Fodor's Expert Review SS Great Britain
On view in the harbor is the first iron ship to cross the Atlantic. Built by the great English engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1843, it remained in service until 1970, first as a transatlantic liner and ultimately as a coal storage hulk. Everything from the bakery to the officers' quarters comes complete with sounds and smells of the time, and there are even shadowy glimpses of rats in the galley. You can try on typical garments of the time, descend into the ship's dry dock for a view of the hull and propeller, and, between Easter and October, climb the ship's rigging (£10). Your ticket also admits you to engrossing exhibits on the ship's history and on the life of Isambard Brunel. A short walk east along the harborside from here will bring you to a replica of the Matthew, the tiny craft that carried John Cabot to North America in 1497, moored here when it is not sailing on the high seas.