A Guide to Visiting Titanic Belfast In 2021: Tours, What To Expect + History

titanic belfast
Photos via Shutterstock

A visit to Titanic Belfast is one of the most popular things to do in Northern Ireland.

Located right on the slipways where RMS Titanic was designed, built and launched, the enigmatic Titanic Museum tells the now-infamous story incredibly well.

Visitors can expect exhibits, replica staterooms, photos, documents and 21st century technology. You’ll see, hear and even SMELL the shipbuilding process during your tour!

Below, you’ll find everything from how much Titanic Belfast tickets cost to what to expect from your visit (and what to see a short walk away). 

Some quick need-to-knows about Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Museum belfast
Photo © Chris Hil via Ireland’s Content Pool

Although a visit to the Titanic Museum is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location    

Titanic Belfast is in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter where it overlooks the River Lagan. It’s a 25-minute walk from both the Belfast Cathedral Quarter and St George’s Market and a 35-minute walk from Ormeau Park.

2. Opening hours

Opening hours at the Titanic Experience vary according to season. From October to March it’s open 10am to 5pm (Thurs-Sunday). For April and May it’s open 9am to 6 pm. From June to August it’s open 9am to 7pm. More info on opening hours here.

3. Admission

The Titanic Experience costs: £19.50 for adults, £8.75 for kids (5 – 15), £15.50 for seniors and £48.00 for a family of 4. You can add-on the guided Discover Tour for an additional £10.00 for adults and £8.00 for kids (5 – 15). Note: prices may change.

4. A whole lot of history

The RMS Titanic story starts in 1909 when is was commissioned by the White Star Line and built by Harland and Wolff Shipyard for around £7.5 million. However, the remarkable history of Harland and Wolff goes back to 1861. This specialist shipyard built a successful fleet of ocean liners along with HMS Belfast for the Royal Navy and P&O’s Canberra.

The story behind the Titanic Belfast   

The Titanic is one of the most famous ships ever launched. Designed, built and launched by Belfast’s leading shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff, it is a fascinating story that led to the epic blockbuster movie of the same name.

Sadly, the luxury liner is not remembered as being the largest ship afloat at that time, but for the disaster that unfolded during her maiden voyage

Belfast circa 1900

In the early 20th century, Belfast was buzzing with industry, particularly shipbuilding, rope-making, linen and tobacco production. Around 15,000 Belfast residents were employed by the leading shipyard, Harland and Wolff, under the ambitious Chairman, Lord Pirrie.

Commissioned by White Star Line as a new luxury liner for their fast Transatlantic fleet, the RMS Titanic was the largest man-made moveable object in the world. It had the latest refinements in luxury including a heated swimming pool, escalators, hot and cold water in each stateroom and a glittering ballroom.

A Titanic disaster

As the ship sailed out on its maiden voyage, a crew of engineers and fitters from Belfast were onboard to complete any last-minute details. Steaming through the icy waters of Newfoundland Canada at an impressive 20 knots per hour, the Titanic struck an iceberg. It pierced the hull and the “unsinkable” liner sank to a watery grave taking more than 1500 crew and passengers with it.

The different Titanic Exhibition tours

titanic belfast tickets
Photo © Chris Hill via Ireland’s Content Pool

So, there are a couple of different tours of the Titanic Exhibition that you can head off on, depending on what way you want to explore it.

Below, you’ll find info on a guided and a self-guided tour of the Titanic Centre (note: if you make a booking through a link below we may make a small commission which we very much appreciate).

1. Titanic Experience (self-guided)

Admission to the Titanic Experience Tour includes a self-guided tour through a series of galleries. Surround yourself with the sights, sounds and smells of booming Belfast shipyards as you discover the social history of the people and city of Belfast.

Embrace the story of the Titanic, from plans to launch and subsequent sinking. A drama and a tragedy in this epic Titanic Experience!

  • What to expect: Follow the one-way route through 9 interactive galleries at your own pace
  • Self-guided: Yes
  • Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
  • Price: Adults £19.50 / Child £8.75
  • SS Nomadic: Included
  • Book your ticket/see reviews

2. The Discovery Tour (guided)

Follow your informative guide via a personal headset on this 1.7 mile/2.8km Discovery Tour around the historic slipways and huge Titanic Belfast building.

Along the way, learn about maritime metaphors hidden in the attraction and discover the symbolic importance of this contemporary design.

See the Drawing Offices where Thomas Andrews and his colleagues designed the Titanic. Follow the stages of construction of these Olympic class behemoths, culminating in their grand launch.

  • What to expect: Indoor and outdoor walking tour of the slipways, drawing offices and secrets within the Titanic Belfast architectural design
  • Guided: Yes with personal headset
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Price: Adults £10 / Child £8
  • SS Nomadic: included

Other things to see in and around the Titanic Quarter

After you’ve finished working your way around the Titanic Exhibition, there’s still plenty to see and do in the surrounding area.

Below, you’ll find info on everything from the building itself (it’s unique to say the least!) to the SS Nomadic and more.

1. The building itself 

titanic exhibition
Photos via Shutterstock

The landmark building housing the main Titanic Belfast attraction is a work of art in itself. It was designed by Todd Architects and took three years to complete at a cost of £77 million. The four 38m-high points represent the pointed hulls on the original ship and stand the same height as the original ship. The 5-story glass atrium has views of the docks and city. It is covered in aluminum shards which were specially designed to shimmer.

2. The SS Nomadic

ss nomadic belfast
Photo by Kuiper (Shutterstock)

Moored on the waterfront, the SS Nomadic was the tender to the RMS Titanic and is the only surviving White Star Line vessel in existence. Admission is included in your Titanic Experience ticket. Restored to its 1911 appearance, it has 4 decks and is a floating museum of interactive exhibits and information about life aboard the RMS Titanic.

3. The slipways

what to do in the titanic quarter
Photo left: Dignity 100. Photo right: vimaks (Shutterstock)

See the actual slipways down which the RMS Titanic and many other world-famous vessels have launched. Walk the replica white stone Promenade Deck and sit on benches arranged as they would have been on Titanic’s deck. See the positioning of the funnels and lifeboats. It’s a historic place to pause a moment and reflect in the many famous ships that have started their life on this very spot.

Things to do near Titanic Belfast

One of the beauties of a visit to the Titanic Museum in Belfast is that it’s a stone’s throw away from many of the best places to visit in the city.

Below, you’ll find everything from walks and food to St Anne’s Cathedral, lively pubs and much, much more.

1. The Samson & Goliath Cranes (3-minute walk)   

harland and wolff cranes belfast
Photo by Gabo (Shutterstock)

Walk around the back of the Titanic Belfast building and you’ll see these mega Samson and Goliath cranes in the distance. Dominating the city skyline, they started working in the shipbuilder’s heyday and are now retired and preserved.

2. St Anne’s Cathedral (25-minute walk)

st anne's cathedral belfast
Photos via Shutterstock

Located on nearby Donegall Street, the beautiful St Anne’s Cathedral dates back to 1899 and remains a centre of active worship in the city. See mosaics, carved stonework, stunning stained glass and sculptures.

3. Cathedral Quarter Belfast (30-minute walk)

belfast cathedral quarter
Photo via Ireland’s Content Pool

St Anne’s Cathedral gives its name to the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast. This old merchant quarter with its cobbled streets and quirky bars has many grand buildings erected during Belfast’s prosperous linen and shipbuilding days.

FAQs about the Titanic Museum in Belfast

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from is the Titanic Centre worth visiting to what the different tours of the Titanic Museum in Belfast involve.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is the Titanic Museum in Belfast worth visiting?

Yes! A visit to the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast packs a punch. The way the story is told via interactive exhibitions, videos and smells is immersive, enjoyable and impactful. 

How long do the tours of Titanic Belfast take?

For the experience tour of the Titanic Museum in Belfast, all 1.5 – 2.5 hours. For the Discover Tour, all 1 hour.

What are the best hotels near Titanic Belfast?

You’ve the Titanic Hotel itself, which couldn’t be any closer, and you also have the Premier Inn (the one in the Titanic Quarter) and you have the Bullitt Hotel and more across the water.

Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.

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