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Follow your nose to Bristol's smelliest day out!

Child playing in steerage cabin

Rough it in Steerage with the new third class passenger experience.

Brunel’s ss Great Britain is the smelliest family day out this summer! Visitors can rough it in steerage with the brand new third class passenger experience; inspired by the ship’s first voyage to Australia in 1852.

As part of a revamp for 2016, costumed characters, soundscapes and new stupendous stenches, including stale ale and sweaty laundry, have been added below deck!

The Victorian upper classes enjoyed sumptuous five-course dinners and private cabins on board the ss Great Britain, but third-class had to endure months at sea packed into hot, noisy and smelly steerage bunks where gossip, gambling and getting into scrapes was all part of the daily grind.

Now boarding for a voyage of discovery, you can explore the cabins, see the engine roar into life, grip the ropes as you climb the rigging and get up close to incredible items from the vault as you discover Victorian life with all of your senses.

Here’s how your family can make the most of their journey in steerage this summer:

  • Hold your nose! Families brave enough to go below deck can expect gruesome, gross and ghastly smells. Head to the back of steerage and be prepared to inhale sweaty, dirty washing!
  • Find characters from the past: Kids can find and meet the ship’s resident Quaker on board, learn about his journey in steerage and even challenge him to a game of chess. Also, look out for other steerage passengers, such as Allan Gilmour, Mrs. Donaldson and her new-born son, whose amazing stories are told via the new displays. There’s even a couple of fighting ladies called Cockney Nell and Glaswegian Jenny.
  • Become a third class passenger: Families can sweep their steerage cabins for the Captain’s inspection and put their calligraphy skills to the test by trying their hand at Victorian letter writing with dip pen and inks.
  • 'Oh it’s you again, is it?’ From gossiping ladies to children playing, there is a story around every corner. Listen in to conversations from steerage, based on real events mentioned in passenger diaries; but beware Townsend as he has a bit of a temper!

Tickets cost £14 per adult, £8 per child (5-17 year olds) and under 4s go free. For further information, visit



For more information, interview requests, images or quotes please contact:

Dominic Rowe

PR & Communications Officer: 0117 926 0680 ext. 219


Laura Hesketh

PR & Communications Assistant: 0117 926 0680 ext. 410



Editor’s notes

About Brunel’s ss Great Britain:

  1. Brunel’s ss Great Britain is the world’s first great ocean liner and the most innovative steam ship of her time. Launched in 1843, this iron-hulled steamship revolutionised travel and set new standards in engineering, reliability and speed. Today, Brunel’s ss Great Britain is Bristol’s no.1 visitor attraction (as voted by the public on Trip Advisor) and home to the Brunel Institute, housing one of the world’s finest maritime and Brunel collections.
  2. Please note, for brand continuity, the attraction is ‘Brunel’s ss Great Britain’, the ship herself is the ‘ss Great Britain’, the charity which manages and maintains the ship is the ‘ss Great Britain Trust’ and the trading branch of the charity is ‘ss Great Britain Trading Ltd.’. The ‘ss’ is always written in lower case or small caps; or in a smaller font size when only capitalisation is available.
  3. Brunel’s ss Great Britain has won over 30 major awards covering heritage, tourism, conservation, access, education, venue hire and customer service; including:

3* in Michelin Guide to Great Britain, 2012

Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, 2010

England’s Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, 2007

UK Museum of the Year 2006