It has the Wow factor!
Full disclosure here, I have never seen the movie Titanic. I even deliberately avoid watching it if it's being shown on TV. (Pause for gasps from readers) My attitude to seeing it has always been "Why spend 4 hours watching a movie when you know the ending?! The boat sinks, people die" Admittedly the reaction from those that I've said this to is for them to roll their eyes, and if they're fans of the movie exclaim "But you must see it! It's a classic" Hmm no Gone with the Wind is a classic and I've seen that!
Regardless, my reason for wanting to visit the Titanic museum, as I called it, in Belfast, was because I was interested in the real life story, more than because I saw the movie! I spent 3 days in Belfast and on the last day I went to the former docks area which has now all been redeveloped with the Titanic Belfast building its centrepiece. As I was driving, I followed the GPS instructions, found it easily enough and there was plenty of parking nearby.
I loved the whole experience, the museum is fantastic. It was terrific as how they were able to expand on the basic facts, the ship the Titanic, along with its sister ship the Olympia were built in Belfast. Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage.
The exhibition begins with a trip to early 20th century Belfast and a look at the thriving industries in the city, along with the shipyards. There's even a 'ride', like an amusement park ride as you travel through the shipyards with all the sights, sounds and smells even. There's a recreation of the types of cabins on board. Here my photography skills let me down as the pictures I took were blurry!
Recreated Third class cabin.
The design of the Titanic Belfast building is amazing as well. Depending on the angle you look at it from the outside, it can resemble the bow of a ship. Overhead it looks like a star which was the symbol of the White Star Line. The architect also stated he had the idea of using a compass rose for the shape. The building was finished and officially opened in 2012 in time for the 100th anniversary of Titanic's first voyage.
It was a brilliant place to visit, well worth the admission price and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Belfast.
From the window you can see Hamilton Dry Dock. The ship there is the SS Nomadic, she was the tender for the Titanic. (A smaller ship that can get into a small wharf to load and unload passengers and bring them up to the main ship which is moored in deeper water) The SS Nomadic took second class passengers from the shallow docks in Cherbourg out to the Titanic. She's been restored to her 1911 glory days condition and can be toured as well as the museum. The SS Nomadic is a quarter the size of the Titanic and is the last White Star Line ship left in the world. (Titanic and Olympia belonged to the White Star Line fleet of ships)
The 'Titanic studios' are also in the redeveloped docks area, it's here that Game of Thrones is filmed.(It's the black box shaped building on the right of the picture) The large open area are the slipways imbedded in them are the outlines of the Titanic and the Olympia main decks, which are lit up at night with led light, the lamp posts mark the stanchions of the Arrol Gantry one of the world's largest cranes.