Titanic Belfast is a visitor attraction and a monument to Belfast's maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city's Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built. It tells the stories of the ill-fated Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank during her maiden voyage in 1912, and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMS Britannic. The building contains more than 12,000 square metres (130,000 sq feet) of floor space, most of which is occupied by a series of galleries, plus private function rooms and community facilities.
The building is located on Queen's Island, an area of land at the entrance of Belfast Lough which was reclaimed from the water in the mid-19th century. It was used for many years by the shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, who built huge slipways and graving docks to accommodate the simultaneous construction of Olympic and Titanic. The decline of shipbuilding in Belfast left much of the area derelict. Most of the disused structures on the island were demolished. A number of heritage features were given listed status, including the Olympic and Titanic slipways and graving docks, as well as the iconic Samson and Goliath cranes. The derelict land was renamed the "Titanic Quarter" in 2001 and was earmarked for regeneration. Development rights over 185 acres was subsequently bought by Harcourt Developments at a cost of £46 million, with 23 more acres set aside for a science park. The redevelopment plans included houses, hotels and entertainment amenities plus a maritime heritage museum and science centre. In 2005, plans were announced to build a museum dedicated to Titanic to attract tourists to the area, with the aim of completing it by 2012 to mark the centenary of Titanic's maiden voyage.
Titanic Belfast's exhibition was designed by London based exhibition designers Event Communications and consists of nine interpretative and interactive galleries, covering the following themes: Boomtown Belfast – the city at the start of the 20th century. The first gallery recreates scenes from Belfast at the time of Titanic's construction in 1909–11. It illustrates the city's major industries before leading through an original set of gates from the Harland and Wolff shipyard into an interactive floor presenting Titanic's construction plans, along with original drawings and scale models of the ship. The Shipyard – a ride aboard a mini-car up and around a replica of Titanic's rudder.The second gallery is dominated by a steel scaffold standing 20 metres (66 feet), which alludes to the Arrol Gantry built to aid the construction of Titanic and Olympic. A lift carries visitors to the top of the gantry, where scenes of shipbuilding are displayed through audio and images. The visit continues on a six-seater car which takes the visitor on a ride through a recreation of a shipyard which moves through a scale replica of Titanic's enormous rudder.
The Launch – how Titanic was launched on 31 May 1911. The Launch gallery portrays scenes from the Spring day when Titanic was launched into Belfast Lough, watched by 100,000 people. It overlooks the slipway from which Titanic was launched and a window enables visitors to see the slipways and docks as they appear now. The Fit-Out – the fitting-out of Titanic from her launch through to April 1912. The fourth gallery presents a large-scale model of Titanic to illustrate how the ship appeared to its passengers and crew, depicting all three classes of cabins. A central feature in the gallery presents a 360-degree computer-generated tour around Titanic through all the levels of the vessel, from the engine room to the dining saloons and the bridge. The Maiden Voyage – the journey from Belfast to Southampton, and from there to Cherbourg, Queenstown (Cobh) and westwards. The ship's disastrous maiden voyage is depicted in the fifth gallery, which depicts the ship's boat deck. Visitors can walk across the wooden deck, sit on benches or look out at a view across the docks and harbour. The gallery also presents photographs of the ship by the Jesuit photographer Father Francis Browne, who was aboard Titanic for the leg from Southampton to Queenstown (now Cobh) in southern Ireland.
The Sinking – the disaster of 14/15 April 1912. The sixth gallery portrays the sinking of the Titanic with the background sound of Morse code SOS messages being sent to other ships. Images of the sinking are combined with audio of survivors telling their stories and illustrations of the confused press reporting of the disaster. The iceberg is evoked by a wall of 400 replica life-jackets, on which an image of the sinking ship is projected. The Aftermath – the legacy of the disaster. The aftermath of the sinking is documented in the seventh gallery, which is dominated by a full-size replica of one of the lifeboats used to evacuate passengers from the ship. The American and British inquiries into the disaster are portrayed on either side of the lifeboat through videos and information panels. Visitors can use interactive screens to search the passenger and crew lists to find out if one of their relatives was aboard the ship. The gallery also presents information on the subsequent histories of Harland and Wolff and Titanic's sister ships.
Myths & Legends – the facts behind some of the stories about the Titanic. The disaster gave rise to numerous legends and myths, perpetuated through films, plays, books and poems. With Celine Dion's song My Heart Will Go On playing in the background, visitors are able to explore aspects of the popular culture inspired by Titanic. Interactive screens also enable the visitor to explore myths about the ship. Titanic Beneath – about the wreck of the Titanic and its rediscovery. The last gallery presents Titanic as she is now, 12,000 feet (3,700 m) below the surface of the North Atlantic. Presented in conjunction with the discoverer of the wreck of Titanic, Dr Robert Ballard, the gallery illustrates his expeditions to the ship through footage, audio and images. A fish-eye view of the wreck is set under the glass floor. Below the floor is the Ocean Exploration Centre, Titanic Belfast's principal educational facility, which shows marine biology and exploration in Northern Ireland's coastal waters as well as Ballard's various expeditions around the world.
All circulation spaces and galleries at Titanic Belfast are fully accessible. There are some dimensional and weight restrictions on the Shipyard Ride which may mean that some wheelchairs, and all mobility scooters, will be unable to be accommodated within the accessible car (see below). Titanic Belfast is surrounded by a flagged Plaza which is fully accessible. Titanic Belfast has four entrances, all have level access. The main door is the South entrance and this is revolving, the 3 other entrances are automatic bi-parting. The main access doors take you in to the Atrium which has a granite floored surface. Off the Atrium there is level access to the Titanic Store, The Galley Café and Bistro 401. The ticket desks are within the Atrium and all have lowered counters. There are 2 scenic lifts within the Atrium which take visitors to all levels of the experience. There is one passenger lift that takes visitors to the car park -1 & -2. The Titanic Experience entrance is on Level One. All areas of the exhibition which have audio have integrated loop systems, visitors who wear hearing aids should switch them to the T setting. There is seating for rest points in Galleries 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. There are 2 levels of underground car park. Level -2 has 6 accessible spaces. Level -1 has 4 accessible spaces. The circulation space within the building is fully accessible for wheelchairs. Titanic Belfast has a number of wheelchairs which can be reserved on request by contacting their ticketing office on +44 (0)28 9076 6399.
The Shipyard Ride. Due to dimensional and weight restrictions on the Shipyard Ride, mobility scooters unfortunately cannot be accommodated. There is a wheelchair accessible car which can accommodate one standard wheelchair at a time, wheelchairs cannot be larger than 1.0m in length. The safety bar in each car must close to 320mm. Children under 7 years or 1.3m must be supervised. As safety bars must close to 320mm, children cannot sit on parent's or guardian's knees and must be able to sit up un-aided. Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs are welcome on the Shipyard Ride but at the discretion of the owners. There are accessible toilet facilities in the following areas: 1 Toilet - Entrance from car parking on level -1; 1 Toilet - Atrium level; 2 Toilets - Level 1; 1 Toilet - Gallery One - Boomtown Belfast; 1 Toilet - The Andrews Gallery; 2 Toilets - Level 2; 1 Toilet - Gallery Six; 1 Toilet - Gallery Seven; 2 Toilets - Level 5 Banqueting Suites. All accessible toilets have emergency alarms and communication points which go back to a 24hr manned security room. Titanic Belfast is designed to be a multi -sensory exhibition. Titanic Belfast is a self-guided experience however audio guides are available, with printed versions of their audio guide available on request. These will be sent out via email or by post. There are three video presentations within Gallery Nine, transcripts of the audio of these videos are available on request.Hearing Dogs are welcome.
Facilities For Those Who Are Blind Or Partially Sighted. They have developed an audio-described audio guide that is provided free of charge to visitors who are blind or partially sighted. These guides can be collected at Visitor Services. Guide Dogs are welcome. To ensure the best experience possible, it is advised that blind or partially sighted guests call ahead on +44 (0)28 9076 6386 to check how busy it is likely to be on the date of their chosen visit. There is voice indication in all front-of-house lifts, hand rail extensions and contrasting floor textures. Please note that the lighting levels within some of the galleries are low and in others which have windows can be extremely bright. Titanic Belfast operates a Free Carers Policy, whereby it offers a free carer ticket to any customer who requires essential assistance to visit their building.
Location : Titanic Belfast, 1 Olympic Way, Queens Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9EP
Transport: Titanic Quarter (Translink) then 15 minutes. Bus Routes : Translink 26, 26A, 26B, 26C and Airport Express 600, 600A and 600B stop outside.
Opening Times : October to March 10:00 - 17:00; June to August 09:00 - 19:00; Otherwise 09:00 - 18:00
Tickets : Adult £18.00; Student/Senior £14.50; Children (5 - 16) £8.00.
Tel: 028 9076 6386