BRITAIN’s top 10 ships

Fifty years since the Queen Elizabeth completed its final voyage, we take a look at 10 of the best British ships…British naval history is marked by the great ships that led our explorers to continents new and our forces into battle.

Britain magazine

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 is the flagship ocean liner from the Cunard Cruise Line. She was launched in March 2003 and is known as the longest, largest, and most expensive passenger liner in history. The ship operates luxury passenger cruises around the world.

Find out more about Queen Mary 2 on her website.

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain, Bristol, England
The SS Great Britain was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. It was designed by the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. She was launched in 1843 as the largest ship in the world at the time.

Discover more on the SS Great Britain website.

HMS Victory
HMS Victory is the oldest commissioned warship in the world. It was Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship and it was on the ship that Admiral Lord Nelson died fighting the Battle of Trafalgar. The ship was launched in 1765 and now calls the harbour of Portsmouth home.

Read historic stories of the sea on the HMS Victory website.

Cutty Sark, London
The Cutty Sark was launched in 1869 on the River Leven. The ship visited every major port across the world in her working life. She was used for tea, wool and other cargo in her voyages around the world and is now found in Greenwich, London.

Find out what’s on at the Cutty Sark by visiting their website.

Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh, Scotland
Britannia, the Royal Yacht, was launch in 1953 and served the royal family for over 44 years. This royal residence was used to travel to official receptions, state visits and family holidays. The ship is now berthed at Leith in Edinburgh and is open to the public.

Find out about the Britannia experience on the Royal Yacht Britannia website.

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast was launched on St Patrick’s Day in 1938 by Anne Chamberlain and was soon after commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1939. She was the largest and most powerful ship in the Royal Navy and played a crucial role  in the Second World War. She is reported to have fired one of the first shots on D-Day itself. She is now berthed on the River Thames and is managed by the Imperial War Museums.

Learn more about HMS Belfast here.

Mary Rose

The Mary Rose is a traditional Tudor ship that was built in Portsmouth in 1510. After 34 years of service as Henry VIII’s flagship, she sank in 1545 after a battle with a French invasion. She was only discovered in 1971 and in 1982 she was raised from the seabed. The ship is now housed in the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Plan your trip to the Mary Rose Museum here.

RSS Discovery, Dundee

The last wooden three-masted ship to be built in Britain. Launched in 1901, and designed for Antarctic research. Her first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, carrying Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their first, successful journey to the Antarctic, known as the Discovery Expedition.

Find out more about the RSS Discovery here.

HMS Beagle

Launched in 1820, HMS Beagle was first used in a fleet to celebrate the coronation of King George IV. She was they used later in her lifetime on Charles Darwin’s voyage to South America. The voyage helped Darwin build the foundations for some of his great works.

Golden Hind

This 16th century galleon was launched in 1577 is today best known for its travels around the world with Sir Francis Drake. He circumvented the ship around Asia, America and Europe from 1577-80. She is now located on the Bankside in London.

Discover more about the Golden Hind on its website.

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