Titanic Belfast – A review

Titanic belongs to Belfast – the Titanic experience

Upon first sight on the Titanic Belfast, one is in awe of its size and design. Inspired by the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic; the sight of the museum is on the old dry docks where the ships were built alongside one another. The structure replicates four pointed hulls, which are the same height as the ill-fated ship, which struck an iceberg 15 April 1912 and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.

The building opened in 2012, on the centenary of the ill-fated voyage after a three-year building by Harcourt Developments and was designed by Civic Arts. It is a visitor attraction and consists of nine interpretive galleries, which each have a variety of interpretation to tell the story of Belfast as a shipbuilding town, the idea of the Titanic and White Star development through to the voyage and sinking. Each is filled with information boards, images, interactive addition to special effects, full-scale reconstructions and even a shipyard ride. Each designed to immerse the visitor in the whole experience of the conception, life, and death of the ship.

Before entering the experience outside you are met with the Titanic sign, big enough to step through and great for photos. It is cut from steel plate 2.5cm thick, similar to what was used on the Titanic herself, and it weighs the same weight, as her anchor – 16 tonnes. 

Beyond that, you will notice a female figure, like that what you would on a prow. Ithope and positivity, made of bronze, and was designed by Rowan Gillespie. Staying with the exterior the size of the ship is mapped out in white lines, it really gives an idea of her scale.

Within the building, you head over to the ticket desk to get your tickets very welcoming and friendly staff, who even asked us where we were from, meet you and about our stay; there is a gift shop with a number of souvenirs to take away as memories of this great attraction.

The space you are in is called the atrium as is similar to that of what would have been the ships hull. The stairwells and escalators echo that of the gangways which were used when the ships hulls were being built. There is an amazing viewpoint, which looks out onto the historic shipyard and is in line of where the Titanic was built.

The galleries all interlink with one another and take you on a journey of Belfast and the Titanic. It begins with the start of the 20 Century and the Boomtown Belfastgallery. In this gallery, you can see the original set of gets from Harland and Wolff. It leads the Shipyard gallery, which is a ride, which has a great use of audio and projections to really draw you into what life was like for those men who built the ship. The next few galleries tell the story of the launch and voyage – The Launch, the Fit out, which has as of the ship showing all three-class cabins and a 360 degree computer generated tour of the ship. 

Continuing through to the maiden voyage and the sinking. In the Sinking gallery, there is a wall of 400 replica life jackets with an image of the sinking ship. This the aftermath with a full sized replica of one of the lifeboats and also interactive screens showing those who survived and died on the ship, the search criteria allows you to break it down into the ratio of male to female, whether they were crew or passengers and their individual names. The last two galleries are Myths and Legends andTitanic Beneath which is about the wrack of the ship and its discovery. In this gallery, there is a fish eye view of the wreck set under a glass floor with real footage from Dr Robert Ballards various visits to the wreck.

The Titanic Belfast was funded by , Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Companies, and Titanic quarter The Titanic Belfast is managed by the Titanic Foundation, which was established in 2008 and is a charity. Their aim is to educate people about Belfast’s maritime and industrial heritage. The attraction is a major success and visited by millions of visitors every year. In 2016 it was named the World’s leading Tourist Attraction in the World Travel Awards.

In addition to the Titanic Belfast there are some other buildings nearby in the Titanic quarter and docks which have links to the ship and the areas past as shipbuilding’s. In the distance, you can see the iconic cranes of Harland and Wolff who built the ship. There are the Harland and Wolff Drawing offices where the ships plans were drawn out. There is also the SS Nomadic- the last remaining White Star Line ship in existence.

The Nomadic itself is a 5 star visitor attraction  and is included in the price of the Titanic Belfast and a must see for anyone who wants to learn more about the whole experience of travelling with White Star Line and the luxury to be in the upper classes. It was built 1911 and had many of the same luxurious finishes as RMS Titanic. A quarter of the size of the larger vessel the nomadic role would be to transport 274 passengers onto the Titanic when it docked in France.

The whole experience is very informative and . The range of interpretation used caters for all ages and really engages. So much is brought to life and invokes emotions, especially in the aftermath when you hear the voices of the survivors and their accounts of the sinking. Titanic Belfast is in a league of its own when compared to the many of I have been too. The staff, including those on the Nomadic was engaging and informative.

Prices start from £8.00 for a child through to £18.50 for an adult with a mixture of other tickets available to groups, students, seniors, and families. Tickets include admission to Titanic Belfast and the SS Nomadic. It is real value for money with what is on offer and an attraction not to be missed even if you are not only interested in the Titanic.

There are a number of ways to get to the Titanic Belfast including public transport by bus, train and coach, it is a near to the of Belfast if you wanted to talk or even use the Belfast Bike Scheme. In addition, the sightseeing hop on hop off buses a combo ticket, which is what I did the morning at the Titanic and the afternoon on the bus seeing the sights.

Titanic Belfast is open all year round bar Christmas, opens most days from 9am, and closes from 5pm. These times vary slightly depending upon the time of year. Please check their website for times that are more specific and further information.

Sources: 

, C and P (ED) Titanic Belfast – Tour Guide book (2012) Booklink: Slovenia

Anon () Belfast. from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanic_BelfastAccessed 01/12/2018)

Anon () Titanic Belfast: Who we are. from: https://titanic-foundation.org/who-we-are/ [Accessed 30/11/2018]

Anon (2017) Titanic Belfast. from: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Titanic_Belfast [accessed 30/11/2018]

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