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A branch of Imperial War Museums, HMS Belfast is the Royal Navy’s last surviving cruiser and the largest preserved warship in Europe.
Moored in the River Thames, the ship has been open to the public in 1971 when it was saved from being scrapped for metal by a private trust. Its nine decks include the galley, operations room, mess deck, dental surgery and gun turrets.
HMS Belfast first launched in March 1938, and captured a German liner on its first patrol, but an accident shortly after put the ship into a two-year repair. During this time the Belfast was fitted with thicker armour, new anti-aircraft guns, and advanced radars – making it an extremely powerful warship.
Here the Belfast's full history is revealed, from its role in sinking German battlecruiser Scharnhorstas, to its use in the D-Day celebrations and later years of service during Korean War. The onboard Life at Sea exhibition features veterans discussing their first-hand experiences.
Look out for The Wild Escape at museums and galleries in the next few months. Many have special events, or you can use our audio introduction to help children get involved at any cultural venue.
Visiting with children?
The more you see, the more we do.
The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.