Address: The Queen's Walk, London

Website

Time: 10.00 to 18.00 (Mar 1 - Oct 31), 10.00 to 17.00 (Nov 1 to Feb 28)

Phone: +44 (0) 207 940 6300

Entry Price: £16.00 for adult

Entry Information:www.iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast/tickets

350m from London Bridge

550m from London Bridge

Built in 1936, HMS Belfast was the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy. She was built by Harland and Wolff, launched on St Patrick’s Day 1938 and commissioned into the Navy in August 1939, a month before the outbreak of the Second World War.

For the first two months of the war she was part of the Home Fleet’s naval blockade of German vessels and on leaving the port of Rosyth the following month, hit a magnetic mine in the Firth of Forth. The damage took three years to repair.

The part the ship took when returning to action was vital, playing a pivotal role in protecting the arctic convoys as they carried supplies to the Russians. The ship also played an important part in the Battle of North Cape where, on Boxing Day 1943, she joined forces with a fleet that included HMS Duke of York, HMS Sheffield and HMS Norfolk and which sank the German battleship SS Scharnhorst.

The following year saw action with the D-Day landings in Normandy as she spent a month offshore, pounding the German positions with over 5,000 shells, supporting troops on Gold and Juno beaches. Today, she is one of only three surviving bombardment vessels from the Operation.

In 1945, just before the end of the war, she was deployed to the Far East. After the war the ship returned to the Far East to take part in UN operations, most notably the Korean War in 1950-2 and, apart from a return for a refit, was deployed there until 1962. She then became part of the Reserve Fleet until 1968.

In 1971 HMS Belfast was put on display in the River Thames and has been there ever since, attracting 250,000 visitors a year.

In terms of location, this is one of the best London landmarks as it is surrounded by a host of popular places on both sides of the river.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.