Saturday, 3 June 2017

SS Great Britain - Step Aboard and Back in Time

SS Great Britain Flags and Chimneys
The SS Great Britain has always been one of our favourite Bristol attractions. What I love about it, is that it is perfect for all weathers. The deck is gorgeous in the summer sun, but if it rains, there is plenty to see undercover. We haven't been for a while now, though and I had wondered if it would still appeal to L now that he is older. We took Phil along this time, too, and he hadn't been since he was at school. What I noticed was that, we all got something different out of it and there was something for everyone. We were lucky with the weather this time, it was really warm and sunny, although it did make the Dry Dock a bit humid, it was like the tropical house at the zoo! I suppose all that glass will do that...

SS Great Britain Pistons
Built in 1843, by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, SS Great Britain was considered to be one of the most important historic ships in the world. Combining a huge 1000 hp engine with the latest in propeller technology, she was a revolution of her time. A ship so innovative, her creation changed maritime history. So well crafted was she, that she continued as a working vessel until 1933. It wasn't until 1970 that a rescue mission brought her 8,000 miles home to Bristol. L is particularly interested in the engineering aspects of the ship and really enjoys going down to the engine room, where you can see the huge pistons and cogs that ran the ship. It's here that you get a sense of just how enormous the ship is. Never before had a ship so large been built and never had anyone had the vision to build it of iron. If engineering is your thing, you can also visit the Dry Dock, where you can get up close and personal with the underneath of the ship, including the impressively gigantic propeller and rudder. 

What I love most about the ship is reliving life on board. It's fascinating to see all the different artefacts and items which were used by those aboard at the time. Thanks to the painstakingly accurate restoration of the inside of the vessel, you can really feel what it must have been like to have lived on board. There's a very clear class divide too, which makes for an entirely diffferent educational aspect for children. My favourite room is the dining room. 

SS Great Britain Dining Table

This corridor uses light wells with mirrors, in order to create such a bright room. There is so much to discover as you walk around, lots of little inventions and ideas that made the sailing as comfortable as possible and, considering the time period, it really is astonishing to see what they came up with. 

SS Great Britain Hallway

This was what Phil appreciated most about the trip, all the little details that were waiting to be dicovered. It was all brought to life so vividly too, with the realistic models representing travellers on the ship. You could see all the different professions that would have been on board, as well as the different types of passengers. too. The boys couldn't help getting in on one of the more gruesome scenes!

SS Great Britain Waxworks

I really think that the SS Great Britain has something to offer everyone, of all ages and interests. It would be great for siblings with a large age gap, or grandparents who want somewhere to take the grandchildren in the hollidays and everytime you go, you discover something new. There are regular events and activities, particularly for children, so check out the website to find out what's on. Also, don't forget that once you buy your ticket it's valid for a whole year, so you don't have to worry about not seeing everything the first time around!

Isambard Kingdom Brunel with Child Impersonator!

A review of the SS Great Britain, Bristol's top tourist attraction.


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