xmlns:b='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/b' xmlns:data='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/data' xmlns:expr='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/expr' Bristol Bits: SS Great Britain Review | The Parent Game

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Bristol Bits: SS Great Britain Review


I love the Harbourside in Bristol, because there are so many different places to visit. Previously, we have reviewed; Bristol Aquarium, At-Bristol and M-Shed, which are all within a few minutes walk, or a short ferry ride of each other and provide various options for all-weather entertainment. Our recent visits have all been thanks to Visit Bristol, the go-to site for finding out what's great to do in our fair city, who provided us with a media pass for a few weeks. Today we are reviewing the SS Great Britain, a true icon of Bristol and a magnificent ship. It's a great place to choose when the weather is not at its best, as a surprising amount of it is below decks. 



We arrived mid-afternoon, as we had other plans in the morning. This is not something I would recommend if you are paying, as it isn't cheap and you want to allow yourself time to have a good look round, as there's a lot to see. However, it did make for a completely different experience to when we last went a few years ago. As it was a school day (inset for us), and later in the day, there was hardly anyone there, particularly by the time we visited the bottom layer of the ship, where all the staff quarters are. The atmosphere was incredible. There were models of people who would have lived on the ships and mock-ups of what the cabins would have looked like. These details, coupled with the accompanying noises of waves, animals, etc, made it feel like you were really there at the time. 

SS Great Britain Wax Works
The Models add Realism

Another aspect that really appealed to Luke was being able to get close up to the underside of the ship. It really is huge and it's amazing to go right up to it and check out the enormous rudder and hull. Above, there is glass covered in water, to really make you feel like you are underneath the sea. Seeing the iron hull up close really emphasises what an incredible feat of engineering it was for its time and how much history is contained within. 

SS Great Britain Hull
SS Great Britain Hull and Rudder

There is so much to see, it's hard to fit it into one blog post, I haven't even mentioned the kitchens, with the sounds of rats (shudder!), or the animal pens and cargo store. On deck, there are all the accoutrements you would expect to find on a working ship, including; rigging, ship's wheel, livestock, and, of course, deck hands! The delightful staff showed Luke how to make the right knot to secure the ship and then he had a go at Quiots, which he was surprisingly good at! 

SS Great Britain Deck
The Deck of the SS Great Britain













We stayed until closing and could happily have stayed longer. SS Great Britain is wealth worth a visit if you have inquisitive children, who like to do more than just look at artefacts from a distance. As well as being thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining, this a very educational place to bring children too, althought hey probably won't realise it! A lot of schools cover Isambard Kingdom Brunel as part of the syllabus, or even Victorian life in general and this is a great way to get a feel for life during those times and see what Brunel created. You can even see what he looked like, thanks to a model waiting to be discovered inside. This is a terrible photo. I had no control over the quality, since I am in it! 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel Waxwork
Isambard Kingdom Brunel




























After you have finshed looking around the ship, if you've got any energy left, there is a museum, cafe (lovely macaroons!) and gift shop, and even the walkways are decorated to reflect the time the ship was launched. Your ticket entitles you to unlimited return visits for a year from purchase, so you needn't worry if you can't squeeze everything in on the same day. 

SS Great Britain Surroundings
The Area around the SS Great Britain ; Full of Authenticity

Read about another Bristol area attraction here; When Wookey Hole Went Wrong



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18 comments

  1. I have always wanted to the SS Great Britain. It looks fab and steeped in history.
    When I used to work at the Orient-Express, one of our journeys included an excision to the SS.
    Hopefully when I come to Bristol you and Luke can give me and the boys a tour. x

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    1. That would be brilliant, the boys would love it and it's sneakily educational!

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  2. That looks like a really interesting day out, if I ever head to Bristol I will be sure to take my boys :) thank you x

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  3. I visited the SS Great Britain over ten years ago now - well before kids - and absolutely loved it. I think it's a highlight of Bristol for me. There's so much national and local history tied up in this one ship. I also enjoyed seeing the ship's hull. It's the only way to really comprehend the size of it. You're review has made me want to return for another look! #TriedTested

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    1. There is so much to do that is close to it too! Even the ferry ride was exciting!

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  4. We visited here in August and it was really interesting. Did you have a sail on the matthew too

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    1. We couldn't, sadly, it was closed for renovations. :-( So we will have to go back for a return visit! :-D

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  5. We had great fun at Portsmouth last summer, so this looks equally fun! Will have to try and make it to Bristol when we are over...

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    1. There is lots to do there, you'll be amused for ages, and some of it's free!

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  6. This sounds wonderful,we are visiting friends in Surrey and we've booked to come to Bristol for a couple of nights,we came before when the Banksy exhibition was on and we never thought to book so after seeing the queues which appeared to be a mile long missed it !.We still had a great time,spotting Banksy on walls.We also went to the Zoo and I was very impressed,we live near Edinburgh and Bristol Zoo really is so much better.Thank you for the review and this really is one to visit x

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    1. My favourite Banksy is 'The Mild, Mild West'. It's the one with the teddy bear, I hope you got to see it!

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  7. I love it when historical places have such good mock ups of how people lived, it really brings the place to life. If ever I'm in Bristol I'll certainly be visiting, it looks fascinating.

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    1. It's very atmospheric, I have to say!

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  8. I remember visiting this with my mum and dad when I was small. I would love to visit with my boys at some point. We need a holiday closer!

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  9. It looks like a really interesting day out!
    Thanks for sharing your review on #TriedTested this week :)

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  10. We love popping down to the SS Great Britain as F loves pretendng he's a pirate and we all have to get into character. Sounds like a super day out. x

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  11. Oh what great fun, sounds like you had a brilliant time. Our daughter would love to have a look around the SS Great Britain, wish it was a smidge closer :)

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