You’ll feel as if the powerful 1938 warship, upon being retired from service in 1965, was simply motored to the dock wearing its grey patchwork camouflage livery and instantly opened as an attraction. Nearly everything, down to the checked flooring and decaying cables, is exactly as it was (although those mannequins with the bad toupees might have been added), making the boat a fascinating snapshot of mid-century maritime technology. Authenticity also makes it a devil to navigate, especially if you have any bags with you—sorry, no cloakrooms, sailor. Getting around her various decks, engine rooms, and hatches requires dexterity and a well-calibrated inner compass. You can roam as you wish, visiting every cubby of the ship from kitchen to bridge, all the while being thankful that it wasn’t you who was chasing German cruisers (the Belfast sank the Scharnhorst) and backing up the D-Day invasion in this tough tin can. The price is too high for those with a lukewarm interest, but the new Upper Deck bar, atop the visitor center (a wine bar over a warship—appropriate?), has stellar views of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge—and an afternoon champagne cream tea that costs just £14. Thanks, World War II!
Morgan’s Lane, Tooley St., SE1
Our Rating Hours Mar–Oct daily 10am–6pm, Nov–Feb daily 10am–5pm, last admission 1 hr. before closing Transportation Tube: London Bridge Phone 020/7940-6300 Prices £14.50 adults, £7.25 children 5-15, £11.60 seniors/students; posted prices are higher and include a “voluntary donation.” Web site HMS Belfast