The United Kingdom used to have the largest navy in the world and it still packs a major punch today. One ship from the glory days is the HMS Belfast, docked on London’s South Bank near London Bridge. This World War Two light cruiser also saw service in Korea and is now open to the public under the auspices of the Imperial War Museum, one of the best war museums anywhere.
Clambering up and down the nine decks and into turrets and engine rooms is lots of fun, and the video displays and signs tell you all about the history of the ship and life on board. One interactive display, the Gun Turret Experience, puts you in the middle of a WWII battle. In the Operations Room you can control an entire fleet at sea.
If you go in the winter, visit in the afternoon and catch the early sunset over the Thames, its bridges, and both its busy banks. Watching nightfall from the prow of this historic ship is a memorable experience.
The HMS Belfast is undergoing remodeling and will be even better when it reopens on May 18.
Check out more London attractions most tourists miss in our Overlooked London series!
Top photo, courtesy Steve Parker, shows the HMS Belfast as it appears today. The bottom photo, courtesy the Imperial War Museum, shows the ship bombarding the coast of Normandy in support of the D-Day invasion.