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2020: Celebrating 50 years back home in Bristol

STAY UP TO DATE with the upcoming celebrations.

2020 marks 50 years since the remarkable project which saved Brunel’s SS Great Britain and started its voyage to becoming Bristol’s favourite visitor attraction (TripAdvisor, 2019).


From humble beginnings, as the rusting hull limped back into the city in 1970 - passing under Brunel’s other engineering masterpiece, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, for the first time – the SS Great Britain has grown into an award-winning visitor attraction, which protects and cares for Brunel’s legacy and the world’s first great ocean liner.

In a massive year for the ship ‘50 Years Back Home in Bristol’ will kick off in April, celebrating the incredible journey the ship has taken, from beached wreck to Bristolian landmark, by telling the story in its trademark inventive style and providing a free outdoor exhibition along Bristol’s harbourside depicting some of the most epic moments.

The exhibition ‘Falklands to Bristol: an extraordinary journey’ (4 April to 6 September) will display dramatic photos of the homecoming alongside an exhibition on Falkland Islands life today, giving Bristolians and visitors to Bristol a flavour of the place from where the SS Great Britain set off on her remarkable homecoming journey 50 years ago.

In July – as part of Bristol Harbour Festival – Brunel’s SS Great Britain will open its arms to the city with an evening light show on the harbour in front of the ship, set to draw communities from across the region and celebrate the ship’s return to her birthplace. The SS Great Britain’s 8,000-mile homecoming journey across the Atlantic is one of the most remarkable and pioneering rescue missions ever attempted - this spectacle will connect Britons to one of their greatest stories.

Brunel’s SS Great Britain is one of the UK’s top museums, recently winning the European Museum of the Year Award as Europe’s Most Welcoming Museum. The SS Great Britain is now in her original dry dock where she was built in 1843. Visitors can have a full day out, in and under the ship and explore the life and works of one of the world’s greatest engineers in Being Brunel.