Ships on shores
Collections recall an intriguing nautical history
TITANICT BELFAST: The world’s largest Titanic v visitor attraction, Titanic Belfast, is clearly doing something right — it was voted Europe’s leading visitor attraction at last year’s World Travel Awards. The centre, a tribute to the ill-fated ocean liner and the city that built it, is on the site where about 3000 workers laboured on the liner for three years. The striking aluminium-clad building, designed to resemble four ship hulls, includes replica cabins and interactive exhibits. Visitors can follow the various stages of Titanic’s construction by riding the indoor cable car. And if you want to get a feel for the ship’s actual size, walk the length of the painted outline on the ground outside the centre. Also outside (and included in the admission price) is SS Nomadic, the tender that ferried passengers to Titanic and the last surviving White Star Line vessel. More: titanicbelfast.com.
VASAV MUSEUM, STOCKHOLM: The royal flagship Vasa was meant to raise the bar when it came to warship design. Instead, the elaborate floating fortress sank in 1628 after it was launched amid great fanfare in Stockholm (most of those aboard survived but 30 people died). Faulty design put the centre of gravity too far above the waterline, meaning even a light breeze could tip the ship. The captain had also allowed Vasa to sail with its gun ports open, allowing water to pour in when it did teeter over thanks to a gust of wind. After being salvaged in 1961, Vasa, the world’s only preserved 17th-century ship, was housed at the Wasa Shipyard before relocating to its own striking museum, complete with masts poking skywards. Scandinavia’s most popular museum includes some of the estimated 30,000 objects, such as coins, buttons and tools, that archeologists retrieved from the wreck. More: vasamuseet.se.