Brunel’s SS Great Britain to reopen

Brunel’s SS Great Britain to reopen

Posted on: 13 Jul 2020

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the ship's homecoming.


All aboard! One of Bristol's biggest tourist attractions will reopen this weekend, following an extended closure due to COVID-19.


Brunel's SS Great Britain will welcome back visitors from Saturday 18 July, with new measures in place to ensure visitor safety.


The grand reopening arrives just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ship's homecoming to Bristol. 



In 1970, the shell of the SS Great Britain was brought 'home' to Bristol from the Falkland Islands, where it was left to rust after its working life ended in 1933.


Designed by prolific civil engineer Brunel and built in Bristol, the ship was first launched in 1843. In its working life, the majestic ship made voyages to New York and Australia.


Equipped with a steam engine and a screw propeller, at the time, the ship was an innovation in maritime technology.



To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, new measures will be implemented on-board the ship, including hand sanitising stations and cashless payments.


Visitors will also have to pre-book a timed admission slot to limit on-site capacity, and purchase tickets online if they do not already have a valid ticket or membership.


A full list of FAQs are available on the SS Great Britain website:

In preparation for the ship's 50th anniversary, a new short film revisits the 1970 rescue project. Watch: 


Last week, The SS Great Britain Trust was granted emergency funding by Arts Council England to secure its future. Announcing the funding on the website, a spokesperson writes: 

"The current pandemic has had a huge and devastating impact on the Trust’s financial position, as it has for many charities and organisations."

It continues: "This funding ensures the immediate survival of the Trust.


"It will help us to move forward to re-open our site to visitors, albeit with limited capacity, so that we can continue to inspire future generations of engineers and entrepreneurs.


"But the Trust’s income has been hit hard by lockdown. Over 90% of our income comes from visitors, and we will have lost around £2m during March to September.


"We are very excited to be re-opening, but it will be to far fewer visitors to ensure we keep people safe, which means that we will continue to lose essential income going forward." Read the full blog post here

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Article by:

Kate Hutchison


Kate Hutchison

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