HMS Belfast Turns 80 This March, And You're Invited To Her Birthday Celebrations

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HMS Belfast Turns 80 This March, And You're Invited To Her Birthday Celebrations

This is a sponsored article on behalf of Imperial War Museum.

That giant warship moored near Tower Bridge?

That's HMS Belfast, and she's celebrating her 80th birthday this March.

If you're a Londoner, chances are that you've wondered what her story is, why she's there, or what it's like to climb on board — and there's never been a better weekend to find out.

Britain's famous warship turns 80 on 17 March 2018, and you're invited to journey up and down her decks as part of birthday celebrations, exploring the history and powerful personal stories hidden within.

And boy, does she have some stories to tell...

No other surviving British vessel witnessed historic events of the same magnitude — from the Arctic Convoys and Normandy Landings of the Second World War, to the Korean War and beyond. She has nine decks to explore, each packed with maritime marvel and powerful stories from her launch in 1938, through to her arrival in London in 1971.

The ship is well worth a visit year-round, but visitors on the 17 and 18 March can expect a variety of extra-special onboard celebrations and activities to mark 80 years since her maiden voyage. There's a spectacular nine-tiered cake (inspired by the ship's nine decks), created by Sophie Faldo, 2017 winner of The Great British Bake Off — feel free to grab a slice to fuel you through your journey.

There's a delicious rum punch for the over 18s too, inspired by the 'tots, slippers and gulpers' that were part of life in the Royal Navy, while free nautical-themed activities — including morse code workshops and temporary tattooing — will keep the whole family occupied.

Plus, on the morning of the 17 March, you'll get the chance to meet surviving veterans from the ship's history, and learn what life was like serving on board. They'll be stationed in key areas on board according to their service, sharing their unique stories and first-hand insights with visitors.

Celebrations across the weekend are free as part of general admission. Events take place across the weekend of 17-18 March, and you can find out more here.

Last Updated 12 March 2018