Accessibility guide

We have partnered with AccessAble to create an accessible guide to HMS Belfast.

We are committed to ensuring HMS Belfast is accessible to all visitors, and hope the facilities we have introduced enhance your visit.

HMS Belfast entrance, ticket desk, and shop

  • There is an Induction loop at the ticket desk.
  • Free hand-held audio guides are available from the ticket desk in the Pavilion.
  • The audio guide is on a lanyard. Headphones are available on request for those who are hearing-impaired or have mobility issues.
  • Visitors can also use their own headphones with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Transcripts of the audio guide are available on request from the ticket desk.
  • An accessible toilet and baby changing facilities are available in the shop, before entering the ship.
  • There is no blue badge parking available for visitors.
  • Unfortunately, there are no cloakroom or locker facilities onboard HMS Belfast, therefore we are unable to allow access to visitors with suitcases, pull along baggage, or large holdalls.
  • For everyone's safety, all small bags, rucksacks, packages and personal items may be searched before entry.

Moving around HMS Belfast

  • Some areas of the ship have uneven flooring.
  • Some doorways and hatchways have lips which require you to step over them.
  • To see every deck of the ship, visitors will need climb multiple ladders. It is recommended that those with restricted mobility, or with small children under 4ft, do not access the engine room as it has vertical ladders and very narrow walkways.
  • Wheelchairs are available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Unfortunately, the nature of the ship makes access to some of the Upper Decks and Lower Decks impossible for wheelchair users, and unsuitable for persons with restricted mobility. However, modifications have been made to the Main Deck, the Quarterdeck, Boat Deck and The Café to make them accessible to wheelchair users, and parents with prams, pushchairs, and strollers.
  • The Main Deck includes The Laundry, The Ship's Chapel, The Bakery, Galley, World of Warships room, Sick Bay, Mess Decks and Dental Surgery.
  • There is a wheelchair lift from the gangway to the Quarterdeck where your tour begins. Weight restrictions apply when using the accessible lift. The maximum combined weight of wheelchair and user allowable is 250kg.
  • There is a wheelchair lift from Main Deck to Boat Deck, located by the Torpedo flat. Weight restrictions apply when using the accessible lift. The maximum combined weight of wheelchair and user allowable is 300kg.
  • The dimensions of the lift are 84cm x125cm (2ft 9 in X 4ft 1 in). The lift is a platform lift, meaning some sides of the lift do not move, please be aware of this when using the lift.
  • Prams, pushchairs, and strollers are allowed in certain areas of the ship, but we would advise not to bring them at all if possible. The only areas where prams, pushchairs, and strollers are permittable are the exterior decks, including the Quarter Deck, Boat Deck and Fo’c’sle. There is a designated area on the Quarter Deck to leave prams, pushchairs, and strollers, for any families wishing to explore inside the ship. Please be advised that personal belongings are left at the owner’s risk.
  • An accessible toilet and baby changing facilities are available on the Main Deck. A radar key can be retrieved from Security on the Quarter Deck.

Step-free access

Please note, that there will be no step-free access on the ship on the dates listed below. We recommend visiting the ship on an alternative date to make the most of your experience. We apologise for any inconvenience.

  • 30 May to 1 June 
  • 9 June to 11 June 
  • 11 June to 12 June 
  • 15 June to 16 June 
  • 26 September to 27 September
  • 1 October to 3 October
  • 8 October to 9 October

Sound, light and temperature levels around HMS Belfast

  • Some audio-visual equipment used throughout the ship can be loud. In particular, there are loud noises which simulate gunfire in the Gun Turret Experience, loud noises which simulate machinery in the Boiler Room, and loud noises which simulate ‘Action Stations’ alarms in the Galley.
  • Videos are accompanied with subtitles (in English) throughout the ship.
  • Light levels vary across the ship. Some areas are dimly lit to re-create historical conditions.
  • The temperature varies as you move through the ship and some areas are quite cold. You may want to bring an extra layer of clothing to put on in these areas.

General Information

  • Smoking and vaping is not allowed anywhere on board.
  • There is a water fountain available for visitors by the toilets near the Quarter Deck.
  • Please ask a member of staff if you wish to use a First Aid room or require assistance.
  • There is seating on 2 Deck in the Senior Ratings Messdeck, Serving the Seas room, World of Warships room, Arctic and East Asia Messdecks, and Boat Deck.
  • There are 3 high chairs available for use in the café.
  • If you have any queries or need any assistance on site, please ask. We will be more than happy to help you.

Assistance animals

We hope that everyone who visits IWM enjoys their experience and are committed to welcoming and embracing the diversity of our guests and ensuring accessibility for everyone. 

We understand that some visitors will require the support of an assistance dog and we are happy to admit trained assistance dogs. 

Where possible, we encourage assistance dog owners to bring identification from organisations such as:

  • Assistance Dogs International (ADI)
  • Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK)
  • The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF)

We also ask that assistance dogs are wear the appropriate tabard or harness. Not carrying ID or wearing a jacket is not a condition of entry but can help visitors by enabling staff to identify those who may need additional assistance. In cases where your assistance dog is not registered with ADI, ADUK, or IGDF, please understand that if it demonstrates inappropriate behaviour, we reserve the right to deny entry to ensure the safety and comfort of our staff, volunteers, and visitors. 

If you plan to bring more than one assistance dog or have multiple assistance dogs within your group, we request that you contact us in advance. This will help us ensure there are no delays in gaining access and we can meet the needs of the entire party.

For those intending to visit us with an assistance animal other than a dog, please contact us in advance to discuss your request. This is so that we can ensure there are no delays to your admission and we are able to facilitate your visit.

A water bowl for assistance dogs can be retrieved from Security on the Quarter Deck.

Animal safety at our branches 

Our branches are unique and historical spaces. They are unusual environments which can confuse or distress animals. HMS Belfast is a 9-deck Warship on the Thames. It’s a disorientating environment with ladders to move between decks. 

The accessibility pages for each of our branches contain more details on what you can expect and can help you in identifying any potential areas of concern prior to your visit. We also offer AccessAble guides for all our branches and our customer service centre can answer any questions you may have.

Contact customer services on: 0207 091 3067 or via our contact us form.