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Summer of celebration

Brunel's ss Great Britain

Brunel’s ss Great Britain is preparing for a fun filled summer to coincide with the ship’s 170th anniversary of its launch on 19 July 1843. 


Visitors are invited to step on board the most extraordinary time machine to experience the authentic sights, sounds and even smells of a Victorian luxury passenger liner.

Rescued from rust and wreckage in 1970, the ss Great Britain is now at home in her original birthplace in the Great Western Dockyard. Surrounded by a ‘glass sea’, visitors can step ‘underwater’ into the Dry Dock for a unique view of the ship’s hull from below. Once on board and below deck, the ship comes to life with recreations of opulent living in the First Class Dining Saloon, Promenade Deck and Galley through to the less palatable living quarters in Steerage.

The story of the ss Great Britain is told in the Dockyard Museum with interactive displays and the centre for maritime research in the Brunel Institute, both situated alongside the ship in the Great Western Dockyard.

In addition to these activities Brunel’s ss Great Britain has a full line up of events ready for the summer season.

Summer highlights include:

A Victorian Pissoir – from 25 May

A beautifully restored 130 year old Victorian pissoir has been furnished with a new cheeky sound installation that promises a family friendly brand of toilet humour for the summer.

Visitors are invited to eavesdrop on dockworkers whistling and muttering as they ‘spend a penny’ in this lively addition to the Great Western Dockyard.

Gromit Unleashed – from 1 July

As part of the ground-breaking breaking charity initiative which raises funds for the Wallace & Gromit Grand Appeal in support of the expansion of the Bristol Children’s Hospital, Brunel’s ss Great Britain will welcome their very own Gromit to Brunel Square* from 1 July.

Painted by local artist Thomas W Dowdeswell, ‘Being Gromit-Malkovich’ incorporates an abstract cityscape. It is an industrial yet contemporary construction which acts as a modern foil to the historic engineering of Brunel’s ss Great Britain.

Bristol Harbour Festival – 27 & 28 July

Returning for 2013, Brunel’s ss Great Britain is once again teaming up with BBC Radio Bristol to bring festival food, family fun and a foot stompingly good line up of live bands to Brunel Square.

Appearing on the Brunel Square stage: Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, Showhawk Duo, Ant Noel, Katey Brooks, Just 3, Polly and the Billets Doux and The Shrinks.