Royal Yacht Britannia

Attractions Leith
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Royal Yacht Britannia
Marc Millar Photography

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Queen Liz’s floating mansion boasts all manner of nautical delights. Climb aboard for an excellent audio tour and tea at the cute café

Not for nothing is the Royal Yacht Britannia one of Edinburgh’s most popular attractions. Whether you’re a royalist or not, as the Queen’s former floating Royal residence for over 40 years, there’s heaps to enjoy here. Berthed down in Leith behind largely forgettable shopping complex Ocean Terminal, this is a slick, well managed operation.

A trip to the visitor centre begins your journey, and before you even jump on board there’s some lovely old – and newer – photographs to peer at, as well as a good bit of Britannia history to send you on your way.

Before stepping onto the ship, you get a self-led audio handset. While such contraptions can often be a bit hit and miss, here it’s hugely effective. With each section of the boat numbered, it offers a genuinely interesting and concise narrative as you wander around. The fact there’s also a simpler children’s audio tour is a stroke of genius.

Once on board, there’s a surprising amount to see, with the attraction spread over all five decks of the yacht. Give yourself a good couple of hours to enjoy the whole experience.

Britannia has had a busy old life, welcoming on board such high profile guests as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi and notching up almost 1,000 trips in its lifetime. The State apartments, the crew’s quarters, the honeymoon suite and the engine room prove to be genuine highlights.

Should you fancy a pit-stop, you can round things off in style with a pot of tea and scones or sandwiches at the Royal Deck Tea Room on board, which considering its location, offers some lovely waterfront views, without breaking the bank.

By: Anna Millar


Venue name: Royal Yacht Britannia
Address: Ocean Drive
Transport: Rail: Edinburgh Waverley

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moderatorStaff WriterTastemaker

Really excellent tour with some unexpected highlights; highly recommended.