Some people love to holiday on the water where they can sit on a sunny beach soaking up the rays and sipping tropical drinks. Others enjoy the peace and serenity offered by remote locations with forests and waterfalls whilst others simply enjoy viewing boats, ships and anything nautical. For those who enjoy sitting on the docs watching ships as they roll in and out of port, here are five interesting port cities to visit in the UK.
London is a popular city to visit simply because of its sheer size and the fact that it is the capital of the UK. However, for maritime buffs, there is a lot of history in London and if you are interested in the various eras of maritime history, London is certainly a city to visit. Learn about real life pirates who ran contraband in and out of the city in days gone by and view relics of booty left behind. Visit the largest maritime museum in the world, The National Maritime Museum located just off the south bank of the River Thames and get an education whilst enjoying the exhibits and displays.
Gloucester is really an unusual port not only in the UK but by worldwide standards as well. As a major port throughout England’s long and rich history, this is one port that is not actually on the sea but rather off Gloucester and Sharpness Canal that links it to the River Severn. There are a number of museums and places of interest on the docks and with its close proximity to many of the country’s finest hotels, you can take your time learning about the unusual history of this lesser-known UK port city. Check out this website for more information on area hotels.
Some of what you learn in history is not what you’d like to hear and when it comes to visiting Bristol, this may very well be the case. Here you can learn about Britain’s role slave trading across the Atlantic at the Bristol Museum and many of the items on display are quite disturbing. Although it is not a welcome testimonial to our past, it is true nonetheless that a number of UK shipping ventures did have a hand in slave trading in the past.
Here, again, is a major museum that documents the UK’s rich heritage as a strong global naval presence. The Merseyside Maritime Museum and Library holds records dating back centuries and is a popular tourist stop for those interested in Britain’s naval history. Located on the banks of the Mersey in the Albert Dock, this is a must see when touring UK port cities.
There probably isn’t a person in the developed world who hasn’t studied the Titanic disaster and there is nowhere where it strikes closer to home than in Southampton. At least 500 families lost someone in the tragedy and this is well documented in the Sea City Museum where documents and a wealth of photos are on display. Those interested in learning more about the real disaster and not that of the 1990’s Hollywood film would truly benefit from spending time in this amazing maritime museum.
These five port cities are amongst the most popular to visit when looking into Britain’s rich maritime history, but there are many more lesser-known ports you may wish to visit as well. If planning a trip to the UK to visit ports along the coastal cities, plan to spend enough time to experience some of the greatest tributes to the sea you will find anywhere in the world.