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Long have I been a titanic enthusiast so when my local airport started flying to Belfast this opportunity was a must!
We arrived a Titanic Belfast on the big red bus tour (another must!)
Set over 5 floors, this museum is 100% dedicated to everything Titanic. We ordered our tickets online, and so used the preorder machines in the foyer to get our tickets. We had a combo ticket that also permitted entry to the dry dock and pump house, about a ten minute walk from Titanic Belfast. It cost us £17.50 each. We then had a quick look in the shop, and was pleasently surprised that the memrobillia wasn't any more expensive than the tourist shops in Belfast city centre. The pump house and dry dock were strangely much pricier!
You start off on a little tour of the history of Belfast itself, and its industries (lace and shipmaking). They then tell you about the plans for the titanic, and the actual building of the ship. For this part we went on a small ride in the museum (this is suitable for pretty much everyone except for really little ones). Then they told you how the titanic was decorated and kitted out, they showed you a first, second and third class cabin. They talked about the launch, and its time at sea, and then the sinking. The lightening becomes very low to set the scene. There are full sized lifeboards and stories being played. You then see the public enquiry information before looking at the media portrail of the ship. They then go on to the wreckage and its discovery. You walk over a glass floor with 'the wreckage' underneath.
It was really fascinating and well worth the money. I bought a beautiful, huge poster of the titanic in the dry dock in the shop.
If you are interested in the titanic, this is a must. You can't help but feel a little emotional with the content. Directly outside the museum is the keel of the titanic, and a memorial plaque for all the souls lost.
When you visit Belfast you can't miss the iconic building that houses the Titanic Exhibition -it stands out with its sheer size and unique shape mimicking the grand ship itself.
If I'm honest I didn't know anything about this museum before my last visit to Belfast and had low expectations but we had a free day-the weather was typical January Belfast weather-wet and windy so
it seemed like a good place to spend a few hours. A decision I certainly didn't regret as this is an excellent and extraordinary exhibition and I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
We preboooked the day we went using the Exhibition's own website http://titanicbelfast.com/Navigation/The-Titanic-Experience.aspx , booking was easy and as it was a Tuesday we qualified for a special "Titanic Tuesday" offer which knocked £3 off the admission price and included a hot drink and a scone whilst there.
We arrived at the impressive building and were surprised just how big it was and realized there was going to be a lot to see and a reasonable amount of walking. As my companion has problems walking any distance we enquired and were loaned a mobility scooter for her at no charge. The staff were quick to provide the scooter-which looked brand new and ensured my friend was able to navigate it and was comfortable with it. We were then guided to the beginning of the exhibition and advised of the best route to take with the scooter.
The first section of the exhibition opens with an overview of Belfast in the early 20th century and explains how the city was thriving and focused on the shipyards and the prosperity the shipyards gave to the city and the pride and excitement about the building of this great ship. As with all the other sections a variety of audio visual effects are used very successfully.
The second section is about the shipyard itself -and the mechanics of building the ship. Sounds a bit boring eh ? It really isn't -it shows the vastness and enormous challenges involved as you ride through. The ride was a surprise and the transfer from the mobility scooter was smooth and dealt with efficiently by the courteous and friendly staff.
Moving onto the launch of the Titanic itself -it's very clever how you appear to be on the slipway itself and the excitement of the population who turned out for the launch (an estimated 100,000 people -a third of the city's population).
The exhibition moves you through the ship itself showing the varying types of cabin -from the basic to the extraordinaryly ornate and the fantastic public areas.
Throughout the whole exhibition the human reactions are shown as well as the factual -an element that or me really made the Experience especially worthwhile as oral history for me brings it all to life.
We move forward to the voyage itself and the events of that fateful day -it is realistic enough that I wouldn't personally take a very young child although the horror isn't dwelt upon. The exhibition then dwells for quite a while on the aftermath -both the survivors and those who perished. It is touching without being mawkish and also focuses on some amazing acts of bravery. At this point we met a lady whose grandfather had survived the sinking and it was interesting talking to her and seeing how moved she was and also how much she appreciated the exhibition. It was all quite emotional and at tis point we decided we had seen enough and skipped the rest and headed down to the excellent coffee shop for our included hot drink -we decided the included plain scone wasn't enough and had the full monty scone with jam and cream which we paid full price for. It was gorgeous. They were also doing a brisk trade in full hot meals and everything looked delicious. We returned the mobility scooter without any waiting or delay and headed back to our hotel -promising ourselves we would return sometime to see the rest of the exhibition.
We were recently in Belfast and so this was somewhere we really wanted to visit. Unfortunately we hadn't booked and there were no tickets for sale online but when I telephoned the museum we were told that they do release some tickets every day. Since we were in a coffee shop close by we ran along and were lucky enough to get some tickets, albeit with a two hour wait!
The museum was opened earlier this year and is located 100 yards in front of where Titanic's hull was launched. It is certainly an impressive building. Not only is it extremely big with the facades leaning out at an angle, but it also has a crystalline appearance which makes it seem to shine and shimmer. There are also pools of water around the base of the building which really does give the impression of a ship on water.
Once inside its just as impressive with huge glass escalators and ticket desks designed to duplicat the wooden keel blocks on Titanic.
So we had our tickets and given how busy it is, visitors are given a time slot and when it was our time to go in, tickets were checked and up the escalators we went...
As expected it was very busy and at the first stage, quite difficult to get a sense of the size of some of the exhibits. On entering the exhibition, visitors learn about the industries and design innovations that led to the creation of RMS Titanic. This is done through a series of very big screens showing people walking around the streets of Belfast and also lots of smaller areas with information boards. Careful here if visiting with children as lots of the rooms are quite small and given that there are so many people I kept panicking I would lose Little Miss.
At the end of this gallery, we passed through the huge original Harland & Wolff shipyard gates and went to the Arrol Gantry and Shipyard Ride.
Here we had to go up a replica of one of the huge pillars of the Arrol Gantry to go on the Shipyard Ride which is an electronic dark ride round the shipyard. This t uses special effects, animations and reconstructions to recreate of shipbuilding in the early 1900s. we travelled above ground level and were able to see people building the ships and get a real sense of the smells noises and sights of the time. This was all accompanied by a recording of the making of the ship, and the jobs which had to be done.
When we left the Shipyard Ride, we saw : a large window looking straight down the actual slipways on which the Titanic rested.the window itself is very impressive and . switches from the normal view to a superimposed image of the Titanic on the slipways. Its a good place to take a sit and sit and think about what it must have been like and there are some conveniently located chairs.
I especially enjoyed the Gallery containing an e range of exhibits, and models which show the interiors of the different rooms with people inside the cabins. They are obviously not real people but actually look like ghosts in the rooms which is quite eerie. There are also lots of stories about individual passengers and a model of the ship. Moving on through the museum there is an auditorium with a film showing the wreck of the Titanic and below this is a huge glass floor which visitors can walk along and look at the Titanic beneath them- strange feling walking on glass.
Close to the end of the museum is a to scale life boat with more pictures and information but one of the things we found fascinating was the interactive data collection. By selecting different data we could see how many of the fist second and third passengers survived along with the percentage of women and children. It makes it all very real when we thought about the loss of human life.
OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION...
Toilets are located in several areas but beware the ones on the ground floor sound as though you're going into water! Theres the usual shop selling memorabilia and a couple of reasonably priced restaurant/cafes.
Child (5-16): £6.75
Child (under 5): Free
There are concessions for students and OAPs and a 5% discount if you book online
April - September
Monday - Saturday: 9am-7pm
Sunday: 10am - 7pm
October - March
10am - 5pm every day
Last admission is 1 hour 40 minutes before closing. However, given that we were here for about 3 hours, it may not be worth the money going so close to closing time.
The museum is huge with way too many exhibits to mention in a review. The whole building inside and out are well designed and impressive and it is a real landmark on the river bank.
With stories of the Titanic myths and legends, scenes and costumes from the films and a whole range of interactive displays this museum gives a fascinating insight into a tragedy. At the end of your visi, visitors can collect a free certificate in old fashioned style to remember their visit- always good to get something free.
For anyone visiting Belfast or interested in the Titanic I would thoroughly recommend this museum.
Thanks for reading