Saturday, 23 October 2010


The half-term school holiday has come round quickly and yesterday we decided to visit London and Belfast, all in the same day, without leaving England. One of the benefits of being a Daily Telegraph subscriber is that I receive certain special offers. One was the opportunity of joint membership of the Imperial War Museum for the price of a single membership (£35). With children under sixteen entering free, this gives us the opportunity to visit the IWM museum sites in London and at Duxford (Cambridge) plus the Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast in London for a relatively modest outlay.

So yesterday we set off down to London on the train. The first bit of good news was, that when asking for two adults and a child off-peak tickets, the nice man at Marks Tey station said that we could have up to four adult tickets for the price of two, with Troy Junior effectively travelling free on the third adult ticket. So that was useful saving; and worth knowing for the future.

Although I used to commute into central London on a daily basis, yesterday was the first time this year that I've ventured into our metropolis. I was surprised to see three new buildings - the Heron Tower close to where I used to work on Bishopsgate, the beginnings of The Pinnacle also on Bishopsgate and The Shard being built near London Bridge. We took some photos of the work in progress. Here's the start of The Pinnacle with the completed Heron Tower in the foreground:-

And here is the The Shard in progress:-

A few people were hanging around the construction. We thought that rather than trying to see in through the glass windows, that we would wait until the building was opened - that seems safer!

But the main purpose of the day was visiting HMS Belfast at its moorings between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

I've been before, on my own, several years ago when Troy Junior was just a toddler. There are many many sets of very steep stairs onboard so it seemed best to wait until Troy Junior was much older before taking him. At the age of nine he can also appreciate better other aspects of the museum. All in all, there are nine decks to visit on the ship, from the engine room to the bridge. Here's a view from the forward deck looking "aft"

and a photo of Troy Junior doing his best to stop the anchor blowing away.

[Sorry! Mrs Troy has insisted that I delete this photo of Troy Junior so replaced by this view from the bridge]

There are many realistic "tableaux" onboard, using dummies, for example in the ship's galley, an onboard surgery and an onboard dentist.

When Troy Junior was younger, he used to get quite spooked when museums used fully dressed dummies and wouldn't go anywhere near them. Another reason for leaving our visit to HMS Belfast until he was older.

All in all, a very enjoyable day out! This link will give you more information on HMS Belfast.