Photo by Adam Gasson

Brunel's SS Great Britain

Climb aboard the beautiful steamship and discover the ingenuity of one of Bristol’s most famous residents

  • Heritage
  • Museums

SS Great Britain was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel: one of the greatest figures of the industrial revolution. It was the first propeller-driven iron ship to cross the Atlantic, and the largest vessel of its time, racing between England and Australia for 30 years.

Today, having been lovingly restored to show what life would have been like for its Victorian passengers, SS Great Britain is a much-loved museum - and is firmly settled in as Bristol’s no. 1 attraction (TripAdvisor 2018).

Wandering around the labyrinth of corridors, the museum offers a fascinating insight into what passengers of all classes would have experienced - from the decadence of the panelled dining room, to the cramped confines of 2nd class steerage (watch out for the smells too!)

Alongside the beautifully restored ship, Being Brunel is the museum’s brand new attraction which celebrates the extraordinary life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Set inside the Dock Office where Brunel worked, the museum boasts the world’s largest collection of Brunel-related artefacts and gives a special glimpse into one of Britain’s greatest minds.

Onshore, the shop is packed with wonderful souvenirs, books and toys, and the museum’s cafe offers delicious coffees, cakes and snacks and a brilliant view of the harbourside.

Did you know?

Brunel smoked 40 cigars a day! The brand new musuem, Being Brunel, has acquired all kinds of personal objects including his personalised penknife and his cigar case, containing his very last half smoked cigar.



  • Accessible to wheelchair users
  • Guide dogs permitted
  • Wheelchairs for use
  • Discounted/ Complimentary entry for carers
  • Facilities for visually impaired
  • Facilities for deaf and hard of hearing people
  • Toilets for disabled visitors
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