now permanently moored on the Thames near to Tower Bridge.
*** Click on the image for a bigger version that you can print out for the kids ***
HMS Belfast Operations Rooms
FREE ENTRY for children under 16, Adults £13.50, Seniors/Students £10.80
Opening Times: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Recommended for ages 8 and upwards
for more information : http://hmsbelfast.iwm.org.uk/
Other blogposts you may be interested in :
Free Day Out idea at Imperial War Museum North (Manchester) & free kids' submarine worksheet to download