One of the first buildings we caught sight of on our visit to Belfast was the stunning Titanic Belfast Museum, which was sat beautifully lit in pinks and purples on the banks of the River Lagan.
Titanic Belfast opened on the centenary of the Titantic disaster in 2012, on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built.
The building itself is spectacular, as it is covered with three-dimensional aluminium plates with the four corners of the building representing the sheer scale of Titanic’s bow.
The kids were given some activity sheets to complete at the start of the self-guided tour and then we headed into the exhibition, which begins with Boomtown Belfast, exploring its roots as an industrial centre of the 1800’s.
The exhibition is very cleverly done with projected images on the walls which take you right back in time, to what it would have been like walking through the streets.
As well as the activity sheets for the kids, there are plenty of interactive elements for them to get involved with, including sending radio messages, operating model machinery and playing games.
It is at the shipyard area of the museum where things really get interesting and the kids were fascinated by the tales of how the three million rivets used to build the ship were put in by hand.
From here, there is an interactive ride which slowly takes you on a journey up and around a multimedia display which showed what life was life for the workmen who built this iconic ship.
It was then onto The Launch where we discovered just how tricky it would have been to launch a ship of that size and the fact that they were doing it in front of an estimated crowd of 100,000 people.
Here you can look down over the slipway and Victoria Channel where she was launched on 31st May 1911.
When Titanic was launched, the ship was just a very large hull, without engines, boilers, funnels, accommodation, furnishings and fittings. All were fitted later, in the deep water fitting-out wharf and the next part of the museum gave us examples and artefacts of what the cabins would have looked like and cost.
There was also a brilliant immersive CGI film which showed us what life would have been like on board on each level of the ship, from the noisy engine rooms with constant clanking noise, to the opulent upper decks with piano’s tinkling in the background.
We then followed Titanic’s journey as she visited the ports of Southampton, Cherbourg and Queenstown.
The Sinking area gave us real information from the fateful evening of 14th April 1912 with transcripts of the radio messages on the walls and real life insights from the survivors.
The whole exhibition is done with deep respect for the hundreds who lost their lives. There are newspaper cuttings with the real life stories on display and how relatives of the deceased reacted back home.
The exhibition also explains how the bodies were recovered, where they were buried and what White Star’s actions were after the disaster.
The final part of the exhibition takes you to the ocean floor, where you can look around the final resting place of the Titanic wreck with images taken from a submersible.
That is not the end of the experience though, outside the building the sheer size of the Titanic can be seen, as she is mapped out with white lines, so you can walk the length of her.
Also a short walk away is The Nomadic, the tender that took the passengers out to Titanic in the port of Cherborg.
You can buy a combined ticket to visit the SS Nomadic with your Titanic Belfast ticket if you wish to go onboard.
Titanic Belfast admission prices are: £18.50 or adults and £8 for children, with under 5’s free. Family Tickets are available (2 x adults and 2 x children) for £45.
Disclaimer: We were gifted entrance to the Titanic Museum for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own