Launch into Summer

22 July 2021


22 July 2021


Bristol’s Number 1 visitor attraction has thrown its doors open for summer with brand new exhibitions and countless surprises ready to be discovered.

Bristol’s Number 1 visitor attraction has thrown its doors open for summer with brand new exhibitions and countless surprises ready to be discovered.

Have you ever wondered what smells you might encounter on a nineteenth century passenger ship? Well, a visit to Brunel’s SS Great Britain might give you a good idea! With passengers, crew and livestock living and working in the same space for up to 60 days at a time during the voyages to Australia, the SS Great Britain would have been a particularly pungent place.

Natalie Fey, Interpretation Manager, says: “We have been extremely busy over the last few months installing new sensory surprises, ready for summer. Visitors will be treated to lots of new sounds, smells and effects on site so that it feels as if you’re stepping back in time on a long voyage.”
Also new for summer, Brunel’s SS Great Britain will be hosting a free outdoor photography exhibition.

The exhibition, on Brunel Square, explores new perspectives on the historic ocean liner through commissions with four young Bristol photographers. It shares their responses to this icon. ‘Opening Up’ has been commissioned to share new perspectives to the historic ship, responding to any dimension of her design, history or conservation.

Kate Rambridge, Head of Interpretation at Brunel’s SS Great Britain said: “At a time people are asking new questions about Bristol’s heritage, and the histories behind the symbols of achievement, this exhibition creates space for young people to show us what they see, value and seek to understand..”

Brunel’s SS Great Britain has also launched a viewing platform, looking directly onto the behind-the-scenes workings of the Albion; a living, working, authentic dockyard with a long and surprising history.

The Albion dry dock is the largest in Bristol, providing vital repair facilities for large vessels. Visitors can bank on getting a first-hand sneak peek at some truly astonishing vessels.

Located beside the SS Great Britain, the new viewing platform is the first of its kind in the country. Notable ships which have been serviced in the dock so far include the remarkable tall ship, Pelican of London, and the multi award-winning live music venue, Thekla.

What are you waiting for? Tickets to visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain, which include free revisits for a year, can be booked at

TOP 10 Smells:
1. The smell of Brunel’s cigar smoke in Brunel’s Duke Street Office
2. Engine oil in the Dockyard
3. Bacon being cooked in the galley kitchen
4. Horse Manure in the Forward Hold
5. Vomit in Stewardess Annie Green’s cabin, sadly sea travel didn’t agree with her very much
6. Stale, dirty linen in steerage
7. Freshly baked bread from the bakery
8. Urine floating from the communal toilet
9. The sterile smell of Carbolic Soap in the Surgeon’s Cabin
10. Rum in the Gambler’s Cabin.


Things To Do

Discover the many fun things to do at Brunel’s SS Great Britain
Things To Do

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