Bell on board Royal Yacht Britannia
Credit: Helen Pugh

On board Royal Yacht Britannia

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Mon 20 Oct 2014

Last weekend my husband and I went to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, along with our daughter who is nearly two. Britannia belonged to the Queen and Royal Family from 1954 to 1997. Today it sits on the shore in Leith,¬†open as a visitor attraction. TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2014 recently awarded it ‘Best Attraction in the UK’, so we were looking forward to seeing it for ourselves.

Royal Yacht Britannia

On arrival, we found that entrance to the ship was through the Visitor Centre in the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre. As we entered, a very friendly member of staff greeted us. He explained where the tour started and how to use the audio handsets which are given out at the start. We then made our way to the starting point. We followed points of interest, which were clearly numbered 1 to 28 and corresponded with the numbered information on the audio tour.

The tour starts at the Bridge, where the Admiral would have sat and made his commands. Then it moves through the State Apartments and Royal Bedrooms where the Royal Family spent their time. Then below decks to the Crew’s Quarters, Sick Bay and Laundry, and finally the Engine Room.

It was fascinating to see all the different aspects of the ship. The functional areas such as the Bridge and Engine Room were amazing, with the various contraptions that kept everything working. The Royal Family’s living quarters were very luxurious as you would expect. Extremely spacious and designed for convenience. It really is the way to travel! Then to see the contrast of the Crew’s Quarters and how they became more and more basic as it moved down the ranks.

Queens Bedroom and Crews Quarters

The audio tour was very informative and interesting. It was however quite long and difficult to concentrate on with a young child to look after, so I didn’t hear much of it. I felt just seeing the different areas of the ship was educational enough though, and my daughter loved the experience too. She was very excited to be on a real boat!

We enjoyed our visit to Royal Yacht Britannia even more than we expected to. A great day out for all the family!

HMY Britannia, Ocean Drive, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ