Being Brunel – SS Great Britain

Being Brunel – SS Great Britain

On 23rd March the brand new museum ‘Being Brunel’ opened at SS Great Britain. The museum has the harbour on one side and the impressive SS Great Britain ship on the other. 

SS Great Britain

As a family, we love to visit new and exciting places. Until a few months ago I had never been to SS Great Britain myself, but my 6-year-old’s topic for the last term was Isambard Kingdom Brunel. So every day he would return home with more facts about the Engineer himself, plus the iconic Boats, Tunnels, Railways and Bridges. Which got the whole family talking and interested in finding out more. I joined his school trip to the SS Great Britain and was wowed by it straight away. So much to explore to keep Little Nippers entertained.

But my 8-year-old was mighty jealous of the visit as she loves all things history.  So when we got an invitation to the opening of Being Brunel, by Bristol Bloggers, we were excited to be going along. The new visitor attraction consists of six galleries housing around 150 personal artefacts of Brunel. The project cost £7.2 million to bring to life, which included over 5 million from The National Lottery Fund.

Being Brunel Exhibition

The museum is interactive and for children of all ages. With drawers to open and a rickety train carriage stimulator on which you can try to draw a perfect circle, as Brunel did, plus top hats of all sizes to try on and screens with tasks to carry out. When you first walk into the main exhibition area you are wowed by a huge mobile of I K Brunel’s face. As you head up the stairs to the top of the gallery there is a timeline of his works, then you can overlook the main exhibition space.  We then headed through to Brunel’s Mind, I enjoyed it but have to say it isn’t really suitable for younger children, as my 8-year-old jumped a few times. So would take a miss on this when I visit with my younger children.

Being Brunel interactive

Once we had been through Brunel’s Mind it was into his London office, check out these pigeonholes below slightly different from today’s email sent folder.

Being Brunel Office

Including his original office where he in fact designed and built the SS Great Britain. The attention to detail in there was great, with his iconic hat hanging on the coat hook, plus his dog curled up under his desk. The office was reconstructed based on a watercolour painted by his niece. 

brunels office

Once we had explored everything on offer in the Being Brunel Museum we then went down into the dry dock, and then on board the ship itself to see and smell all the different cabins and classes. We had a great morning and definitely could have stayed longer. We will definitely return, with tickets to SS Great Britain you can return unlimited times throughout the year. Adults £16.50, Children 5-16 £9.50 and Little Nippers under 4 are free, also they do Senior and Student concessions plus family tickets. 


Disclaimer : We were given a free family ticket to SS Great Britain in return for an honest review of the Being Brunel Museum. All thoughts and pictures are my own.

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