HMS Belfast’s Operations Room, the nerve centre of the ship when she was in active service, re-opens this Easter following a restoration which has seen interactive features added, allowing visitors to see what it would have been like to participate in a real-life naval operation.
The ship, one of London’s top tourist attractions and managed by the Imperial War Museum, saw action in both the Second World War and the Korean War and played a part in the D-Day landings.
It also played a leading role in Pony Express, the code name given to a major exercise of 1961, which is inspiration of the Operations Room’s interactive experience.
As part of the revamp barriers have been removed, enabling visitors to get close up to the ship’s displays and instruments, including the original radar screens which have been brought to life with animated rotating screens.
Museum chiefs say archive film and photographs have also incorporated into the experience to give visitors an authentic sense of what it would have been like to take part in the exercise.
Phil Reed, Director of HMS Belfast, says: “We’re very excited about this dynamic addition to the ship and we hope the new Operations Room will really help people understand what life was like on board. HMS Belfast is already a firm favourite with families and we’re certain the interactive Operations Room, which is at the very top of the ship, will soon be a high point of everyone’s visit.”
Access to the room is included in the standard adult admission fee, children accompanied by an adult can visit the ship for free.
Opening hours: 1 November-28 February, 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm)
1 March-31 October, 10am-6pm (last admission 5pm)
Location: HMS Belfast is moored on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Morgans Lane, Tooley Street, London SE12JH(London Bridge or Tower Hill tube)