Recommended Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    9/8/2014

    After another long walk away from the Clifton suspension bridge (we cursed ourselves with the famous phrase "it don't look that far!" Haha)
    We arrived back at Bristol harbour after a long but nice walk along the river.
    Like I said in a earlier review Isambard Kingdom Brunel is my favourite history figure so coming to this place was like my Graceland!
    It's pretty hard not to notice this huge ship as you walk up to the harbour huge masts sticking up above the buildings. I would class the pricing as reasonable (I have added a picture of the prices)
    Your ticket is a actually replica ticket of the ship when it was in service, I have no doubt I would of been only able to afford steerage back 160 years ago but you can't help but imagine you was some rich well to do person off to Oz in the search for land haha.
    The whole surround area of the ship has been made to look like it was back in the day which added to the fun for me.
    The first stop the guide advises you to take is the under water section (it's actually a glass ceiling with about a inch of water on top but it looks class all the same)
    Underneath the glass is baking hot because of the sun shinning right through and the hot air heaters on to keep the bottom of the ship from rusting quicker.
    To think the ship is 160 years old they have done an amazing job since 1970 to restore it and keep it in top shape to date.
    Then onto the museum before entering the top deck of the ship. The fun added bonus of the ticket it has spaces for 4 stamps that you put on the ticket as you pass through the different ages of the ship ( I think it's aimed for the children on the tour but I got all four haha)
    The museum shows you the different stages of the ships time at sea and in service.
    The most enjoyable part of the museum was the photo gallery because you get to dress up in all matter of clothes and take pictures to upload to Facebook on behalf of the museum.
    After the tour of the museum you enter the top deck of the ship and what a ship it is ( it's 262 feet) they have done a fab job restoring it to it's former glory.
    We spent about 2 hours all in all walking around the museum and looking around the ship and the time flew by!. Nearly every area of the ships lower deck are open and free to look around.
    The first class cabins were the first stop with all the decor set out all lavish and epic with the grand dinning room underneath that (they do wedding receptions on there)
    Steerage was at the front of the ship a deck above where they stored the horses (so god knows what the smell was like lol) it's hard to imagine how people spent a month on there all squeezed in such a small place.
    The toilets seem to get the most giggles out of most of the visitors because one seems locked and when you go to open it a voice comes out from behind the door telling you to go away!
    All in over a lovely place to look around and you wouldn't be bored if you visited it a number of times, when you purchase your ticket they inform you, you can come back as many times as you like for a whole year! ( value for money at it's best)

  • 5.0 star rating
    22/5/2014
    2 check-ins

    If you are in Bristol you should visit this place. Its really excellent and decent value for money as well.

    It also caters to everyone from old folks ( my mum and dad loved it ), to youngsters alike. A great bit of history.

    Basically the SS Great Britain was dragged back from the Falkland Islands, put in dry dock and restored as well as possible. Inside is full of cabins and rooms you can explore with lots of posed dummys / props. Really really good. On the top you can climb the mast for an extra fee or gaze over Bristol Harbour which is a great place in the sun.

    Next to the ship is a museum with lost of things for people to read and lots of things for kids and adults alike to play with.

    Probably one of my top places to visit in England.

    Bristol itself is a great city to visit as well! So arrange a trip!

  • 4.0 star rating
    13/5/2014

    Admittedly visiting the S.S Great Britain wasn't high on my list of things to do. But I'm glad I did. It give an insightful and hands on experience on what it wold have been like to sail/steam around the world. Walking around the hull of the ship was interesting but hot, something to do with the conservation of the metal means it is kept at a constant temperature. The sun shining through the glass didn't help either.

    I thought entrance was a bit steep at  £13 but considering it gives you unlimited entry throughout the year it is not a bad deal, if you live in Bristol. If not bad luck. AN interesting look at England's maritime history. Just have to go back to make the most of the admission price.

  • 5.0 star rating
    14/4/2014
    1 check-in
    Listed in Bristol

    Excellent museum and steam ship to visit.

    It's in an amazing setting too, on the Avon in the heart of Bristol. But dry docked which means you can walk around outside the hull of the ship. This is a very cool aspect of the attraction. Or hot as the case may be - the hull has hot air blown onto it as part of the conservation of the hull, so it's very warm down there indeed.

    Inside the ship, on the different decks they have restored, the attention to detail fantastic. I think it really gives you an good idea of what it was like on board... but probably not as clean as it is now perhaps.

    The admission is a little pricey at 13.50 GBP, but the ticket is valid for a whole year. Which is good if you live in the general vicinity. I do think its a tad cheeky to have donation boxes around the place when they charge this much. But sure if you have the spare cash and what they have done with the place, you may as well throw a few more coins their way.

    Highly recommended if you find yourself in Bristol.

  • 4.0 star rating
    17/12/2009

    The historical and legendary SS Great Britain is more then 'just a boat'. Every exhibit is interactive and there are constantly actors recreating what life was like on board. A little naff, but very interesting I thought.

    The cost of a ticket is £10 per adult but that's for a whole year. So in theory you could come 365 times. That maybe unrealistic but if you come 3 maybe 4 times that's suddenly a very affordable day out. They also do corporate hire for Business meetings, events even weddings (I'm actually going to a wedding here in a couple of weeks, so may repost with my thoughts.

    There are only two down sides to 'the ship'. The first is the disabled access. It's okay for the most part,  but for certain bits (ie going below deck to the boiler room) it isn't the most user friendly, but then again, I'm sure this wasn't an issue back in the day). The restaurant is also very expensive, I recommend you go to one of the local pubs or cafes for your post ship food and drinks

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/5/2010

    The Great Britain stands out in the harbour with a majestic dominance. My Mum dragged my little brother and I around it when i was very little and i remember getting very excited about seeing a museum on a boat. Things haven't changed much since, i went round it with my girlfriend last year and it was exactly that which got me on board.

    The boat is tiny part of Bristol's history as one of the  busiest ports in the Country, but its mantle in the harbour has cemented it as something so much more. I did get a little taken aback buy the price, however i would say that it is worth it.

  • 5.0 star rating
    25/5/2010

    For Bristol residents, the historic SS Great Britain needs little introduction - but for visitors to the city it's one of the top tourist attractions.

    This great steam ship was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel to operate on a route between Bristol and New York - although that plan never came to fruition. Instead, it transported immigrants to Australia, and today the museum on board tells this story through its exhibits and life-sized wax models of the Victorian passengers and crew that would have been on board.

    It depicts the glamour of the First Class areas for wealthier passengers, right through to the cramped quarters of those with shallower pockets - as well as areas in which the crew would have worked, such as the kitchens.

    The replica people are what brings the place alive, I think, although they seem to scare some of the younger visitors! You won't believe how small the cabins are, or the beds - showing how much smaller the average person must have been at that time. One amusing feature on board that particularly sticks in my mind is a tiny toilet cubicle, where if you try the handle, the door remains locked and an indignant voice calls out that the toilet is in use!

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/7/2009

    One of the top attractions in Bristol, and deservedly so, the SS Great Britain is regarded by many as the first modern ship: an iron-hulled screw-propeller steamship, with an engine which developed a then massive 1,000 horse-power, she set the standard for others to follow.

    History & description

    Launched in 1843, she was part of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's concept that one could buy a ticket in Paddington, get a Great Western Railway train to Bristol, and then a Great Western steamship to the USA. The ship was, for the time, so large (at 322ft, over 100ft longer than anything else afloat) that a special dock had to be built first in order to construct her - this is the Great Western Dock in which she now sits. The lock gates also had to be temporarily enlarged to get her out for refitting in London.

    Immediately successful, she made the then fastest ever crossing of the Atlantic (14 days), but unfortunately ran aground in Northern Ireland in 1846 after a navigational error, and remained there for a year - effectively bankrupting the company.

    She was then sold and worked on the Australia route both carrying goods and taking emigrants to their new life, and it estimated that a million people in Australia are descended from those she carried. She also acted as a troopship for the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny.

    In 1884, she was damaged in the south Atlantic, and was taken to the Falklands and sold for use
    as a warehouse and coal hulk, until scuttled in 1937. It is estimated she had sailed more than a million miles.

    There she remained until an ambitious project was launched to return her to Bristol and restore her as a museum and exhibition. Taken from the Falklands to the mouth of the River Avon by barge, she was patched up to sail the last 3 miles 'home' - albeit with pumps working furiously to keep her afloat! This was also the first time she sailed under Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge - when she left in 1843, the bridge had not been built.

    Restoration thereafter was a slow and painstaking business, due to limited funds. A major Millennium Grant in 2000 speeded up the work, with her interiors restored to what they would looked like at her launch.

    Due to corrosion, however, it was found necessary to compartmentalise the area around the hull and install dehumidifiers to prevent further damage. This was put to the museum's benefit, however, by installing an artificial 'water line' of plastic covered by a thin layer or real water, allowing visitors to inspect both above and below the hull. The museum has since won handfuls of awards.

    Practicalities

    The museum today provides guided tours of the ship, where visitors can see everything from the spacious First Class Dining room, to the steerage-class passenger accommodation and engine rooms.

    The presentation focuses as much on the social history as the engineering achievement, and the museum has a huge and important collection of maritime artefacts. It is also beautifully pitched to appeal to all ages. As well as a museum, it has been used for receptions and wedding parties.

    The museum has one of the best accessibility programmes of any I have visited, and they have worked hard to overcome the limitations of the ship - see website for details.

    Overall, a great day out for all the family.

  • 5.0 star rating
    13/10/2009

    A piece of Bristol's history, this steam ship built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel was intended to ply the route between Bristol and New York. Although that never quite happened she was employed in taking immigrants to Australia. These days the boat sits in Bristol's dry dock as a museum ship.

    If you want to get young people interested in a bit of history putting it on a boat is one way to go about it. I won't say things 'come alive' here, but it certainly does make the history surrounding the boat a bit more real to actually be on it. A thirty pound family ticket is a bit dear, especially when Bristol's city museum and art gallery is free, but I wouldn't say this attractions overpriced. Also, you get re-entry for a year with your ticket.

    Don't worry, boat doesn't rock! It's not even actually in any water. They do events which seem to involve kids dressing up as pirates, so that's all good. A great day out where you can experience and learn a bit about Bristol's maritime history.

  • 4.0 star rating
    22/10/2009

    One of the city's landmarks alongside the Clifton Suspension Bridge, this consistently wins Museum of the Year and Attraction of the Year nationwide. As well as giving a history of Bristol and the British shipping industry, you may stumble upon one of the ships many ghosts...

    Opening times are until 4pm November-January, until 5.30pm April-October and until 4.30 the rest of the time. Tickets are sold up to an hour before closing. Tickets are expensive at £11 a pop, but you get free re-admission for a year which makes it a great place for us to bring visiting friends and family! I recommend getting the audio guide, it is free and in several languages which will add a bit more flavour to your tour.

    • Qype User pubkin…
    • Bristol
    • 38 friends
    • 53 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    23/9/2008

    A fantastic attraction for all the family, this and the Zoo are the two best attractions in Bristol in my view.

    More then 'just a boat' every exhibit within is interactive and there are constantly actors recreating what life was like on board. If you're lucky you may even get to meet Mr Brunel himself.

    The cost of a ticket is £10 per adult but that's for a whole year. So in theory you could come 365 times. That maybe unrealistic bu if you come 3 maybe 4 times that's suddenly a very affordable day out.

    They've thought of everything here, not only can you buy cuddly ships cat in the gift shop you can also get cuddly rats (which are all to realistic and I'm told are their best seller).

    They also do corporate hire for Business meetings, events even weddings.

    There are only two down sides to 'the ship'. The first is the disabled access, it'svery good for the most part but for certain bits ie going below deck to the boiler room it's just not possible. Also the restaurant is very expensive, I recommend you go to one of the local oubs or cafes for post ship food and drinks

    A good place to come any time of the year for 1 to 100 year olds.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/11/2008
    First to Review

    There's a lot more to this exhibition than you might think before you go in. The ship itself is absolutely vast- having looked at the outside of it, it is a big ship, but I still couldn't believe how many levels and rooms they managed to fit into the ship. You can walk, in any order you like, around the engine rooms, around the first and second class cabins, along the deck, and 'under water' around the hull of the ship.

    When you're inside the ship itself, you really get a sense of what it would've been like to be a passenger. They've added waxwork models, lots of foods, various 'scenes' such as the dentist and the butcher, and lots of personal effects in each cabin. The result is really evocative.

    Walking round the hull, you get the science part- how the ship was revolutionary for its time, and how it was rescued and is now preserved, and why it will never sail again.

    Then in the adjacent shed you get the history part- when the ship was built, what it was used for, the strange and varied uses that it had during its sailing lifetime.

    There's the obligatory tearoom and shop, which are nothing special (for food, try one of the other cafes down the road, some of which are excellent).

    Overall, it's really comprehensive, and lovingly put together. The initial entry fee seems a tiny bit steep at first, but it does give you 12 months of return visiting for free.

    • Qype User rossan…
    • Bristol
    • 29 friends
    • 120 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    20/11/2007

    The SS Great Britain is a steam powered ocean ship that was designed by Brunel (you've got to love the man!), and built in 1843. It has great access for those who need wheelchairs, and perfect for all the family. Personally I found the museum a bit boring (which I think anyone would who doesn't have a particular interest in the history of boats), so I only looked at the kiddie sections, which I found much more interesting and easier to take in. However, there are some wonderful old accounts and diaries of people who had been on the ship which were definitely worth seeing.

    Although the ship looks as though it's afloat, it's actually held up by huge railings, with a sheet of glass covered in an inch of water (pretending to be the river) halfway up. You can walk under this glass and have a look at the hull etc. Make sure to pick up your headset; they have one for each class of passenger that sailed, to give you a feel of what it was like, including some personal accounts.

    The wonderful thing about the SS Great Britain is that you can walk around at your leisure. The headsets automatically start telling you about the section that you're in (the lower class quarters and the kitchen are especially interesting, because they've been made up to look as if they've only just been left a few minutes ago by the occupants).

    Tip: get a boat there from the fountains (the ones next to the hippodrome) for a nice introduction and the start to a perfect day out.

    • Qype User je…
    • Bristol
    • 1 friend
    • 15 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    23/11/2007

    I really enjoyed my afternoon looking around the SS Great Britain, my 2 kids did as well (13, & 3) as there are activities around the museum for the children to be involved in (ie, trying on different hats of people who were likely to be on the ship in that era, turning wheels to see the ship turn, ringing the ships bell, etc. etc) the ship itself was also good for the children as it is set up inside as if life were still being lived on the ship, cows that moo, rooms that smell (my 13 year old thought it was great that the ship's doctors room smellt of sick!) these are just some examples. In all it took about 2 hours to go round the ship and the museum - we didnt listen to the information handsets but got plenty of information from boards and there are also guides dotted about the ship who volunteered information and payed particular attention to the children.

    There are toilets but nowhere to buy a drink.

    Definately recommend it and the entrance fee is well worth the money as you can go back as many times as you like for free for the next 12 months. I have already taken the 3 year old back again and she loved it just as much the second time.

    • Qype User Mirza9…
    • London
    • 4 friends
    • 47 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    16/11/2008

    This is a beautiful historic ship, sympathetically restored. You can go beneath a glass sea to see the body of the ship. On the ship itself, there are three decks to explore, including the engines, the dining room, the promenade deck, first class passenger cabins, steerage, and much more. There's a choice of 4 audio guides which tell you about each part of the ship as you come close to it (rather than a guided tour in a set order).
    The museum beside it tells you about the ship's revolutionary design and its very long history - and of course, its designer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
    Everything is very accessible for the disabled, and there is plenty for both adults and children to enjoy.

    • Qype User Paulve…
    • Bristol
    • 2 friends
    • 67 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    15/11/2008

    The SS Great Britain was another engineering triumph by Brunel, incorporating the worlds first screw propeller and a hull made of iron, which later led to shipbuilders all over the globe to follow suit. It's a beautiful ship and a hugely iconic part of Bristol. When getting the bus to school in the early days this is something I would always pass and with a little bit of interest at the sheer size of it.

    The history of the ship is fascinating, and the information on board regarding the passengers it ferried over a hundred years ago as far as the Falklands, and how it broke every speed record on its first voyage.

    It's a great piece of history to learn about and a perfect location to explore the rest of the dockside on. Its also a brisk stroll from Brunels Buttery, which will cater for all your bacon yearning needs.

    • Qype User george…
    • Clevedon, North Somerset
    • 1 friend
    • 44 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    18/9/2012

    Just over £12 entry fee and well worth it.Beautifully restored, exploring the lower decks give you a real feeling of how it must have been to sail on this amazing ship.
    Very very informative, original BBC footage of the ships return to Bristol in 1970 can be viewed, lots of original artifacts from the ship, diary's, ticket stubs, even a 100 year old biscuit.
    Highly recommended.

    • Qype User nikkih…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 6 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    28/11/2007

    My initial reaction to being told we were going on the SS Great Britain was "Oh great another boat!" I'm not a big history fan and my idea past-time is not wandering round an age old cruise liner that has been docked for years.
    But I was pleasantly suprised. Apart from the fact that it wasn't really practical to push the buggy around the boat, even though they claim to accomodate for the disabled, it was interesting. You could browse at your own pleasure with commentry of what you were seeing if you wanted it through the headphones, and the occasional member of staff dressed as a crew member or passanger to give an insight into life on the boat.
    Nothing was too complicated for my 7 year old brother to understand and it was interesting enough to keep my 1 year old son amused.
    Great price as well considering you can go back when you want within a year once you've paid once.

  • 4.0 star rating
    8/11/2009

    The Steam Ship Great Britain can be found on the opposite side of the river to the centre, about a ten to fifteen minute walk from the floating harbour. Once a fully functioning Naval ship, this is now a popular tourist attraction, offering a maritime museum and cafe. The ship is also available to hire - sadly you won't be going anywhere during your function - but instead it boasts a beautiful dining room and bar. Watch out for the creepy life sized wax figures - these combined with tailored menus and waistcoated waiters give the venue a rather Titanic-esque feel. But don't worry, this ship cannot sink...

    • Qype User yetaot…
    • Bristol
    • 4 friends
    • 75 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/11/2008

    This is a great day out for the kids. The SS Great Britain really is one of the Bristol icons. If you live here you need to see it at least once. The prices seem a little high, but it' worth the money.

    • Qype User lisa2…
    • Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset
    • 32 friends
    • 41 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    22/9/2008

    great facts and history. Fun for all the family and also very eductional. good for the kids and also good help with history for school. i love this place it is really eductional

    • Qype User kirkea…
    • Bristol
    • 11 friends
    • 69 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    14/11/2008

    A great place to visit with the kids, as its provides a back story into the history of bristol. The museum is amazing to look around in. Definitely don't want to miss this.

    • Qype User ruthie…
    • Criccieth, Gwynedd
    • 2 friends
    • 92 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    18/1/2009

    We had a really good morning out here during our honeymoon. My husband had seen the ship just after it arrived back in the UK years ago, and was quite emotional about seeing it again. The interpretation is really interesting and we strongly recommned the audio guides, we choose different ones so that we could share the information. The cafe was quite pricey but good quality.

    • Qype User comsec…
    • Bristol
    • 2 friends
    • 4 reviews
    1.0 star rating
    16/4/2009

    This Heritage Centre has been closed since 2006. Most of the stuff within this has moved to the SS Great Britain exhibit along side this centre.

    • Qype User JenJe…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 40 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    27/11/2007

    My 82yr old engineer dad suggested we visited this historical boat and it turned out to be a fascinating and enjoyable afternoon. A lovely ride from the floating harbour on the Bristol Ferry to us to the SS and then a rightly timed half hour talk and tour took us around the various floors and rooms of the ship. Set out in the style of the day it was sea bound the ship gives an experiential opportunity to feel the life of its travellers.

    • Qype User a_l_bl…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 4 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    24/11/2008

    Much more interesting that I had expected it to be the SS Great Britain was really informative and good fun.

    Not only do you get a rundown of all the different guises that the ship had when it was in operation but you also get to see exactly what it would have looked like inside.

    There is information on how the boat was rescued from the Faulkland islands and restored, and a good piece of footage of the last leg of its journey into Bristol along the river.

    The ticket you buy is valid for a year so you can always go back again if you're a bit overwhelmed by information the first time.

    • Qype User andybr…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 8 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    14/4/2011

    I think this museum is currently closed which is a pity as there are lots of hands-on exibits inside.

    The correct website for the SS Great Britain is ssgreatbritain.org/home

    The best way to reach the site using public transport is by the Open Top bus or Ferry.

    • Qype User Passou…
    • Bristol
    • 0 friends
    • 24 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    16/4/2012

    My son went with the school and came home with a golden ticket which allowed us to get in for free for family of 4
    Which was brillant as it saved us money!!
    Since my older son already had been he was able to tell as we were going around ( kinda like my own tour guild)
    Which he loved doing and tbh I was Bristol. Born and bread but never been I found it interesting and would go again.
    Even the shop was reasonable price
    Well worth a viste x x

    • Qype User pinksn…
    • Dublin, Republic of Ireland
    • 2 friends
    • 150 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    21/10/2012

    When I paid to enter did think it was a bit steep, but as I went round with my family I totally changed my mind, so much to see, do and smell. Video footage of the rescue of the boat from the faulklands was good, and all the interactive things are brilliant. I would recommend the attraction to anyone, young or old. The butcher, baker and dr office all have great smells to accompany them, the lady being sea sick is terrible very realistic. You can return as many times as you like Ruthin a year for free on the same ticket. Only wish I lived nearer.

    • Qype User sheepp…
    • Bristol
    • 8 friends
    • 34 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    2/10/2008

    One of Britain's best 'museums'. Centrally located in Bristol. Lots of history and fun activities for children. Beautifully restored, an important part of Bristol's and Britain's history. Good access and parking.

    • Qype User Marmy…
    • Somerton, Newport
    • 5 friends
    • 56 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    26/2/2009

    I can't believe that no one had put a photo on here of this ship before I did. This is a brilliant place to visit and there are lots of interesting pictures to be had. I only really take snaps, but surely anyway with a real interest in photography should be down to the docks to visit this beautiful and amazing site. We paid £10.95 each as adults and that allows us to visit as many times as we like within a year. There are all sorts of events that happen over the year, so it will be well worth visiting again. This was the first time I visited the SS Great Britain despite living with in 30 miles of it all my life. I really want to visit again soon. Beware of the lift down to the dry dock, it is possibly the slowest lift I have ever been on, and you need to keep hold of the button all the way up and down. To be fair, it is meant for disabled people, but the stairs were so busy that really I couldnt be fagged to use them. There is a museum through which you enter the ship, but I was desperate to get aboard, so it will have to wait til next time.

    The Ship itself has very little in the way of writen interpretation, but there is an audio tour available. Part of the ship was being used for a wedding so we did't get to stay in those for too long. Small vignettes of life aboard the ship are played out with glimpses into the cabins, hence the captain arguing with his officer, the monkey on a bunk bed, and a woman giving birth.

    • Qype User budn…
    • Bristol
    • 2 friends
    • 7 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    8/3/2011

    great ship with massive history , well worth the visit , it really looks the nuts now in most of its old glory

    • Qype User christ…
    • Bristol
    • 1 friend
    • 3 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    26/4/2012

    Really great attraction to visit, restored fantastically. Perhaps not the type of thing you'd go back to again and again but you have to visit it at some point, steeped in history. Bit pricey to get in though! Young and old will enjoy visiting this great old ship

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