Let’s get one thing right, straight away. The Titanic Experience in Belfast is THE Titanic Experience to beat any and all others. It is the largest, most in-depth, Titanic museum experience in the world. The beautiful, purpose built structure housing the Titanic Experience is a behemoth in its own right. It stands taller than Belfast City Hall, has underground parking for more than five hundred cars, and is encased in more than 3000 different shaped, silver anodized folded panels. The building sparkles in the sunshine (rare enough in Northern Ireland) like a multifaceted diamond. This is one large and gorgeous grand design.
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There are metaphors to the ill fated Titanic worked into several aspects of the building, both inside and out. For instance, the ticket counters are made to resemble the wooden blocks used to hold the Titanic upright as it was being built. Looking at it in this photograph you can see the shape of the hull and the metal plates, roughly the same size as those used on the Titanic, rising up above the ticket window.
Titanic Belfast Tickets, Online or In Person?
Our June journey to the Belfast, Ireland Titanic Experience started in early February. We knew we wanted to include a trip to the museum and were worried that it would be difficult to get tickets on the day of our visit. Here’s where we hit an iceberg, so to speak. After a quick Google search we were on the official website and navigating through crystal clear waters. Ticket sales involved a click through calendar that seemed to be working just fine.
However, as I clicked the final “purchase” button, I realized the date was wrong, even though I had clicked on the date of our planned trip. Of course, the sale went through for the next day! After a confused call to the contact phone line, we were able to refund those tickets, but not make a new reservation over the phone. The next time through on the website we noticed the calendar month wasn’t changing even though we were picking June.
We let it sit for several weeks and in late May we realized we should try again. This time the glitch was gone and our ticket purchase went through without a hitch. When we arrived at the Titanic Experience, there were no lines at the ticket office and we thought, well, I guess booking online isn’t all that important. Maybe it isn’t, but then again, as we were finishing up our tour the line for tickets was out the door. Our recommendation, go ahead and book online just to be safe (just check that the dates do actually change to your selected month).
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Hands On At Titanic Belfast
One thing we really appreciated about the Belfast Titanic Experience was the hands on elements sprinkled throughout the exhibits. There was a station where you could learn and master the wireless code used on the Marconi wireless transmitters found aboard the Titanic and other ships of the time period. Other stations in the exhibits had mechanically operated quiz machines, while another used images projected on the floor which you controlled by moving around the room. We could easily have spent a few more hours at the museum if we had engaged at all of these stations.
Another benefit to having a museum built specifically for the purpose is being able to build an amusement park ride right inside the building. The Titanic Experience in Belfast has a set of cars propelled along an overhead track. The cars whisk visitors gently along through the construction phase of the Titanic’s hull. You’ll see, hear, and feel the work of the riveters pounding the hot rivets through the steel plates. The ride descends and rises as it takes you through the “shipyard” and past a replica of the Titanic’s massive rudder. Don’t worry, this is an informative ride not a thrill ride, but it is dark and might be a little scary for very young visitors.
What To Expect
The Titanic Experience Belfast tour will lead you through the history of ship building in Belfast, the design phase of the ship, construction, fitting out, the voyage, the fateful night, and the aftermath. This is an in-depth journey of discovery about everything you could possibly want to know about the Titanic. There are original plans to view, construction equipment to hold and marvel at, recordings of survivors tales, court proceeding records, and underwater footage displayed on a movie screen that will take visitors to the bottom of the Atlantic to see what the Titanic looks like today.
The Experience ends with a collection of exhibits about underwater salvage around the world. This was one of my favorite areas as the idea of treasure hunting along the ocean floor has always intrigued me. This gallery takes visitors through the history of underwater salvage and presents the processes and technology involved.
Eating Aboard the Titanic Belfast
Titanic Belfast has two dining options on sight, the Bistro 401 and the Galley Cafe. Both were doing a brisk business, feeding customers as quickly as possible without rushing anyone. The food in the Bistro looked delicious with a wide range of Irish food options on the menu. However, we had plans elsewhere so opted instead for tea and coffee and snack in the cafe. The dessert options were amazingly delicious and the tea and coffee were all perfect.
Titanic Belfast Tickets and other Important Information
- Titanic Belfast tickets can be bought online and will help visitors avoid lines at the ticket counter.
- Price includes entry to the galleries, the Titanic ride, and entrance to the White Star’s last surviving ship, SS Nomad, moored near the building.
- Discounted tickets are available for seniors (60+), students ( 16+ with ID), children (5-16), and children under 5 are free.
- A family ticket is available for two adults and two children.
- Audio guides are available for an additional price.
- Dry dock and pumphouse visits are available for an additional cost as well.
- Open daily, year round except 24-26 December. Hours are seasonal, so check the website to be sure.
- Free Wifi is available and works.
- Getting to the museum is easily accomplished by car (follow the well placed directional signs) or Translink bus 26, 26A, B, or C from the city center.
- Underground parking is available and affordable with direct interior access to the museum.
- More information and ticket sales can be found at Titanic Belfast, official website.
Other things to do in Northern Ireland after the Titanic Belfast Experience
- Visit Giant’s Causeway
- Take a Black Cab Tour
- Go to Bushmill’s Distillery
- Take a Game of Thrones tour (or DIY with your own rental car)
- Enjoy a pint or two in an old pub at the Crowne
Here you can read about more Belfast points of interest.
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