Concerning ships my preference goes to sailboats so that I visited in Greenwich the famous clipper "Cutty Sark" before the restoration and the fire that damaged her in 2007.
I did not visit the HMS Belfast because I got some experience of what a warship looks like when as a young man I participated to a day cruise on a Belgian Minesweeper. The sea was rough and I had to leave the table of the officers for an obvious reason. After that experience I opted for a military service with the Land Forces.
For somebody who has never been on a battleship I would highly recommend the visit of the HMS Belfast, a powerful 6-inch light cruiser (187metres long, total 20 guns), who served Britain for 32 years and played a role in WW II as support for the D-Day landing in Normandy. HMS Belfast was part of the Eastern Naval Task Force, with responsibility for supporting the British and Canadian assaults on 'Gold' and 'Juno' beaches.
When passing alongside her on the Thames I try to imagine how German soldiers felt facing that huge armada of 2700 vessels plus all the smaller craft when at 5.30 am on 6 June 1944 HMS Belfast and all the others opened fire on them.
HMS Belfast is now part of the Imperial War Museum and is the first ship to be preserved for the nation since Nelson’s Victory (at Portsmouth). She opened to the public on 21 October 1971.
Open daily: 1 March - 31 October 10.00 am -6.00 pm (last admission 5.00 pm)
1 November - 28 February 10.00 am - 5.00 pm (last admission 4.00 pm)
Closed 24, 25 and 26 December.
Admission Prices 2013
Adults £14.50; Senior +60/Student £11.60
Child (under 16) FREE
You have the possibility to cross the river Thamse by different ship companies. We went from the Tower Bridge to Big Ben. You can see a lot of sights, for example the London Eye, from the direction of the river. On the ship there is a guide who tells you some interesting stories about monuments, building and the bridges.
London, just like Paris, Rome, Lisbon and countless other Imperial capitals, was founded on the banks of a great resource: a river wide and deep enough to ensure transport by water of heavy commercial goods. The Thames, of course, is more than just an economic resource for London. Its geography has defined the city and its constituent neighbourhoods, providing romantic backdrops for some and a reminder for others of their isolation (elected or coerced) from the borough of power and wealth. The Thames has also given rise to the various bridges that define London’s various periods of development, and has allowed the city’s inhabitants to maintain their maritime tradition and self-identification, despite the relative isolation of London from the sea. Today, cars, planes and rail have all made travel by water somewhat obsolete for passengers, but the Thames continues to exert a strong influence over the identity of London and its inhabitants. For those who wish to experience a bit of the pleasures of the river, cruises are of course offered, and there’s always the London Eye for the opportunity to get a glimpse of the entire expanse of this great waterway.
This gateway used to mark the northern bank of the Thames back in 1862 before the Embankment was built, but now you can find it at the western end of the Gardens, probably 30 metres from the Embankment now.
By Victoria Embankment at regular intervals there are bronze lion heads with mooring rings in their mouths for boats to be attached, so the saying is 'when the lions drink London will be flooded', true enough isn't it!!! Just look carefully over the wall of the embankment!!
The Temple Stairs Arch is on Victoria Embankment and on top of the Arch is the head of Neptune which was erected in 1868, but through the arch you will find a memorial from 1935 placed there for the silver jubilee of King George V. During the Jubilee that part of the embankment was called the King's Reach.
Originally these colourful dragons guarded the entrance of the Coal Exchange in Lower Thames Street from 1849 but were moved to just outside the Temple Gardens in the 60's when the Coal Exchange was demolished. They now mark the boundary to the City of London.
Just by Waterloo Bridge you will find H.M.S.Wellington moored by Temple pier which was a Royal Navy ship built in 1934 and serve in the Pacific before the 2nd World War, mainly on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. It is the only surviving member of the Grimsby class of sloops but for the last 60 years it has been London's only floating Livery Company.
The Submarine War Memorial is on the wall of the Victoria Embankment and commemorates the Navy submariners who died in the service of their country during WWI and WWII. There is a bas relief showing the inside of a submarine on the memorial and another with nereids swimming. There are the two statues of Truth and Justice and at the front is the Memorial Plaque.
Originally HMS Saxifrage, built in Scotland, the HMS President is now moored by the Victoria Embankment and serves as a venue for conferences as well as housing some media offices. It was primarily a drill ship for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and it was used to protect merchant convoys during WWI and was intentionally built to look like a merchant ship.
The Montague On The Gardens London
5 Reviews and 1449 Opinions The concierge was fabulous, the hotel very grand, and despite the rooms being small they were...
41 Hotel London
2 Reviews and 1030 Opinions Hotel Ibis London Euston St Pancras Recommended by being the best location, nice rooms, modern and...
Milestone Hotel Kensington London
1 Review and 689 Opinions This 5 star hotel is probably my favorite in London because of it's location (across from Kensington...
see all London member meetings