“Take a left, and then another left and then a right and head straight on and keep going on and on and you should see it on your left!”
The Belfast accent was so strong that it left me spluttering through my words.
Gripping my map and determined not to make some touristy mistake; I was confident. How on earth would I be able to miss the Titanic Belfast centre, a silver beacon that reflected the sunlight?
Grey after grey motorway spread out in front of myself and my other half and I couldn’t see the described silver “beacon” anywhere. It was meant to be a 40-minute walk from the hotel but it now looked like we were going to end up back in Dublin.
“This doesn’t look right…”, I mumbled as I trundled along. “Why aren’t there any signposts?” Good thing it wasn’t raining.
After a while we soon discovered our error – yes, there was a difference between the Titanic Quarter and Titanic Belfast and yes, there was a pretty big difference from where our Google Maps had told us to go and where we were meant to go. Curses.
Making a u-turn we set off and greater speed, this time keeping an eye on the glint in the distance (at least we had gotten lunch beforehand or I would’ve ended up hangry – hungry and angry).
Eventually, the silver spilled out in front of us and I almost cried in relief.
I had heard wonderful things about the Titanic Experience and it was side-by-side with Game of Thrones on my “to-do” list for things in Belfast.
Forking over £17.50 enthusiastically for my ticket, I was acutely aware that I had just 2 hours before close and to get through the nine focus points listed out on our self-guided tour.
The focal points and interactive diaries in the Titanic Experience detail the RMS Titanic’s story in full. Initially, I was taken aback at the whoosh of information that was being thrown at us on the first floor in “Boomtown Belfast” but as I experienced their clever use of multimedia, I found myself easing into the early 1900s.
I was transported to a world that I had only read in my history books.
I felt the heat of the furnace as the riveters worked at the shipyard. The intake of breath of when the Titanic was launched. I felt the terrifying fear as I read the final SOS messages.
My eyes began to well as I walked through cabin replicas and read about the musicians who played as the Titanic began her descent to the depths. They welled again when I found myself in front of Rosalie Ida and Isidor Straus.
On the night of the sinking, Isidor and Ida Straus were seen standing near Lifeboat No. 8 in the company of Mrs. Straus’s maid, Ellen Bird. Although the officer in charge of the lifeboat was willing to allow the elderly couple to board the lifeboat with Miss Bird, Isidor Straus refused to go while there were women and children still remaining on the ship. He urged his wife to board, but she refused, saying, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” Her words were witnessed by those already in Lifeboat No. 8 as well as many others who were on the boat deck at the time. Isidor and Ida were last seen standing arm in arm on the deck A cenotaph at the Straus Mausoleum […] reads: “Many waters cannot quench love – neither can the floods drown it.” – source
Character after character and each with a different perspective of this titan of the sea, it was hard not to be completely captured in the experience. It’s easy to see how you could become obsessed with the Titanic after visiting. Especially when the exhibit goes into more modern aspects of the voyage, from its sister ships and its ultimate discovery.
But at the risk of sounding like a spoilsport, I’m not going to list out everything I saw, or even go into any more detail.
I remember glancing back at the building with a mixed feeling. I was glad that I revisited, delighted that I had been able to indulge in the full “story”, but pretty depressed when completely reminded about all the sadness that surrounded it.
“Wow…” I breathed out when we finally got to the end of the Experience. That was something.
Value for money: 4/5
Things to note:
- We took a really roundabout way to get there (Thanks, Google), so double check your route. We got a taxi home (there’s a Value Cabs phone on the ground floor so give them a buzz and they’ll be there promptly) Next time we’d get the bus, though.
- Go if possible, as we did, during the week. It was lovely and quiet and we didn’t feel under pressure to let someone behind us “have a go” at some of the interactive exhibits.
- We didn’t get the opportunity this time around to see the SS Nomadic, but we would go back next time for sure. Your ticket includes entry to the Nomadic on the day or on the day after.
- You definitely need at least 2-3 hours for the full experience (especially if you’re including the Nomadic). We arrived at around 3pm and it closed at 5pm during spring so we barely had enough time to do the nine galleries.
- I docked a point in value for money because it is very expensive to visit, it’s something you need to set money aside for but there is so much to see.
Main images kindly courtesy of Titanic Belfast marketing team. Like what we do? Vote for the blog in the Kerala Blog Express and help me get to India! You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.