A few weeks back we were kindly invited to attend a blogging event on the SS Great Britain in Bristol. Needing very little excuse to explore one of our favourite cities which is only an hour away from us we were looking forward to a mini day trip across the border.
Having studied in Bristol it's a place I love going back too and there is still so much I want to see and discover about the city as I always had to commute back to Cardiff after each seminar and therefore was always left wanting more. Spike Island and the harbour has been a place I have visited briefly before having gone to an event at the MShed last year and it's a real hub of creativity with a fantastic atmosphere and loads of places to see, eat and enjoy.
Our first stop for the day was Brunel's SS Great Britain, which stands impressively in a dry dock next to the harbour and immediately captures your imagination, especially those of children. You are handed a Passenger ticket which allows you return visits to the ship free for a year. The ticket also has a fun little section to collect stamps as your learn about the history of the ship inside the Dockside Museum.
After getting up close and personal with the underside of the ship we headed back to ground level and headed into the Dockside museum which offers a lot of interactive displays and a dressing up section which my eldest loved.
Once you leave the Museum you get to walk the plank - well not really it's actually a bridge that connects you to the SS Great Britain, but my son found this very exciting as he was very keen to get "on board". On the main deck there are mops ad brushes for kids can have a go at sweeping the deck and being a deckhand as well as lots of animals to spot such as chickens and cows.
If you have a good head for heights you can also try out the "aloft" experience where you climb the rigging for what is probably one of the best views across the harbour. I plan to do this when we visit again but both John and I had our hands full with little G who did pause for a moment and enjoyed running around exploring every nook and cranny.
We then headed down below deck which is where things really start to get interesting and gives you a real insight to how people travelled 150 years ago. The first thing that caught my eye was the size of the cabins and beds, they were tiny and I just don't know how people managed to sleep or change clothes in such small spaces, even in first class. It's made me realise how far things have come and how much space we have on modern boats. Saying that the first class dining room was very impressive and luxurious especially in comparison to the extremely cramped staff quarters.
|The First Class Cabins on the SS Great Britain|