Belfast’s HMS Caroline, one of the world’s most historically significant warships, is celebrating winning the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year in this year’s Luxury Travel Guide awards.
The Luxury Travel Guide Awards recognise and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the affluent travel and tourism industry. The awards ceremony took place at London’s Waldorf Hilton hotel during the annual global World Travel Market event which attracts buyers from around the world.
The win comes hot on the heels of Belfast’s inclusion as the must-see destination for 2018 in the Lonely Planet Guide.
HMS Caroline’s General Manager Jamie Wilson, who accepted the award said: “It has been a momentous year for the ship which reopened to the public during the summer and this award is a real feather in our cap. The international audience is incredibly important to Belfast and for us, as a 5-star Northern Ireland tourism attraction, to be showcasing an offer to a global market really is impressive.
“The Titanic Quarter, in which we play a key part, really is taking shape and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors. The National Museum of the Royal Navy is very grateful for the generous support for HMS Caroline from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Tourism Northern Ireland and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.”
The 122 metre-long light cruiser built in 1914 was restored to its full glory with new decking, guns and a total refurbishment from bridge to engine rooms.
Visitors are offered a unique experience to journey back 100 years to a dangerous life at sea during the First World War. The light cruiser saw action in the infamous Battle of Jutland on May 31 1916 in which more than 8,000 lives were lost and was the focus of international commemorations of the battle on May 31 last year.
The living quarters of the captain, officers and ratings as well as the signal school, engine room, sick bay and galley are all open to the public. These hugely atmospheric areas of the ship are largely intact from the day the ship was completed in 1914. In addition, state-of the art multi-screen video experiences reproducing the sounds and drama of the biggest naval battle ever fought, interactive installations, education suites and spaces for conferences and meetings will be open to the public for the first time in 100 years.