These Terms and Conditions are designed to ensure groups have a safe and enjoyable stay and are revised on a regular basis. Please read them carefully. You must agree to them before making your reservation and when confirming your booking by completing the relevant confirmation boxes. 

We reserve the right to reject reservations from groups that do not meet these Terms and Conditions. In such cases, deposits will not be refunded. Additionally, HMS Belfast is an historic ship and maintenance work may be required at short notice; we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking.

Please take care to check you have selected the correct date and correct number of nights as once your order has been completed, payment cannot be refunded, and your booking cannot be transferred.

Who can book?

Kip in a Ship is only available to UK schools and formal youth and cadet groups with children aged 7-16. We are unable to accept bookings from higher education groups, overseas schools/groups, families, or individuals. 

We can accommodate a maximum of 52 children plus six group leaders (must be 19+). The minimum charge is for 20 participants (groups with fewer than 20 participants will be subject to an under-occupancy supplement of £64 per person).

Sleeping accommodation

The accommodation is divided into two mess decks, separated by a door. Each mess deck has 26 1950s-style bunks (not hammocks) with mattresses and pillows, two toilets and two showers for children, and a group leader cabin containing three bunks with mattresses and pillows, a shower and a toilet.

We can accommodate mix-gender groups and it is up to group leaders as to how you divide the group within the 2 mess deck areas. Every guest (adults and children) will need to bring a sleeping bag, pillowcase and personal items including towels and toiletries. For Child Protection, safety and supervision reasons group leaders must sleep in the adult cabins.


We require one group adult leader for every ten children. All group leaders must be adults aged 19 and older who have undergone a DBS check. Additionally, group leaders must be appropriate to the gender of the children. For example, if a group includes girls, then there must be at least one female group leader, and vice versa.

Each group will have an overnight Concierge who will assist and advise them throughout their stay. The Concierge is responsible for the health and safety of the group and any instructions they issue must be followed immediately. All instructions will be given in English. The group leaders remain responsible for the supervision and behaviour of group members at all times. All members of the group must arrive to the ship and remain together at all times throughout your stay.

If you are conducting a self-guided tour of the ship before or after your booking, groups must split into smaller groups (maximum of 12). All smaller groups must be always supervised by a group leader throughout the tour.


Groups can only access the mess decks after their booking begins at 6pm and when they have received a full health and safety brief from their concierge. Access to the mess decks is by steep ladder only. Unfortunately, Kip in a Ship is not suitable for wheelchair users or anyone not able to ascend/descend a ladder unaided.

If you have children with additional needs, please email us prior to making a reservation to see if we can meet your requirements. Please also note any requirements on your booking form so that your evening Concierge can accommodate them.

All guests should wear sensible, appropriate clothing. We recommend trousers and flat shoes. We are not able to help carry luggage up/down the ladders and therefore suggest bag sizes are kept to a minimum. Suitcases are not permitted on board HMS Belfast.

Once Kip in a Ship starts at 6pm, you will be required to stay with the Concierge when on board to be escorted to your activities. If you are not taking part in activities, you will be required to stay in the mess decks when on board. If you would like to go ashore, you will be escorted off and back onto the ship by your Concierge.

HMS Belfast operates under different operating hours depending on the season. During the summer (late March to late October) the ship closes at 6pm. During the winter (late October to late March), the ship closes at 5pm. Groups who have been undertaking a self-guided visit before their Kip in a Ship reservation in the winter will be required to vacate the ship at 5pm and return at 6pm for Kip in a Ship. 

There are two small fridges in the mess decks. These are for the use of group leaders to keep medication or special dietary foods cool only. We do not offer a guarantee as to the storage temperature and group leaders must take responsibility for ensuring items are kept safely and securely and disposed of correctly.


If your package includes dinner, this will be served in the Stokers’ Café. You can notify us of any special dietary requirements on your catering requests form.

A kettle, tea, coffee, milk, and sugar are provided in the adult cabins. There are no facilities within the mess decks for evening meals, food preparation, or cold storage. Outside food is not permitted on board. However, you may bring non-perishable snacks, but groups must ensure they throw away all rubbish in the bins provided.

The tap water in the mess decks is safe for drinking, but we also have water coolers available across the ship.

Breakfast is served in the café at 8am. You can notify us of any special dietary requirements on your catering requests form. Packed lunches can be ordered at an additional cost of £7.50 per person.

How to book

All group leaders are advised to make a preliminary visit to the ship during public opening hours only. We can provide two complimentary tickets for group leaders. Please be aware that access to the Kip in a Ship mess decks and learning room is limited and is only available Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm by appointment only. Please email [email protected] with a requested date and time. 

Group leaders must comply with Health and Safety regulations and should consult the Risk Identification section for information regarding HMS Belfast’s environment. They should also reference the Kip in a Ship Risk Register to complete their own risk assessment. Risk assessments must be sent to [email protected] before your visit. 

All Kip in a Ship reservations must be made online. A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of £100 must be made by credit or debit card to secure your visit date. The deposit will be deducted from your final bill.

We are not able to make provisional bookings or take any booking via telephone or email.

After making your online reservation, you will receive an email acknowledgement confirming your deposit payment and visit date and giving you a booking reference. Please email us on [email protected] if you don’t receive this.

We will contact you via email approximately twelve-to-eight weeks before your booking date with an Excel booking form for you to complete to confirm all the booking details:

•           Number and gender of group leaders

•           Number of children sleeping over

•           Names of group leaders and mobile phone numbers

•           Names and ages of children

•           Arrival and departure time

•           Activity choices if picking an activity

•           Retail items and add-ons

•           Luggage storage request

We will also send you a separate catering form for all your catering requirements and dietary information. 

Your Kip in a Ship booking is from 6pm to 9am the following morning (10am if you have selected a morning session). During your stay, you will be restricted to limited areas of the ship for health and safety reasons, and therefore we recommend making time for a self-guided visit before or after your sleepover. This can take place before 6pm (5pm in winter) before your sleepover, or after 10am after your sleepover. 

Luggage may be stored on board in a secure area at pre-set times and according to staff availability, before or after your sleepover between the hours of 10am and 4:45pm.

The itinerary for your visit depends on the package you have selected. However, the activities take place at the following times:

-           6pm: Arrival and safety briefing

-           7pm: Dinner

-           8pm: Evening activity + tour

-           10pm: Bedtime

-           8am: Breakfast

-           9am: Morning complimentary learning session (if requested, otherwise you are free to depart)

-           10am: Departure

Please ensure prompt arrival if an evening activity or dinner has been booked. IWM cannot accept liability for reduced service or a shorter evening session owing to late arrival of the group. The latest arrival time is 11pm. Evening activities must take place in the evening and cannot be moved to the morning.

After breakfast, groups are offered a free learning session* in our classroom at 9am on the morning following their sleepover. 

*Please be advised, although we do our upmost to provide a session to every group, occasionally due to staffing resource we may not be able to provide this complimentary session.


The final balance will be calculated two weeks prior to the visit date. You will be charged for all guests and additional items listed on the booking confirmation form, and an invoice will be issued by email. We are not able to refund any charges for individual guests or groups who do not arrive.

Once the final balance has been calculated two weeks prior to your booking, we are not able remove any persons or additional items and you will be charged as per the original booking form submitted. We will however endeavour to accommodate any additional guests or items within two weeks of the arrival date, and if approved we will issue a separate invoice for this. Any additional persons added, including anyone not on the register who arrives on the night, will be charged at a premium rate of an additional £20 above the ticket price. 

All payments must be made in one single payment either by credit/debit card, BACS or cheque made payable to Imperial War Museum Trading Company Limited. Cheques must be sent with the remittance advice to:

The Cashier, Finance Office

Imperial War Museum

Lambeth Road

London SE1 6HZ

We are not able to accept payment on arrival. Non-payment of invoices will result in future bookings being declined to all IWM branches. Any future reservation deposits paid online will not be refunded and the Kip in a Ship reservation will not be honoured.


All cancellations must be in writing and emailed to [email protected]. Cancellations received in writing more than two weeks prior to arrival will not be invoiced. Deposits will not be refunded. Cancellations received in writing within two weeks of arrival must be paid in full. Deposits will not be refunded.

In the case where IWM needs to cancel for unforeseen circumstances, for example, an unplanned closure due to severe property damage, unforeseen maintenance issues, or staff shortages due to persons contracting communicable viruses or diseases, IWM will refund all payments made. Compensation for travel is not included. 

In the case where there are serious incidents, natural disasters or extreme weather conditions in the location, IWM has a separate refund and cancellation policy.

Conduct and discipline

The group leader is responsible for the safety and welfare of their group members at all times and must comply with Health & Safety regulations. The group leader should carry out a full and ongoing risk assessment as appropriate to the specific needs of their group. 

The group leader will always be responsible for the supervision and behaviour of the Kip in a Ship guests. The group leader will ensure that nothing occurs which constitutes a breach of the law or in any way causes a nuisance. The group leader is responsible for any damage to the ship and or loss/damage to any items on board. The group will be invoiced for any loss/damage and may be refused future bookings.

Smoking or vaping is not permitted in any part of the ship. 

Alcohol is not permitted on any part of the ship. HMS Belfast reserves the right to refuse entry to individuals or groups who appear to be intoxicated. HMS Belfast reserves the right to eject any individuals or groups who are found to be drinking alcohol on the premises.

HMS Belfast reserves the right to refuse a Kip in a Ship booking.

HMS Belfast reserves the right to refuse admissions.

HMS Belfast reserves the right to remove any guest from the ship at any time.

HMS Belfast reserves the right to cancel any Kip in a Ship booking.


Please read our FAQs before contacting us.

Any queries should be emailed to [email protected]. We endeavour to answer all emails within three working days.

These Terms and Conditions were last updated in October 2023.