For those intrigued by the Titanic there are several Titanic attractions you can visit, some free and others more expensive. If you are in the city the first place relating to the Titanic is the Thane Memorial at City Hall, this is free to visit and contains the names of all those who perished on the ship. The sculpture by Sir Thomas Brock is a real tribute to the artist and those who lost their lives. A beautiful piece of work which is one of the must see Titanic attractions.
Another is close to the Odyssey Stadium which is across the river on Queens Island or Titanic Quarter as it is now being marketed. This is the Hamilton Dock and Abercorn Basin, this existed at the time of Titanic and today the SS Nomadic is in the same dock that she left over one hundred years ago. This ship is a priceless and authentic piece of Titanic heritage as it tendered the Titanic at Cherbourg and was built here in Belfast for that purpose. You can see the ship for free walking by or for an inclusive price of £8.50 visit both the ship and the Thompson Dock and Pumphouse, a good value ticket (parking is additional). The Hamilton Dock is a gem and dates back to 1864.
One tip if your going to Queens Island (Titanic Quarter) walking will save you money, although there are acres of derelict and empty ground, there is no free parking and an oppressive regime of clamping and parking warnings everywhere you look. Parking cost £1.50 per hour. They do visitors no favours here.
The next attraction is the slipways which again are authentic connections to the Olympic class liners, these are now part of the area behind the new Titanic Centre. The new gigantic building houses the story of Titanic in nine interactive galleries. The cost for an adult to visit is £14.01 if bought on the internet. Allow another £3.00 if you are coming by car, two hours will give you enough time to visit the galleries and enjoy the slipways. If you are walking and do not wish to go inside the building, you can walk around the slipways free of charge.
Beside the new centre are the original drawing rooms and offices of the company where all those who where involved with the Titanic had their personal offices, it was also the location for the Admiralty Drawing Office. Unfortunately these are still not open to the public nor renovated back to their former glory. Many local people believe that these classic buildings and the drawing offices should have been the site of the Titanic story rather than the £90 million building.
The next part of the story can be found at the bottom of Queens Island at the Thomspon Dock and Pumphouse. The dock has undergone a major renovation and is now open to the public. This is where the great ship was fitted out. The cost to visit here and the SS Nomadic is £8.50 per adult. Both have interpretation relating to the Titanic.
Of all the Titanic attraction for me this is one you should not miss along with the slipways and Nomadic. Here you walk in the same space where the ship was fitted out before leaving Belfast, down inside the dock which is very impressive.On the way down to the Thompson Dock you will pass HMS Caroline which you can also see from the Pumphouse. Money has now been secured to renovate this classic piece of naval heritage and bring it back into the public realm as another visitor attraction.
Again if your going to visit all the attractions on Queens Island allow yourself a good four hours or so, including time for a cup of tea. By car allow £.6.00 for parking and your entrance fees to the two paying locations. If your walking,bring a picnic and enjoy the day. Although not at Belfast, another major Titanic attraction will be created in 2016 when the replica Titanic II embarks on its maiden voyage following the route of the original ship. The replica which was muted as a potential project for Belfast instead of the Titanic Centre but rejected as being not technically possible. is being built by the Australian billionaire Clive Palmer.
The ship will be identical to the original with the addition of modern navigation and engine systems. It will operate as a cruise ship on the same route across the Atlantic as the Titanic. The chances of it coming to Belfast has been ruled out by Palmer who stated that Belfast was not the home port of the original Titanic only the location where it was built. The replica will sail under Clive Palmer's Blue Star Line and will certainly drawn worldwide interest when it sails from Southampton in 2016.