“There has been sustained growth in tourism spend in Northern Ireland over the last 4-5 years, with tourism worth £750 million to the local economy in 2014. Titanic Belfast has played a major part in this success with over 2.5 million visitors to its galleries since opening. I would like to see tourism grow to become a £I billion industry by 2020 and award winning offerings such as Titanic Belfast ensure that Northern Ireland visitor experience has recognition on the international stage”.
– Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary of Development for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
World Renown Visitor Attraction
Titanic Belfast is one of the many spectacular heritage attractions in Belfast, particularly in Titanic Quarter. It is attractions like the SS Nomadic ship, the last remaining liner of the White Star line, the slipways of Titanic and Olympic ships, the Pump House, and the Drawing Offices of Harland and Wolff.
The adventure begins the moment you walk through the doors of the Museum. It adeptly tells the story of the tragic doom of the famous Titanic, taking you on a journey all the way back to the construction of the Titanic and even to her conception in the early 1900s. The Museum is rich with real artefacts that will definitely draw your attention.
Titanic Belfast Museum is at 1 Olympic Way, on Queen’s Road, Belfast.
“Titanic Belfast has enjoyed undoubted success over the last three and a half years, which can be measured not only by the 2.5 million visitors, but also by the five star customer service standards achieved by management and staff. It has placed Belfast and Northern Ireland on the national and international tourism map, with over 80% of all visitors coming from outside Northern Ireland, creating a huge financial benefit to the wider economy. Titanic Belfast looks forward to welcoming many more visitors in the coming years both domestic and international”.
– Conal Harvey, Titanic Belfast.
It is owned completely by the Titanic Foundation, a government charity. The Foundation is dedicated to keep the industrial and marine heritage of Belfast.
History & Construction of The Titanic
Titanic Museum, or Titanic Belfast as it’s known now, has turned the world’s attention to Northern Ireland. It has become a notable attraction for tourists when visiting Northern Ireland. It was considered a necessary project that would positively influence tourism in NI by Northern Ireland Tourism Board’s Strategic Framework for Action (2004–2007).
The Land of The Titanic Museum
Titanic Belfast is situated on a land that was a part of Belfast water in the past. That land was used for several purposes, such as shipbuilding. Harland and Wolff constructed there graving docks and slipways for building Titanic and Olympic ships, which took part in shaping Belfast’s historical landscape.
Unfortunately, the shipbuilding business declined later, which led that part of Belfast to a very poor condition because of disuse. In addition, most of the derelict buildings there were knocked down. Moreover, some of the landmarks got listed status, such as the slipways of Titanic and Olympic, Samson and Goliath cranes and graving docks. In 2001, that derelict area was named “Titanic Quarter”, or TQ, and plans were made for refurbishments, including a science park, hotels, houses, a museum and entertainment facilities.
Tourism Ministers Thoughts
“Titanic Signature Project” was completed in 2008. Arlene Foster, as the Tourism minister in NI, said that the funding would come from the attractions and that through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the private sector, Harcourt Developments and Belfast Harbour Commissioners, equally. Other funding was promised by Belfast Council.
“In just four short years, Titanic Belfast has become an iconic tourist ‘must see’, attracting over three million visitors from all over the world … We always knew that in Titanic Belfast, we were home to a world class attraction that would become a global brand. While it’s no surprise to me it has been recognised in this way, it is a wonderful achievement to win the ‘world’s best’ accolade ahead of other venues like Machu Picchu and the Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World … I had the privilege as Tourism Minister of being involved with the project since its inception, and this award is further proof that the investment and imagination that went into this attraction keeps paying dividends for the whole of Northern Ireland”.
– Arlene Foster, First Minister of Northern Ireland.
Support of the Titanic Museum
Several destinations supported the foundation of the museum. Harcourt Developments was one of them and it engaged in the process with the help of CHL Consulting that is specialized in management, development and research consultancy, as well as Event Communications, a prominent agency for exhibitions design in Europe. Moreover, Civic Arts took part in the architectural design of the site, and Todd Architects was the main consultant.
The project’s overall area is 14,000 m2, which includes nine interactive galleries and an underwater exploration theatre, a dark ride, cabins like those of Titanic and deluxe suites for holding conferences and banquets that can serve up to 1000 people. Titanic Belfast welcomed 807,340 visitors in its first year, 471,702 of them were out of Northern Ireland.
“Our extensive analysis has found compelling evidence that the original projections and targets relating to Titanic Belfast’s economic, social and physical impact have been met and indeed exceeded. In particular Titanic Belfast has proved to be an economic driver, providing jobs, unlocking investment and a significant boost to tourism”.
– Jackie Henry, Senior Partner at Deloitte.
Design of The Museum
Titanic Belfast has been designed to tell a story not just of a sunken ship, but of a time when economy prospered and shipbuilding prevailed. Belfast Titanic Museum does not just commemorate the loss of life, but also the achievements of the former designers and ship builders of Belfast. The angular construction on the edge of the docks adds to the innovation of design. They appear sparkly giving a sense of glamour. An amazing textured effect glimmers in the external facade clad made with several thousand three-dimensional aluminium plates, of which two thousand are unique in size and shape.
Buildings Resemblance to the Titanic Ship
At the same height as the Titanic ship, the four corners of Titanic Belfast building represent the Titanic’s bow. Striking into the sky, insinuating an exciting experience of the famous ocean liner. The design can be seen from another perspective; it represents the iceberg to which the Titanic collided, a symbol of the control it had over the fate of all what was thought to have been invincible engineering. At the base of the Museum, there are pools of water glaring at the reflection of the Titanic Belfast exterior.
“We created an architectural icon that captures the spirit of the shipyards, ships, water crystals, ice, and the White Star Line’s logo.Its architectural form cuts a skyline silhouette that has been inspired by the very ships that were built on this hallowed ground”.
– Eric Kuhne, architect of Titanic Belfast Visitor Center
The Famous Slipways
Right next to Titanic Belfast Museum are the slipways, which witnessed the construction of the Olympic and Titanic ships and their first launch as well. There you will get to explore the actual plan of Titanic’s Promenade Deck. You can also enjoy sitting on the benches placed at the same place of the benches that used to be on board the deck of Titanic.
The lamp posts lined represent the stanchions of Arrol Gantry, one of the world’s largest cranes. There are also lines lit by blue light, which make an amazing scene from above where, when lit, outline the star shape representing the White Star Line Logo.
Part of the spectacular design of the attraction site too is the plaza. The plaza is covered with light tiles, which represent the sea, and dark ones, which represent the land. There’s also a series of wooden benches encircling the building clockwise into the shape of a Morse code sequence. They read “DE (this is) MGY MGY MGY (Titanic’s call sign) CQD CQD SOS SOS CQD”—the distress message that Titanic sent after colliding to the iceberg.
Titanic Belfast Museum offers a venue for an authentic cultural experience in Belfast. On the first 4 floors, visitors will find 9 interactive galleries. They tell the Titanic story through interactive technology and design. They introduce all stages of the Titanic from being just some drawings and designs on paper until its one and only launch.
“There are nine galleries and we have created in each of those galleries a narrative which flows chronologically”.
– James Alexander, Exhibition Design Chief.
The Galleries Introduce the Following Themes:
This first gallery introduces how Belfast was when Titanic was built (1909–1911). You will be greeted by a huge screen with a street scene from the early 1900s. Visitors get the chance to explore the main industries before the leading era and the newspaper stands with headlines from the era, taking them back to the time of the Home Rule debate and pre-First World War.
- On one screen two actors discuss White Star Line’s most recent contract win—three luxury liners, including the Titanic, to be the largest ship in the world. The actor says, “The ships will be constructed in our finest shipyard, with our most skilled workers”. This is shown by an original set of gates from the shipyard of Harland & Wolff, plans for building the ship, some original drawings and scale models of the Titanic.
Visitors get a ride all around Titanic’s rudder and up on a scaffold you get to see the Arrol Gantry. At the top of the Arrol Gantry, several pictures and other audio material about shipbuilding are waiting to be explored by visitors. The noise, smells and lighting effects, combined with video footage of shipyard workers, all take you in a sense of it was like working in shipyards.
This gallery presents the day, 31 May 1911, the date of Titanic’s launch to Belfast’s Lough. 100,000 people were there to witness the great launch. The slipway where Titanic started its historical launching is displayed as well as the docks through a window.
Titanic is brought back to life through a huge model. Live the real scene with the crew and passengers. Three-class cabins, dining salon and the engine room are an impressive feature replicating those of the real sunken ship.
The Maiden Voyage:
The fifth gallery takes you to Titanic’s deck through some photos and you can take a walk on the wooden floor, surrounded by light, looking out across the industrial landscape of the docks and Belfast harbour as if you’re on the real deck. Father Francis Browne, who was on Titanic during its voyage to Cobh, took some photographs of it and they are displayed in this gallery.
Want to know more about the sinking incident? All that is related to the unfortunate doom of the Titanic is there in this gallery. You can hear Morse code messages playing in the background like one of the last messages saying “cannot last much longer”, see photos of its sinking, hear what recordings of the survivors, and read what the press wrote at the time. There is also a wall of 400 life jackets set in the shape of the iceberg to which the Titanic collided and a picture of Titanic in its last moments pictured on these life jackets.
The Titanic’s aftermath are documented here in this gallery. A replica of one of the ship’s lifeboats used to save passengers is displayed. On both sides of the lifeboat, visitors can get to know all the British and American inquiries concerning the end of the Titanic. There are also interactive screens offering a database of the crew and passengers names who were on board of the Titanic for visitors who wish to trace their ancestry.
Myths and Legends:
Many films, books, poems, and plays presented legends or myths related to Titanic. At this gallery, enjoy listening to Celine Dion’s most famous romantic song, “My Heart Will Go On”, while getting close to how the popular culture there is affected by such a ship. On the walls, photographs and posters of Titanic movies and plays hang.
Are there remnants of the ship? Where is it now? You’ll find answers to all these questions in the gallery by exploring the photos, audio and footage displayed in a cinema-like room. Enjoy the fish-eye view through the glass floor. You can also explore the discoveries of the several expeditions set in the waters of Northern Ireland (e.g. Dr. Robert Ballard discovery of the wreck underwater With his voice playing in the background saying things like, “this is it, that’s the Titanic—pretty impressive, right?”. There is also a wide range of information related to marine biology and the Ocean Exploration Centre.
“At Titanic Belfast, we not only tell the story of how the world’s most famous ship was built, designed and launched, but also the story of Belfast and the personal stories behind it. There are literally thousands of fascinating connections to Titanic but to have one of the Harland family with us is an honour!”
– Tim Husbands MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast.
Titanic Belfast is rich with original artefacts dating back to the tragedy of the famous Titanic. Every item added is carefully considered in terms of authenticity, origin and how it adds to the learned narrative of Belfast’s maritime and industrial heritage, RMS Titanic, SS Nomadic in particular. The artefacts displayed include:
Harland & Wolff Gates:
The original gates of H&W that survived from the 19th century until now are found in the galleries. And you can find a stunning Time Clock placed in the past Drawing Offices.
Harland & Wolff Launch notebook:
The notebook holds a record of every launch from Ship No 1 to Ship No 1533.
White Star China:
Visit gallery number 4 and you will find great original samples of White Star tableware. They are presented differently according to the social class levels on the Titanic. Fine bone china was served to the first class. Blue and white china was for the second class with the logo of White Star on them. Then the red logo of White Star was on the white tableware of the third class.
Visit Gallery number 5 and you can see the letter of Titanic’s assistant surgeon who was on board when Titanic met its end in 1912. Dr. John Simpson, born in Belfast, wrote this letter to his mother in Queenstown telling her his last touching words. The letter was posted just before Titanic set sail on its voyage from Cobh. The idea that Belfast could never bring back this letter was a big worry for putting it up in an auction. However, thanks to the Titanic Foundation, the letter was obtained and sold in an auction in the US for a price of $34,000.
Titanic’s Promotional Brochure:
Visit Gallery number 4 and see how brochures were during that time. Titanic and Olympic’s rare brochure is there expressing the latest design of such promotions during that past era.
The Watch of Lord Pirrie:
Get to see the elegant personal watch of the Chairman of Harland and Wolff, Lord William James Alexander Pirrie? Visit The Launch Gallery and find that piece of art with the inscription “W.J. A. Pirrie” on it. Lord Pirrie was the famous supervisor of the great building project of Titanic. That was in cooperation with J Bruce Ismay to whom the idea of making class of liners for Olympic belonged. It is likely that Lord Pirrie wore this watch during the building process of Titanic and its launch too. Moreover, on its stamp, you can notice 2 names: Robert Neill of Belfast, a watchmaker and a jeweller, and James Morrison, a retailer.
Time Recording machine:
This machine recorded overtime hours for any workers at the weekend and it was found at the Drawing Offices building.
The Board of Trade Plan:
“Holy Grail of Titanic memorabilia”! The plan was most expensive Titanic artefact sold at any auction. Its width is 33 ft. and was written with Indian ink. Those plans were ready to be examined at Wreck Commissioner’s Court of Inquiry to help any witness or person representing the Court and that was during the Inquiry. Exploring the plan, if you examine the cabins of the third class, you will notice that there was a great problem with the design. It is clear in the way the 3rd class passengers would use to the Boat Deck in case of danger.
The Last Menu Served:
Visit Gallery number 5 and see the last luncheon menu served to the first class on board of the Titanic the day it hit the ice berg. The Dodge Family was the first to own such a rare menu. Then they sold it to Rupert Hunt, who was the owner of Spareroom.com, then Rupert loaned it Titanic Museum.
- Originally, the menu was among the possessions of a passenger who was on board of the Titanic. It was for Ruth Dodge. Dent Ray, who was a ship steward, wrote a note on the back side of the menu to the Dodge family that says: “With compliments & best wishes from Frederic Dent Ray, 56 Palmer Park, Reading, Berks”.
- Ray was assured that the Dodge Family was from those who were on Titanic when it launched in its maiden voyage and they survived too. During the occurrence of the famous disaster, he was responsible for one of Titanic’s lifeboats that carried 30 children. There were some instructions to be followed if such occasions happened—women and children were to be saved and put first on the lifeboats. However, Mr. Ray put Dr. Dodge, who had met Ray before, on board just to give support to the children on it. Concerning Ruth Dodge, she was with her son on another lifeboat.
The Letter of Esther & Eva Hart:
Being the last words ever written on the great ship gave this letter a high price, which got a world record in an auction. Now it is placed in Titanic Belfast Museum and is agreed to stay there for five years. Esther Hart wrote this letter to her daughter, Eva, who was only eight at the time. Esther put the letter in the pocket of her husband’s jacket that she was wearing. Her husband was among the lost ones.
The Tickets of Titanic’s First and Last Voyage:
A VIP Ticket: Visit the Launch Gallery to see a VIP ticket on display. Captain Alexander Matier introduced his ticket since he wasn’t on board of the Titanic when it launched.
Titanic’s Ticket stub No. 116: This stub was for an employee at H&W, Charlotte Brennan, who witnessed the building project and the launch of the great ship. He wrote some notes on its back related to Titanic’s end.
- An original photograph of one of Titanic’s lifeboats approaching the Carpathia during the rescue of survivors.
“We are absolutely delighted to be named a winner in the 2015 Travellers’ Choice Awards for Museums. It gives us great pride to know that this award is a result of traveller reviews. We’d like to thank all of our visitors to Titanic Belfast, as well as the staff at Titanic Belfast, for helping us achieve this”.
– Tim Husbands MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast.
Plan your Events at Titanic Belfast
Moreso, not only is Titanic Belfast a rich historic attraction, but it also offers a unique wedding venue with spectacular locations for your special day. An experienced wedding planner will help you too and guide you all the time to make this day as perfect as you need. Other events are held there too in suites that can hold hundreds of guests.
The Titanic Suite:
The breathtaking interior design of the Titanic Suite promises an unforgettable setting for your wedding. It hosts up to 800 people. The featured replica of the famous Grand Staircase on which Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, waited for Rose DeWitt Bukater, played by Kate Winslet, in the final scene of Titanic—one of the most romantic scenes in cinema.
The perfect setting on the top floor of Titanic Belfast Museum. It overlooks wonderful scenery, such as the slipways, Belfast Lough, Cavehill and beyond.
The Britannic Suite:
A luxurious design suitable for smaller weddings.
The Olympic Suite:
This one is also as deluxe as the Titanic Suite. Smaller weddings can be planned here and it is suitable for lovely drink receptions as well.
The Andrews Gallery:
This superb place is a modern one and with amazing views of the Drawing Offices of Harland and Wolff. You can order your own personalized designs and all your detailed recommendations will be made to make your day as perfect as you want.
Weddings are performed here too, with its four decks where you can take the best photographs.
The Giant Atrium:
It is 20,000 square foot and is inspired by the scaffolding, gantries and cranes that surrounded the Titanic and the Olympic. The place here is suitable for your cultural performances and special receptions. If your event includes acrobats of any kind or musical shows, Giant Atrium is the place for you since it has a 60-ft high ceiling gantry.
Titanic slipways are where Titanic was built and launched in 1911, over 100 years ago. The three slipways were re-engineered by Harland & Wolff in 1907 into two larger ones. Which could accept the huge hulls of the new Olympic ships. They are located behind Titanic Belfast providing a huge outdoor venue option for holding big events.
Wedding Experience at Titanic Museum
“My husband, Stephen, and I got married on Wednesday 28th September 2016 in Titanic Belfast. We had the best day of our lives and it was all down to the staff at Titanic. They were all wonderful and made our day go so smoothly and calmly. From the moment we booked Titanic as our venue, they made the experience so enjoyable and relaxed. From the food and wine tasting experience to the detailed itinerary worked out to what we specifically wanted. There was nothing that was too much trouble for the helpful, friendly and professional staff. We have to make mention of particular staff who made our wedding the best experience of our lives so far. Special thanks to the Events Team including Roberta, Jackie, Paul and Vanessa. Also to Kerry and Jonathan, our wedding coordinators who kept us in the loop at every stage right up to the wedding day … The food was sublime and the jaw dropping views of Belfast Harbour make a wedding in Titanic completely unique and spectacular. All our guests commented on how wonderful the day, the food and the views were. We also gave our guests the option of doing a tour of the museum which added an extra special touch and gave the guests something to do between the ceremony and the reception. Those who took the tour all found this a really interesting and exceptional experience … We want to thank you Titanic for making our wedding day amazing. All there is left to say is that if anyone is thinking of an exclusive and distinctive venue for their wedding, choose Titanic Belfast”.
– Susan Logan on Wedding dates.co.uk.
Another Review of the Venue
“I just can’t put in to words how amazing the day was. Everyone was so impressed by the venue, the food and the staff. I can’t thank you enough for everything you did to bring it all together. You know I was worried about the layout but I just couldn’t believe it when I saw the room on the day; I was blown away. Everything about the Titanic was absolutely perfect. I am so glad we made the decision to have our wedding there. It was a day I will never forget. A big thanks to you and all the staff!”
– Claire Martini on Wedding dates.co.uk.
Interesting places and things that you can enjoy after visiting Titanic Belfast while you are at Titanic Quarter:
- SS Nomadic: SS Nomadic, Titanic’s Sister Ship, is just outside the Titanic Belfast Museum in the Hamilton Dry Dock, Titanic Quarter.
- The Wee Tram
- Titanic Hotel Belfast
- HMS Caroline
- W5 Interactive Centre
- Titanic’s Dock and Pump House
- Titanic Exhibition Centre
- Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
- Odyssey Pavilion & SSE Arena
- Segway Guided Tours
- Titanic Pilgrimage Guided Tour
- Walking Tours
- Boat Tours
“As champions for the preservation of Belfast’s maritime heritage, it has been a privilege for Titanic Foundation to work on this incomparable restoration project, made possible with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and private investment from Harcourt Developments. Titanic Hotel Belfast is a wonderful addition to Titanic Quarter, and even more for the tourist industry here to shout about”.
– Kerrie Sweeney from Titanic Foundation.
Titanic Belfast and Learning
Titanic Belfast aims at enriching the public’s knowledge through an inspiring learning experience. It also offers onsite workshops and tours targeting a wide range of ages and covering various curriculum areas. The Ocean Exploration Centre (OEC) is your final stop at Titanic Belfast.
Ocean Exploration Centre (OEC)
The Ocean Exploration Centre (OEC) provides a fascinating insight into modern 21st-century ocean exploration. Taking visitors closer to some of the high-tech equipment used during underwater missions. Visitors can even join an expedition dive and learn more practically.
“It is an honour for me to open this fantastic ocean exploration centre which is full of fun and educational exhibits. It adds to the visitor experience at Titanic Belfast, and adds to the legacy of Titanic. Indeed, it is a product of Titanic’s legacy; that great ship continues to educate us to this day and will continue to inspire our learning … I’m excited about linking up through live interactions with the OEC at Titanic Belfast from my exploration vessel E/V Nautilus – it makes it all the more worthwhile to know that at the other end young people and the young at heart will be learning about the oceans and its wonders”.
– Robert Ballard, the ocean explorer who discovered Titanic in 1985.
“Titanic Belfast is a unique learning resource for students of all ages. Learning is at the heart of what we do and our education partnerships enable us to work with local schools to set the standard of excellence for education outside the classroom. We look forward to sharing our passion and enthusiasm for the RMS Titanic, Belfast and its maritime, industrial and social history with the pupils of St Teresa’s Primary School”.
– Siobhán McCartney, Titanic Belfast’s Learning and Outreach Manger.
Furthermore, after a fruitful trip at Titanic Belfast, you may want to spend the afternoon at the Bistro 401 or the Galley Café on the ground floor of Titanic Belfast Museum, and enjoy a meal or cup of coffee.
Prices of Titanic Belfast
- For adults, the tour costs £8.50.
- For children, the tour costs £7.50.
- The times of the tours changes seasonally, so you must check the updated schedule.
- Roaming headphones can be used.
- Tours can be cancelled should weather so issues arise.
- A full refund is available if the tour is cancelled.
- Tickets are non-refundable if you missed the tour or are late for it.
- You must arrive in time at the Discovery Point to have the tour on the time scheduled.
- Online resources are available during the visit to the place or even after it.
- A Learning Brochure is available too.
- You can request a booking form online.
Phone no.: +44 28 9076 6386
Also, don’t forget to check other places and attractions around Northern Ireland: Belfast Peace Walls| Titanic Dock and Pump House| SS Normadic: The Titanic’s Sister Ship| City Hall Belfast| Glens of Antrim|Stories of Bravery on the RMS Titanic| The Best Tourist Attractions in Northern Ireland|