Royal Yacht Britannia

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The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ

Tel: 0131 555 5566 Email us: [email protected]

Please pre-book your tickets to guarantee admission

Royal Yacht Britannia

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Tripadvisor’s No.1 UK Attraction 2023 - 2024

Step aboard the royal yacht britannia.

Please pre-book your tickets to guarantee admission. Start your tour at our entrance on the Ground Floor of Ocean Terminal.

A great day out for all the family, explore each of the five decks at this top attraction in Edinburgh and discover what life was like on board Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace. 

9:30am - 4pm

(Last Admission 6pm)

Tram featuring advertising for The Royal Yacht Britannia in front of Ocean Terminal building

Ticket information, opening times and more.

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Buy Tickets

Pre-book your tickets to visit The Royal Yacht Britannia, top attraction in Leith.

A family group of a woman and a man with a little boy and a little girl are enjoying cakes and tea sitting at a table in the Royal Deck Tearoom.

Homemade soups, sandwiches and cakes, along with speciality teas and coffees.

royal yacht britannia shop

Find souvenirs and gifts from Britannia's online Gift Shop.

A family group of two adults and two children listen to audio tour handsets next to the Binnacle on the Verandah Deck.

Apply for 12 months' free admission after your first visit.

royal yacht britannia shop

Stay at our luxury floating hotel, Fingal, Tripadvisor's No1. UK Luxury Hotel, AA Hotel of the Year Scotland.

Visiting Britannia

TRIPADVISOR'S NO.1 UK ATTRACTION 2023 - 2024

royal yacht britannia shop

Click on the Visit page  for more information before you visit.

Step aboard to enjoy a great day out!

Fingal Hotel

Get away from the everyday aboard Britannia’s sister ship, Fingal.  Extend your visit with a stay in one of Fingal’s luxurious cabins, your own oasis by the sea. 

TRIPADVISOR'S NO.1 UK LUXURY HOTEL TRIPADVISOR'S NO.1 UK SMALL & BOUTIQUE HOTEL AA Hotel of the Year Scotland, AA five-star hotel and 2 AA Rosettes

royal yacht britannia shop

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The Royal Yacht Britannia

Experience Tripadvisor's Best UK Attraction 2023. Follow in the footsteps of Royalty and explore this floating Royal residence with a fascinating audio tour of five decks (available in over 30 languages).

Tripadvisor's Best UK Visitor Attraction (AGAIN) 2023-2024, Best UK Attraction (Which magazine readers) and Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Best of the Best award winner 

Visit this award-winning attraction, just two miles from Edinburgh's city centre at Ocean Terminal.  The Royal Yacht Britannia played host to some of the world’s most famous people, from Nelson Mendela to Winston Churchill, but above all was home for the British Royal Family for over 40 years. Now you can discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences.

You'll receive a truly warm welcome at Britannia's Visitor Centre before you board this famous ship where you will discover the history of Royal Yachts and view displays and historical photographs of Britannia's fascinating past before boarding Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace.

What will you see?

  • Tour Britannia’s five decks
  • Feel like the captain of the ship in the Bridge
  • Follow in the footsteps of Royalty through the State Apartments
  • See Queen Elizabeth II's favourite room- the Sun Lounge
  • Discover below decks in the Crew’s Quarters
  • Admire a tour highlight, the gleaming Engine Room
  • Take in the Royal Sailing Exhibition
  • Enjoy soups, sandwiches, cakes and scones in the Royal Deck Tearoom and admire the stunning waterfront views.

The tour is available in:

  • Audio handset tour, available in over 30 languages
  • Children’s audio tour
  • Audio tour for those with sight loss
  • ASL and BSL tablet
  • Braille script ​​​​​​ ​​​​​

Complete the Britannia experience with a visit to the  Gift Shop in Ocean Terminal, where you’ll find exclusive Britannia souvenirs, china, toys, gifts and nautical items.

Berthed just moments away, Britannia's sister ship, floating hotel Fingal, offers 22 luxurious cabins inspired by the former Northern Lighthouse Board tender's rich maritime heritage. For further information, visit Fingal's website .

HELPFUL INFORMATION:

-  All weather experience -  Highly accessible for wheelchair users, single buggies and those with limited mobility. Read our accessibility statement here . -  Free Annual Pass for 12 months admission included -  The entrance to Britannia is temporarily on the Ground Floor of Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

How to get here?

By tram: Take the tram to stop 'Ocean Terminal' (Newhaven direction).

By bus:  Regal Tour Bus and Lothian Buses 10, 16, 34 and 35 run from the city centre towards Ocean Terminal. Regal Tour buses depart regularly from Waterloo Place / St Andrew Square in the centre of Edinburgh. The Majestic Tour is operated by Edinburgh Bus Tours .

By train:  Arrive in the city centre at Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, just 2 miles from Britannia. 

By car: Follow signs to Edinburgh and Leith or North Edinburgh. Then follow brown tourist signs for Britannia. Free car parking at Ocean Terminal (level C is nearest). For satnav our postcode is EH6 6JJ. Go inside the shopping centre for Britannia’s entrance and the start of the tour. By plane: Britannia is approximately 40 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh Airport.

For further information on finding Britannia, please see here .  

OPENING TIMES

Please check the Britannia website for full opening times and prices. EVENING EVENTS Exclusive dinners and receptions can be hosted on board. Call our events team on +44 (0) 131 555 8800 and see how we can create your event of a lifetime, or visit the events section of our website .

PRIVATE TOURS A private tour on board The Royal Yacht Britannia is an exclusive experience, giving you access to Britannia’s five decks, and a unique insight into the history of the Royal Yacht and how the Royal Family and crew lived and worked on board. Both Morning and Evening tours are available. Call our events team on +44 (0) 131 555 8800 or for more information visit click here . PRESERVING BRITANNIA Britannia is cared for by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust , a self-funding charity registered in Scotland (SC028070). By visiting Britannia you will be helping us to preserve this important piece of history for future generations.

www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk See our reviews on Tripadvisor Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram

View our videos on YouTube

Transport and Parking

  • On Public Transport Route
  • Public Parking Nearby

Accessibility

  • Hearing Loop
  • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
  • Lift or stairlift
  • Large print, braille or audio
  • Level Access
  • Wheelchair access throughout
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs or mobility aids provided
  • Suitable for visitors with limited mobility

Dietary Options

  • Gluten Free

Typical Prices

  • Baby Changing Facilities
  • Public Toilet Facilities
  • Lunch Available
  • Licensed Bar
  • Cafe or Restaurant

Payment Methods

  • American Express
  • Diners Card
  • Credit Card
  • Coastal Location
  • Sea/Loch View

Awards & Schemes

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Related items of interest

  • Sailing on Royal Racing Yacht Bloodhound

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The Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Guide

Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of HM Queen Elizabeth II and is located at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Edinburgh . The yacht is one of Scotland’s premier tourist attractions, and visitors can explore it on a self-guided tour that takes them through the main dining hall, the royal family’s private quarters, and the engine room.

Ocean Terminal

Address:Ocean Terminal,
Leith,
Edinburgh,
EH6 6JJ
Opening Hours:January - March: 10:00 to 17:00
April - August: 09:30 to 18:00
September - October: 10:00 to 18:00
November - December: 10:00 to 17:00
Admission Price:Adult: £18.00
Student (with ID): £16.00
Child (aged 5-17): £9.00
Child (under 5): Free
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £49.00
Parking:Free car parking in Ocean Terminal multi-storey
Contact:0131 555 5566
[email protected]
Facilities:Restaurant, gift shop, toilets, audio guides, private tours

Craig Neil at the Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia first launched in 1953 was the official seafaring vessel of Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family for over four decades. Used for state visits, royal vacations, and diplomatic trips, the vessel is now a popular tourist attraction moored in Edinburgh where it offers a fascinating glimpse into royal life.

Throughout its working life, the Royal Yacht Britannia was the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II during her overseas tours, sailing over one million miles around the world while promoting British interests abroad.

The vessel is now kept in immaculate condition by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust and is open year-round for visitors to follow in the footsteps of world leaders as they explore the royal’s private quarters and the below-deck rooms. Self-guided audio tours will take you to every nook and cranny of this enormous ship while information panels explain what life would have been like on board the vessel in its heyday.

There’s also an excellent restaurant onboard on the upper deck as well as a gift shop in the visitor centre, and as Britannia is moored alongside Ocean Terminal you can easily visit the restaurants, shops, and cinema that the waterfront shopping complex has to offer.

Royal Yacht Britannia

The Highlights

1: The Royal Yacht Britannia served as the floating residence of the British Royal Family for over 40 years. Exploring this iconic vessel gives you a unique opportunity to delve into the fascinating maritime history of the Royal Family and discover the stories behind their voyages and state visits.

2: The Royal Yacht Britannia has been meticulously preserved since its decommissioning in 1997. As you explore the ship, you’ll be able to view the opulent interiors which include the State Apartments, the Royal Bedrooms, and the impressive Royal Deck Tea Room.

3: The Royal Yacht Britannia is located in the historic port of Leith, just a short distance from Edinburgh’s city centre. The yacht is docked permanently, allowing visitors to soak in the waterfront views while they explore the vessel. After your visit, you can take a walk to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Leith with its charming shops and restaurants.

Visiting Tips

1: Although the tickets are a wee bit pricey there’s a lot to see so you’ll spend a good 2-3 hours on Britannia. While the tickets are expensive if you only make one visit, they allow unlimited re-entry for one year, so keep hold of them in case you decide to return another day.

2: Ocean Terminal is a nice shopping centre with a cinema and several cafes and restaurants. You could easily stretch your Britannia visit to last most of the day if you use those facilities.

3: If you want to explore the city centre after a visit to Britannia take Lothian Bus services 11, 22, 34, 35 and 36. Highlights of Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle (obviously), Calton Hill , The Scott Monument , Holyrood Park and Holyrood Palace .

Royal Yacht Britannia

Tourist Information

The ship is entered via the visitor centre in Ocean Terminal which is situated on the top floor of the shopping mall. As you walk around Britannia’s five main decks on a self-guided tour you can listen to an audio guide that explains what life was like on board not only for the royal inhabitants but also for the Royal Navy crew that manned it during its voyages.

Starting at the bridge you pass through the state apartments, the crew quarters, and the engine room before finally reaching the racing yacht Bloodhound which is part of an interesting royal sailing exhibition.

There are many highlights of this ship that all family members will enjoy – including the huge state banquet room with its massive dining table and the gleaming Rolls Royce Phantom that used to travel on the ship along with the Royal Family.

If you fancy a wee treat you can pick up some delicious homemade fudge in the NAAFI sweet shop. but make sure you leave enough room for the Royal Deck Tea Room where you can sample top-notch Scottish cuisine as well as coffee and sandwiches. The entry ticket includes free re-admittance for one year so if you ever go back to Ocean Terminal you could always take another visit just for the restaurant.

Britannia Dining Room

Britannia was built at the Clydebank shipyards near Glasgow and successfully launched in 1953, with its maiden voyage to Malta beginning in 1954. During its time at sea, Britannia was manned by volunteers from the Royal Navy, some of whom liked it so much they served onboard for over 20 years.

Whenever royalty was on the vessel a full troop of Royal Marines accompanied them, and during this time they would have sailed around the globe several times as the royal family undertook their ambassadorial duties in almost every nation on earth. Britannia also performed services as an aid ship, evacuating over 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986, and was ready to be converted into a hospital ship at a moment’s notice.

Britannia was eventually decommissioned in 1997 after mounting political pressure regarding the cost of maintenance made its continued use impossible. The ship was finally tied up at Ocean Terminal where The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust was set up to look after it. Today, more than 300,000 people visit the Royal Yacht Britannia each year, making it one of the top five tourist attractions in Scotland.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Things to Do

Check out the Britannia Visitor Centre : Start your visit at the Britannia Visitor Centre located in Ocean Terminal. There, you can discover Britannia’s fascinating history through exhibits and photographs before you step aboard the yacht itself.

Explore the Royal Yacht Britannia : Step aboard the British monarch’s former floating palace and explore the state apartments, crew’s quarters, and engine room. This magnificent ship offers a unique glimpse into royal life at sea thanks to audio guides which are included in the ticket price.

Tea at The Royal Deck Tea Room : After your tour, unwind at the Royal Deck Tea Room. Enjoy traditional teas, delicious cakes, sandwiches, and spectacular views of the docks and the Firth of Forth . It’s a great way to reflect on your visit to Britannia before deciding where to go next.

Attend a Special Event : The Royal Yacht Britannia hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from Hogmanay celebrations to Burn’s Night suppers . To see which events are coming up next, head to the official Royal Yacht Britannia website .

Visit The Gift Shop : You cannot miss Britannia’s gift shop in Ocean Terminal which offers a wide range of exclusive gifts and souvenirs. From royal memorabilia to nautical-themed toys, you’re bound to find the perfect memento for your visit.

Ocean Terminal

Things to Do Nearby

Ocean Terminal . 74 Ocean Dr., Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ. 2-minute walk. A large shopping centre that’s one of the first arrival points for ships sailing into the Firth of Forth. Ocean Terminal contains a collection of restaurants, coffee shops, and department stores.

Leith . 8-minute walk. A vibrant and historic area of Edinburgh that is renowned for its trendy bars and restaurants. Leith is architecturally significant for the number of restored Victorian warehouses that line Commercial Street and Bernard Street. Some of Scotland’s best restaurants are located in Leith, including The Kitchin and Wishart.

The Water of Leith . Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6HE. 11-minute walk. A walkway that runs for 12 miles from the Colzium Hills outside of Edinburgh to Leith. The majority of the path is set on quiet pavement that runs alongside the river. Much loved by locals for its wildlife.

Leith Links . 4 Links Gardens, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 8AA. 18-minute walk. Informal gardens and a play park that was historically a golf course but has been revamped into a recreation area.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society . The Vaults, 87 Giles St, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6BZ. 13-minute walk. The Vaults is the main site for the SMWS in Edinburgh. Visitors can sample a range of quality single malt whiskies as well as gins and rums, along with optional expert-led tasting sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the royal yacht britannia berthed.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed at Leith Port in Edinburgh, next to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre. Ocean Terminal is a 15-minute drive from Edinburgh city centre, and the Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Centre is on the second floor. Address: Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ.

Does the royal family still have a yacht?

No, the British Royal Family does not currently have a yacht. The last royal yacht was the HMY Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 and is now a museum ship in Edinburgh.

Who owns Royal Yacht Britannia?

The Royal Yacht Britannia is owned and managed by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust.

Why did they decommission the Royal Yacht Britannia?

The Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in 1997 due to maintenance costs and changing politics which meant the yacht was considered unnecessary. It was estimated in 1996 that a refit would cost £17 million and would only prolong the ship’s life for an additional 5 years.

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Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest , Facebook , and YouTube .

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Royal Yacht Britannia – tickets, prices, discounts, afternoon tea, what to see

Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh

Royal Yacht Britannia used to be Queen Elizabeth’s Palace on Water and is now Scotland’s most popular tourist attraction. 

Known by many names such as Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, Queen Elizabeth’s Yacht ,  HMY Britannia, etc., this Yacht was in the Queen’s service for 44 years and sailed more than a million miles worldwide. 

It is a perfect opportunity to see how the British Queen lived when traveling with other Kings and Queens, World leaders, and celebrities. 

This article shares everything you must know before booking your tickets for the Royal Yacht Britannia tour.

Top Royal Yacht Britannia Tickets

# Royal Yacht Britannia tickets # Royal Edinburgh ticket

Table of contents

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Here is a quick video on what visitors can expect inside Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia.

Your Royal Britannia tour starts from the Visitor Centre, on the second floor of Ocean Terminal, where you get the historical background about the Royal Family and Yachtsmen.

You then pick up the audio guide, which is part of the entry ticket, and board Queen Elizabeth’s Yacht and explore five fascinating decks.

Highlights on the Yacht’s Royal side are the Sun Lounge, the State Dining Room, and The Queen’s Bedroom.

On the ship’s operational side, you get to see the Crew’s Quarters, the Engine Room, the laundry, etc.

More than 95% of the exhibits you will see during your tour are original and are taken on loan from The Royal Collection.

If you prefer, you can also visit the Royal Deck Tea Room.

Back to Top

Royal Yacht Britannia tickets

This entry ticket gets you complete access to the Royal ship that’s now berthed in Edinburgh’s historic Port of Leith.

Visitors can explore all five decks at a leisurely pace even as they take in the public and private lives of the British Royal Family.

This ticket also includes the complimentary audio guide. 

Adult ticket (18+ years): 18.50 pounds Child ticket (5 to 17 years): 9.25 Pounds  Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children): 50 Pounds Infant ticket (under 5 years): Free entry

This combo is known as the 48-hour Royal Edinburgh Ticket and is a real money saver. 

If you are visiting Edinburgh for the first time, we highly recommend this Royal attractions combo. 

This ticket gets you to access three of the best attractions in the city:

  • Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse

And to top it all, you also get unlimited travel for 48 hours on three of Edinburgh’s hop-on-hop-off bus tours. 

Royal Yacht Britannia location map

Address:  Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ, United Kingdom. Get Directions

The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed in Leith, Edinburgh, just 2 miles from the City Centre.

Britannia’s Visitor Centre is on the second floor of Ocean Terminal, just 15 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh City Centre.

Ocean Terminal is soon going to be  re-branded  as Porta. 

There are many ways to get to the Royal Yacht. 

If you are coming by train, you must get down at  Edinburgh Waverley .

From outside the station, you can take a taxi to cover the 3.7 kms (2.3 miles) to Ocean Terminal. 

From the Waverly station, you can also take bus No. 22 and 34.

You must board the buses at  Princess Street (Stop PN) , and after 24 minutes and 27 stops, get down at  Ocean Terminal (Stop OF) .

There is a bus from the Station, every 15 minutes.

Lothian Bus services  run three buses – Bus No. 11, 22, and 35 – from Edinburgh City Centre to Ocean Terminal. 

You can purchase tickets on the bus by presenting the correct change or from the  Lothian Buses app .

A single journey on a Lothian Bus costs 1.70 Pounds. 

If you use Satnav, use the postcode EH6 6JJ. 

Else, open Google Maps to get  directions to Ocean Terminal .

If you prefer a taxi, we recommend  Uber ,  Central Taxis , or  City Cabs .

Car Parking

Royal Yacht Britannia offers free parking at Ocean Terminal.

Blue Car Park on Level E is closest to the tourist attraction’s Visitor Centre. 

This part of the Park also has spaces for Blue Badge holders. 

If you reach by foot, taxi, or bus, access to Royal Britannia is from the Ocean Terminal Shopping Center’s main entrance on the ground floor. 

You must take a lift to the 2nd floor of Ocean Terminal and walk towards the building’s East end.

Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Center Entrance

You will first spot Debenhams and then HMY Britannia’s Visitor Center entrance.  Even though you can book tickets at the venue (the ticket desk is to the left of the visitor center entrance), it is better to  buy them online , much in advance, to avoid last-minute disappointment. 

During the peak months of April to October, Royal Yacht Britannia opens at 9.30 am, and the last entry is at 4.30 pm. 

The rest of the year, the Royal Yacht opens at 10 am, and the last entry is allowed till 3.30 pm. 

The last admission on 24 December is at 2.30 pm, and on 31 December it is at 3 pm. 

Royal Yacht Britannia is closed on 25 December and 1 January.

Royal Yacht Britannia tour

The Royal Yacht Britannia   tours are a perfect way to feel like a celebrity for a few hours. 

In this section, we share a few things you must know before you book your tour of the Royal ship. 

No, tours of HMY Britannia don’t start at a stipulated time. 

When you book your tickets, you only select the ‘date.’ 

On the day of your visit, reach the Royal ship between their opening hours to start exploring.

Her Majesty’s Yacht doesn’t offer guided tours. 

However, every ticket comes with an audio guide to walk around and tour the ship yourself.

Kids get their own version of the audio guide. 

You need at least two hours to explore Royal Yacht Britannia to satisfaction. 

However, if you plan to visit the Royal Deck Tea Room, you must factor in another 30 to 60 minutes. 

Visits during July and August tend to take longer because of the crowd. 

Kids up to four years get the maximum discounts at Britannia, Edinburgh – they get in for free. 

On the adult ticket price of 17 Pounds, children aged 5 to 17 years get almost 50% discount and pay only 8.75 Pounds.

Seniors who are 60+ and students with valid educational ID cards get a 2 Pound reduction on the full ticket.

People in the Armed Forces (with valid ID) can also claim the reduced price of 8.75 Pounds. 

However, this Armed Forces discount is available only at the Britannia ticket office.

Every Britannia Yacht entry ticket comes with a complimentary audio guide.

While receiving the audio guides at the Handset Desk, you can ask for straps to wear the audio guides around the neck. Headphones are also available.

Kids can opt for the children’s version of the audio guide.

The audio tour is available in 30 languages; English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Russian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Korean, Japanese, Urdu, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Thai, Turkish, Cantonese, Punjabi, Portuguese-Brazilian, Welsh, Romanian and Gaelic. 

Besides the audio guide, visitor guides are also available through the tour route to help if you have questions.

Royal Yacht Britannia afternoon tea

The Royal Deck Tea Room is on board Britannia and tables are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

It is a perfect restaurant to enjoy freshly prepared food and stunning views of the harbor. 

The menu includes specialty coffees, cocktails, tasty soups, sandwiches, cakes, scones, etc.  Download Menu

The Royal Deck Tea Room has 35 tables and can seat 133 people.

During the peak months of April to October, the Royal Deck Team Room opens at 11 am, and the last admission is at 3.30 pm. 

January to March: Opens at 11 am, last admission at 3.30 pm

November to December: Opens at 10.30 pm, last admission at 3.45 pm

Royal Yacht Britannia interiors

Many tourists wonder what’s inside the Royal Yacht before they book their tickets. 

Some out of curiosity and some to know if a visit to Royal Yacht Britannia is worth it. 

We list below some of the highlights of this Palace on water. 

State Apartments

The State Apartments are the collection of rooms where the Royals lived or entertained their guests. 

The Royal family relaxed in the State Drawing Room whenever they traveled together. 

It also acted as a reception room for up to 250 guests. 

The Verandah Deck was a private space for the Royals, where they could sunbathe or enjoy quoits or deck hockey. 

This area of the ship also had a collapsible swimming pool for the Royal Family to splash around if they wanted.

Sun Lounge at Royal Yacht Britannia

The Sun Lounge was one of the Queen’s favorite rooms onboard HMY Brittania. 

The beautiful teak-lined room was a designated family room and offered a lot of privacy from the rest of the ship.

This massive dining room onboard Britannia has played host to the world’s most influential people, such as Nelson Mandela, Sir Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, etc. 

With its white paneled walls adorned with gifts received during State visits, this room represents ultimate luxury. 

Engine Room at Royal Yacht Britannia

The Engine Room is a testament to British marine engineering skills because, until the ship got decommissioned in 1997, everything was working fine. 

This room is full of gleaming brass, chrome, and white enamel with the ‘heavy stuff’ under the hood pumping 12,000 horsepower, which would help Britannia and her four-bladed propellers to a maximum of 22.5 knots.  

Eight men operated the Engine Room, Boiler Room, and associated machinery rooms.

The 240 Officers and Yachtsmen on board Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia sometimes had to change their uniforms up to six times a day. 

This is why it was the only ship in the Royal Navy to have a laundry service permanently on board. 

The laundry machines, dryers, and steam presses on the ship worked non-stop, and sometimes the temperature even went up to 48 degrees Celcius (118 degrees Fahrenheit)

Admiral’s Cabin at Royal Yacht Britannia

The Admiral was responsible for Royal Yacht Britannia’s safe functioning and commanded the 19 officers and 220 Yachtsmen who operated the ship.

He worked, entertained, and often ate (he couldn’t join the other officers in their mess unless invited) in the Admiral’s Cabin. Image: Royalyachtbritannia.co.uk  

Royal Yacht Britannia's Bridge

The Bridge was HMY Britannia’s center of command and control on all her journeys. 

From here, the officers reporting into the Admiral navigated, passed orders, recorded the logbooks, etc.

Back then, all Royal Navy ships had a Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute shop, known as the NAAFI. 

The crew members and the officers would shop for their daily needs, such as toothpaste, shaving creams, magazines, etc. in this shop. 

Sources # Royalyachtbritannia.co.uk # Architecturaldigest.com # Wikipedia.org # Tripadvisor.com The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy .

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Jamshed V Rajan

He is a two-faced traveler, who enjoys both the hustle-bustle of an urban holiday and the serenity of a break from the rest of the World. During some of his vacations, he is a resort hopper, and on others, he barely spends time in his hotel. He loves to try mouth-watering local cuisines, especially non-vegetarian dishes. Favourite Cities: Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Dublin, Prague, Vienna

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Secrets of the Royal Yacht Britannia

Town & Country took a tour of the famous vessel which served the royal family for more than 40 years and has reopened as a tourist attraction.

the royal yacht britannia

Wondering about the royal family's yacht as you watch this season of The Crown ? In light of its appearance on the Netflix series, we're resurfacing this story from 2021 :

While plans to build a successor to boost Britain’s trade continue to attract criticism, Britannia is once again attracting hordes of visitors after being forced to close because of COVID-19. And it’s no surprise, because from being able to look right into the Queen’s bedroom to learning about what life was like for the up to 220 yachtsmen on board, this is a boat with some fascinating stories to tell.

Town & Country went aboard to learn the secrets of this much-loved vessel. Here’s our pick of the best royal tales.

the royal yacht britannia is now open to visitors again following covid19 closures

The ship was altered with royal skirts in mind.

Many photographs of the Royal Yacht Britannia show the family waving from the Royal Bridge as the vessel departed from or arrived at its destination. And the bow of the ship was specially adapted to make sure these public moments did not reveal more than was intended. “The curved teak windbreak was a later feature, added for modesty’s sake, to prevent sea breezes from lifting royal skirts,” visitors to Britannia are told.

britannia exterior

It was a struggle to get the royal car on board.

When the 412-ft yacht was built in 1953, it was considered important that it had a garage to house the Queen’s Rolls Royce. However, getting the car on board was no easy feat. “First, the car, in its transporter, had to be hoisted onto the special track that is fitted into the deck. Even then, it could only be squeezed into the Garage by removing its bumpers,” Britannia’s guide notes. Thankfully, in later years the Queen usually traveled in a car from the country she was visiting which meant that the garage was eventually used as a beer store.

crown binnacle

Britannia was designed to avoid any peeking into the royal bedrooms.

Now, visitors to Britannia get a full view of the Queen and Prince Philip’s (separate) bedrooms, albeit through glass. However, when the ship was in use it was important that no-one could peek into these rooms. Pointing out that the windows looking into these areas are “higher than anywhere else on the Yacht,” Britannia’s guide explains: “By placing them at this height above the deck, any accidental glimpses into the royal bedrooms could be prevented.”

staff cubbies

There were lots of people on board—but not everyone traveled in style.

One of the most fascinating things about touring the yacht is looking into the living quarters—from the relatively luxurious rooms of the Queen and Prince Philip and the ship’s Admiral, to the officers’ comfortable sitting room and dining room, to the approximately 220 yachtsmen who lived, slept, and worked, as the guide describes “in fairly cramped conditions.” Tourists are told: “Britannia was a ship in which hierarchy was strongly defined.” And there were plenty of people to accommodate. Some 45 working members of the royal household accompanied the Queen on her overseas visits.

stairway

The Queen favored neutrals while Philip liked darker colors.

As the yacht was build with their use in mind, the Queen and Prince Philip both had a say in the ship’s design and as such, it gives a some insight into their taste. The Queen’s (single) bed has a specially-commissioned embroidered silk panel above it, and her room is decorated in pale and neutral colors. By contrast, Philip’s room features vibrant maroon linen and curtains and, at his request, his pillows, unlike the Queen’s “do not have lace on the borders.”

sundeck room

There is only one double bed.

The honeymoon suite on the yacht is opposite the Queen and Philip’s bedrooms. “This is the only room on Britannia with a double bed which was brought on board by Prince Charles when he honeymooned on the Yacht with Princess Diana,” tourists are told. “When the Royal Children were small, this bedrooms and the adjoining room were used as nursery suites.”

dining table

The royal children liked to eat jelly on board.

Food on board Britannia was prepared in three galleys—one for the yachtsmen, one for the officers and one for the royal household. Buckingham Palace chefs were flown out to prepare royal food and there was a room that, according to Britannia’s guide, was known as the Jelly Room “for it was in here that the royal children’s jellies were stored.”

dining room

There is a dance floor that hasn’t been used for 50 years.

The largest room on Britannia is the State Dining Room where lavish banquets were held. It could also be used as a cinema room. “The silver-grey carpet could also be rolled up to expose a wooden dance floor beneath, although the last time this was used was for Princess Anne’s 21st birthday celebrations,” the guide notes.

naval flags

Prince Philip kept a reminder of his naval career in his office.

Just like their separate bedrooms, the Queen and Philip had separate offices on board Britannia. Philip’s had a “specially designed display case,” the ship’s guide notes, in which he kept “a model of HMS Magpie, His Royal Highness’s first naval command.” The Duke of Edinburgh famously gave up his active naval career in 1951 to support his wife in her duties when King George VI’s health was ailing.

drawing room

The ship was ready for stormy seas.

The royal family and their guests relaxed in the drawing room, which featured a grand piano. The instrument was played by members of the family and even some of their famous guests, including composer Noel Coward. “The Welmar baby grand piano cost £350 when it was supplied in 1952, and is firmly bolted to the deck to stop it taking off in choppy seas,” tourists are told.

queen in turkey

Once the royal laundry turned blue.

Walking through the laundry at the end of the tour provides an insight into what was once a “hot and noisy environment.” Some 600 shirts could pass through the laundry in one day, with the royal family’s washing done on separate days to that of the crew. Britannia’s audio guide recounts “one occasion when the royal washing turned a delicate shade of blue, and Her Majesty’s Dresser was less than amused. The cause, it turned out, was a chemical reaction in the copper pipes, which was quickly remedied by adjusting the pH value of the water.”

laundry room

For more information and to book tickets visit royalyachtbrittania.co.uk

preview for The Life of Queen Elizabeth II

Town & Country Contributing Editor Victoria Murphy has reported on the British Royal Family since 2010. She has interviewed Prince Harry and has travelled the world covering several royal tours. She is a frequent contributor to Good Morning America. Victoria authored Town & Country book The Queen: A Life in Pictures , released in 2021. 

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Royal Yacht Britannia

Queen Elizabeth once said that the Royal Yacht Britannia was the only place she could truly relax, and we’re inclined to agree. After 968 official voyages worldwide, which counted for over 1 million nautical miles to 135 countries, the Royal Yacht Britannia is now a tourist attraction just two miles from Edinburgh’s city centre. The Royal Yacht Britannia has been visited by several world-famous people, including Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill, and potentially you too!

The floating palace of the British royal family is a sublime tourist attraction nestled near the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre in Leith. With plenty of attractions to see within this royal household on the water, we’ll be breaking essential details to know and the top things to do on your visit. Sit tight and enjoy!

Important Details to Know

Before you board Britannia and explore the royal halls, remember these important details to make your trip successful. Firstly, the Royal Yacht Britannia allows guide dogs on the premises, with special considerations for hearing and recognised assistance dogs.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is also a Class 1 Wheelchair Access, allowing for highly accessible wheelchair service without assistance.

How to Get There

You may be asking yourself, “Where is the Royal Yacht Britannia?”. Luckily, the Royal Yacht Britannia is located 20 minutes away from Edinburgh’s city centre , in the picturesque region of Leith. The Visitor Centre can be found on the second floor of the Ocean Terminal Centre and can be reached using a variety of transport methods.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is only a 20-minute drive from the city centre and a 40-minute drive if you’re arriving from Edinburgh Airport. From the city centre, follow the signs north towards Leith and then the signs for the Royal Yacht Britannia.

There is parking available within the Ocean Terminal Visitor Centre, with Level E the closest place to park. Free car parking and disability-access parking are available.

The Train Station near Royal Yacht Britannia is the Edinburgh Waverly Station. Further passage via car, tram, bike, or bus from the station is necessary to reach the attraction and visitor centre. You can also arrive in style on the Edinburgh Orient Express.

Edinburgh’s Lothian Bus Services can conveniently reach the Royal Yacht Britannia via the 10, 16, 34, and 35 lines. Ticket prices for the service vary, but generally, a single ticket costs £2, and a day ticket costs £5.

Opening Times

Opening times for the Royal Yacht Britannia vary throughout the year, but the attraction is generally open from 10:00 to 17:00, with longer hours during the summer months (April through September). Last admissions are two hours before closing time, so ensure you do not arrive afterwards to avoid disappointment.

Ticket Prices

Royal Yacht Britannia tickets for adults cost £19.50 per person, Child (5-17) tickets cost £9.25 per person, and Family Tickets cost £50.00 (2 Adults, up to 3 Children). Children under 5 enter for free.

It’s recommended that tickets be pre-booked online. Expect your tour through this visitor attraction to take about an hour and a half.

Attractions

Now that all the logistics and tickets are sorted, you can look forward to seeing why the Royal Yacht Britannia was voted the Best UK Attraction by Tripadvisor Travellers Choice in 2023. The Britannia Royal Yacht has 40 years of incredible history and unique insight to offer its visitors, with many of its features maintained precisely the same as when the royal family used it.

Here are the top attractions you should take the time to see when you visit Royal Yacht Britannia

Stop by the Visitor Centre First

Before setting foot on the mighty vessel, stop by the Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Centre first! It’s located at the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre, and has all the necessary information you’d need before hopping aboard the Britannia.

If you have any questions about the attraction, queries about your ticket, or want to know where the gift shop is, then this is the place to ask.

Tour Britannia’s Five Decks

The Royal Family were sailing in opulence aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, and visitors can explore the five decks of the Royal Yacht Britannia interior and exterior to their heart’s content. There are countless things to see, but here are a few that you should not miss during your visit while aboard this racing yacht:

Explore the Sun Lounge

Welcome to Queen Elizabeth’s favourite room aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Sun Lounge. The late Queen would often enjoy her breakfast and afternoon meals within the Sun Lounge because of its relative solitude and stunning views it grants. Admire the polished wood and blue hues as you relive the sights and sounds that made this location the Queen Mother’s favourite.

Fans of the show “The Crown” will likely remember this iconic room from the series, although no actual filming took place within the Sun Lounge.

Engine Room

One of the highlights of the Royal Yacht Britannia is undoubtedly the gleaming Engine Room, which has remained almost unchanged since its construction in 1953. For a nearly 75-year-old relic, you wouldn’t be faulted for believing that it’s brand new! The polished chrome, white enamel, and black steam turbines offer a unique industrial flair that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world.

You can imagine the hustle and bustle of the room, filled with hot steam and engineers making the mighty vessel cut through the seven seas to their next port. The Engine Room is an immersive and well-maintained part of the Britannia that you can’t miss while aboard.

Royal Deck Tearoom

Once you’ve explored the interior of Royal Yacht Britannia and have worked up an appetite, there’s no better place to sate it than the Royal Deck Tearoom. You can enjoy freshly baked cakes and scones alongside a selection of sandwiches and soups, all with a view out to Leith Harbour from the “Rolls Royce of Ships”.

The Royal Deck Tearoom also has a selection of exquisite teas for you to enjoy, including the Champagne Cream Tea! There’s something surreal about sipping tea where the Royal Family once played cards, an experience you can only enjoy from the Royal Deck Tearoom aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh .

The Royal Deck Tearoom has limited capacity and is unable to take reservations or bookings, so guests should expect a first-come, first-served system. The Tearoom has wheelchair accessibility and is only available for those with an admissions ticket to the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Take an Audio Tour

You can learn about the fascinating history of the Royal Yacht Britannia through the attraction’s audio tour! Children especially will love the audio tour’s child-curated guide, which offers the chance to unleash their inner Captain and search the five decks of the Britannia for the Cuddly Corgis hidden away within.

For the adults, the audio tour will cover the Britannia’s history from its maiden voyage to the decommissioning ceremony that led it to be the attraction it is today. If you want additional insight and fun facts while exploring the ship, then the audio guide will be your best friend.

See the State Apartments

The State Apartments are another grand highlight of the tour within the Royal Yacht Britannia, featuring some of the world’s most iconic dining rooms, bedrooms, and staterooms. The list of important locations within the State Apartments should be shorter, but we’ve tried to cover the top sights to watch out for.

Firstly, the State Drawing Room. This atmospheric room has a lively energy, even when empty, and was host to the likes of Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, and Sir Noel Coward — who all loved playing the immaculate keys of the Welmar Baby Grand Piano that sits within the room.

The grandest room aboard the Britannia is the State Dining Room, whose guest list would make anyone’s jaw drop! The dining room has seen Churchill, Mandela, Clinton, and even Reagan. There are several easter eggs throughout the dining room, such as the giant whalebone that Prince Philip found on Deception Island or a wooden shark signed by the adults of Pitcairn Island.

In all their former glory, the State Apartments are the Royal’s bedrooms, including the Queen’s bedroom. While it may be tempting to jump into the bed and see what thread the Royal Family sleeps on, we ask you refrain from doing so, or the Royal Yachtsmen will be very upset with you.

Shop at the Royal Yacht Britannia Gift Shop

There’s nothing quite like some retail therapy to make you feel like a Royal after exploring the Britannia. Luckily, the gift shop aboard this royal vessel has terrific souvenirs to take home with you. There’s a little something for everyone, from miniature replicas of the Britannia to Royal paraphernalia and even Royal Navy equipment.

Enjoy Britannia’s Events

Throughout the year, the Royal Yacht Britannia comes alive with corporate and public events. You can purchase tickets during many of Scotland’s most famous holidays if you want to celebrate in an unparalleled setting. Live it up aboard Britannia during Hogmanay, Burns Supper, or Christmas — complete with live music, delicious food, and an unmatched atmosphere.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is also available for exclusive use, including private tours and events. This Royal ship is a magnificent setting for a reception or company year-end bash, so why not create a memorable place for your most important moments?

Interesting Facts About The Royal Yacht Britannia

What do you do to impress your friends and family with some interesting facts about the Royal Yacht Britannia during your visit? Remember these interesting facts and show off your Royal knowledge:

  • The marvelous gold and white binnacle situated on the Britannia’s veranda is actually originally part of the HMY Royal George (which was named after King George VI) — Queen Victoria’s royal yacht!
  • Below the silver-grey carpet within the State Dining Room is a lavish wooden dance floor, last used for Princess Anne’s lively 21st birthday celebration.
  • King Charles (then Prince Charles) and Princess Diana spent their honeymoon cruise aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1981.
  • Prince Philip kept a model replica of the HMS Magpie in his office aboard the Britannia, the first royal navy ship he commanded.
  • The beautiful and stately steering wheel at the ship’s helm was originally taken from the racing yacht HMY Britannia, which was built for King Edward VII in 1893. It’s one of the oldest parts of the ship!

Now that you’re well equipped with facts to tackle the Royal Yacht Britannia, why not book your trip to Scotland’s most beloved tourist attraction and enjoy its magnificence in person?

More Scottish Museums to Visit

  • Black Watch Museum
  • Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
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  • St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
  • Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life
  • Surgeons’ Hall Museum
  • V&A Dundee

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The Royal Yacht Britannia

Please note, due to ongoing construction work, Britannia Visitor Centre and Gift Shop are temporarily located on the ground floor of the centre, they will return to the 2nd floor in a new unit later in 2024.

Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction

Step aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia, Her Majesty The Queen’s former floating palace for over 40 years. Berthed at Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh, follow in the footsteps of Royalty to discover the heart and soul of this most special of Royal residences.

Explore Britannia’s five decks with the complimentary audio handset tour, available in 30 languages.

The Britannia Experience

Discover what life was like on board Her Majesty The Queen's floating Royal residence. You can follow in the footsteps of world leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi. Tour highlights include the State Apartments and Royal Bedrooms, a sample of life below decks and the gleaming Engine Room.

Royal Deck Tea Room

Enjoy delicious, and freshly prepared, home-made food, stunning views and a warm welcome at the Royal Deck Tea Room. Previously where the Royal Family enjoyed drinks receptions, sumptuous buffets, or played deck games. Now you can treat yourself with specialty teas, coffees and lunch in spectacular surroundings.

Britannia's fabulous Gift Shop has a great range of exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food and nautical items. Hand-picked by our team of experts, you'll find some of the bestsellers online, with the full range available in the Gift Shop.

Visit: www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/plan-your-visit/whats-on/

Please note, The Royal Yacht Britannia is closed on 1 January and 25 December. The last admission to the Royal Yacht on 24 December is 2:30pm

Jan* - Mar 10am-3pm (last admission) Apr - Aug 9.30am-4pm (last admission) Sept 10am - 4pm (last admission) Oct 10am - 3.30pm (last admission) Nov - Dec* 10am - 3pm (last admission) *Closed 1st Jan & 25th Dec

Visit The Royal Yacht Britannia Website

Tel: 0131 555 5566

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The Royal Yacht Britannia

royalty queen elizabeth ii visit to the cayman islands

The Royal Yacht Britannia Has a Fascinating History—Here's Everything You Should Know

It doesn't get more majestic than Queen Elizabeth II's yacht.

“Britannia is special for a number of reasons,” Prince Phillip once said. “Almost every previous sovereign has been responsible for building a church, a castle, a palace or just a house. The only comparable structure in the present reign is Britannia. As such she is a splendid example of contemporary British design and technology.”

Although she retired from service in 1997, today the Britannia, one of many of the world's grandest yachts , is docked in Edinburgh, where she is open as a visitors’ attraction and host of private events. Below we give you all the Royal Yacht Britannia facts you might want to know, from who owns the yacht now to why she was decommissioned to how fast she is to how to get tickets to visit. Britannia was, after all, the one place the queen said she could “truly relax,” so why not see why for yourself?

queen royal yacht britannia in usa

Royal Yacht Britania Facts and History

On February 4, 1952, John Brown & Co shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, received the order from the Admiralty to build a new Royal Yacht to travel the globe and double as a hospital ship in times of war, according to the royal yacht's website . King George VI passed away two days after, sadly, and so on April 16, 1953, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II announced the yacht’s new name as the ship was revealed.

"I name this ship Britannia,” she said. “I wish success to her and all who sail in her." Britannia was commissioned into the Royal Navy in January 1954 and by April of that year sailed into her first overseas port: Grand Harbour, Malta.

royal yacht britannia facts staircase

The queen and The Duke of Edinburgh worked with interior designer Sir Hugh Casson for the ship to serve as both a functional Royal Navy vessel and an elegant royal residence. Queen Elizabeth II selected deep blue for Britannia’s hull, instead of the more traditional black. Its Naval crew included 220 Yachtsmen, 20 officers, and three season officers—plus a Royal Marines Band of 26 men during Royal Tours.

All of them might have had to change uniform up to six times a day, so the laundry service on board worked nonstop. The yacht also engaged in British overseas trade missions known as Sea Days and made an estimated £3 billion for the Exchequer between 1991 and 1995 alone.

royal yacht britannia facts drawing room

The ship’s wheel was taken from King Edward VII’s racing yacht, also named Britannia, according to Boat International , and the 126-meter ship could reach speeds of 22.75 knots, or a seagoing cruising speed of 21 knots, according to Super Yacht Times . Other fun facts: The yacht could produce her own fresh water from sea water, and shouting was forbidden aboard to preserve tranquility, favoring hand signals for Naval orders instead.

royal yacht britannia facts dining room

Over the next 44 years, the Britannia would sail the equivalent of once around the world for each year, in total visiting 600 ports in 135 countries. Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones were the first of four couples to honeymoon on the ship in 1960, gifting them all privacy to sail to secluded locations. Prince Charles and Princess Diana followed in 1981 on the Mediterranean as well as Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips before them in 1973 in the Caribbean and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986 in the Azores.

diana and william

For family vacations aboard the ship, games, treasure hunts, plays, and picnics were organized, and on warm days the children could play in an inflatable paddling pool on the Verandah Deck.

royal yacht britannia facts sun lounge

In the Sun Lounge, the queen especially enjoyed taking breakfast and afternoon tea with views through large picture windows, a space you can see replicated in the TV show The Crown. Although no filming took place on board the Britannia for the show, researchers ensured scenes aboard it were accurate. In the queen’s bedroom, the resemblance is seen down to the decorative wall light fittings and embroidered silk panel above her bed that had been specially commissioned.

queen crying at britannia

In 1997, the ship was decommissioned after the government decided the costs to refit it would be too great. On its final day in her service that followed a farewell tour around the U.K., the queen openly wept as the Band of HM Royal Marines played "Highland Cathedral."

"Looking back over 44 years we can all reflect with pride and gratitude upon this great ship which has served the country, the Royal Navy and my family with such distinction," Queen Elizabeth II said. All clocks on the ship stopped at 15:01, the exact time the Queen disembarked from the yacht for the final time, and they would remain at that time until the present.

royal yacht britannia facts clock

How to Tour the Royal Yacht Britania

Today the yacht is owned by Royal Yacht Britannia Trus t, and all revenue it generates goes to the yacht’s maintenance and preservation. Ticketed entry allows you to step into state rooms like the Sun Lounge, the State Dining Room and State Drawing Room, in addition to the working side of the ship in the Crew’s Quarters, Laundry and gleaming Engine Room. Along the way you will see original artifacts from the shop—95 percent of which is on loan from The Royal Collection.

the royal yacht britannia

How to Visit the Royal Britania

You can visit the Britannia any day of the year on Edinburgh’s waterfront. Hours vary by season, and you can find them listed and purchase tickets on the yacht’s website . Private tours are also available, and you can visit the Royal Deck Tearoom, where the Royal Family hosted cocktail parties and receptions, for drinks, meals and scones. Additionally, the Britannia hosts special ticketed events for New Year’s and other occasions, and event spaces can be booked as well.

While you are in Edinburgh, you can also stay on the Fingal , a neighboring yacht-turned-floating-hotel, which is a seven-minute walk from the Britannia, and dine at its Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar, which serves breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, and cocktails.

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HMS Britannia: 10 facts about Queen Elizabeth's former royal yacht

From humanitarian missions to hosting royal honeymoons, the HMS Britannia has a fascinating history serving the British Royal Family for over four decades. When she was decommissioned in 1997, Queen Elizabeth II shed a tear in a rare display of emotion. The occasion marked the end of long succession for royal yachts dating back to the reign of Charles II. As the country prepares to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, we remember her beloved Britannia .

1. Britannia was launched in 1953

Britannia was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II following the death of her father and was launched from John Brown & Co. Ltd - the shipyard that built the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary cruise liners - in 1953. However, there was to be no traditional Champagne-smashing against her bow. In a post-war Britain, Champagne was considered too extravagant so instead, a bottle of Empire wine was selected to do the honours at her official launch ceremony.

2. There are three masts on board

Unlike her predecessors, Britannia possessed a more modern profile with a clipper bow and cruiser stern. The ship was designed with three masts: a 41-metre foremast, a  42-metre mainmast, and 36 metre mizzenmast. The last six metres of the main mast were placed on a hinge so she could pass under bridges.

3. Britannia logged over one million nautical miles

Between family vacations and official tours, Britannia logged over one million nautical miles, which roughly equates to one trip around the world for each of her 44 years in service.

4. The wheel was inherited

The ship’s wheel was taken from King Edward VII’s racing yacht, a 37-metre gaff-rigged cutter also named Britannia . She was a near sistership to Valkyrie II which challenged for the 1893 America's Cup, and won over 230 races in her lifetime. At the end of her life she was stripped of her spars and fittings - the wheel was saved and fitted on Britannia

5. The engine room was hyper-clean

The engine room was hyper-clean  Rumour has it that the engine room on Britannia was kept in such pristine condition that any visitors were made to wipe their feet on a door mat before entering.

6. Royal honeymoons were hosted on board

A number of royal couples chose to spend their honeymoons on Britannia given its privacy and security. Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones started the trend with a six-week sail between Mustique, Trinidad and Antigua, followed by Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, and Princess Diana and Prince Charles. The royal apartments were located on the shelter deck with access to a large veranda.

7. There were more than 200 crew on board

During royal tours, Britannia was manned by 220 yachtsmen, 21 officers and three season officers and a Royal Marine band of 26 on royal tours. Up until the 1970s, the crew had a daily ration of rum and she was the last Royal Navy vessel to have the crew sleep in hammocks.

8. Ready for war

Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in times of war. Although she was never used in this capacity, she did assist in the evacuation of refugees during the South Yemen civil war. The drawing room was used as a temporary dormitory for the evacuees.

9. The golden rivet

It was common for officers to send junior crew off on a fool’s errand to search for a single "golden rivet". It became a right of passage and engrained in maritime folklore. During a state visit, so the story goes, the Queen had caught wind of this elusive rivet and was keen to see it for herself, so the crew found some gold leaf and hastily created a golden rivet to present to Her Majesty.

10. Decomission

HMS Britannia was officially retired from royal service in 1997. Britannia  is now permanently berthed in Edinburgh and has been converted into a museum. To this day, all the clocks on board remained stopped on 3.01pm which is the exact time the Queen last disembarked the vessel.

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A voyage through the history of the HMY Britannia

Posted: July 19, 2023 | Last updated: March 24, 2024

<p>There's a long tradition of British royal yachts, dating back to 1660 and the reign of Charles II. During 44 years in royal service, Her Majesty's Yacht <em>Britannia</em>, also known as the Royal Yacht<em> Britannia</em>, sailed the equivalent of once round the world for each year, calling at over 600 ports in 135 countries, including the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. <em>Britannia</em> was decommissioned in 1997, and has so far not been replaced. But it's worth looking back over the illustrious service performed by the royal yacht.</p><p>Click through and be reminded of when <em>Britannia</em> ruled the waves.</p><p>You may also like: </p>

There's a long tradition of British royal yachts, dating back to 1660 and the reign of Charles II. During 44 years in royal service, Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia , also known as the Royal Yacht Britannia , sailed the equivalent of once round the world for each year, calling at over 600 ports in 135 countries, including the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Britannia was decommissioned in 1997, and has so far not been replaced. But it's worth looking back over the illustrious service performed by the royal yacht.

Click through and be reminded of when Britannia ruled the waves.

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<p><em>Britannia</em>'s predecessor, HMY <em>Victoria and Albert III</em>, is pictured at anchor in the Solent off Portsmouth harbor. Built for Queen <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/226263/incredible-photos-from-the-victorian-era" rel="noopener">Victoria</a>, this was the first royal yacht not to be powered by sail. She was decommissioned in 1939.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

HMY Victoria and Albert III

Britannia 's predecessor, HMY Victoria and Albert III , is pictured at anchor in the Solent off Portsmouth harbor. Built for Queen Victoria , this was the first royal yacht not to be powered by sail. She was decommissioned in 1939.

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<p>The new Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em> enters the water after her launch on April 16, 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II at John Brown's shipyard on Clydebank, Scotland. The 126-m (413-ft) <em>Britannia</em> was designed with three masts and could reach a seagoing cruising speed of 21 knots.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/179932?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Do you recognize these big TV stars from 10 years ago?</a></p>

Launch of new yacht

The new Royal Yacht Britannia enters the water after her launch on April 16, 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II at John Brown's shipyard on Clydebank, Scotland. The 126-m (413-ft) Britannia was designed with three masts and could reach a seagoing cruising speed of 21 knots.

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<p>A crowd gathers to bid the Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em> farewell upon her departure from Portsmouth, England, on April 14, 1954 on her maiden voyage to Malta. The vessel was ultimately bound for Tobruk, in Libya.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Maiden voyage

A crowd gathers to bid the Royal Yacht Britannia farewell upon her departure from Portsmouth, England, on April 14, 1954 on her maiden voyage to Malta. The vessel was ultimately bound for Tobruk, in Libya.

<p>On board the vessel were <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/celebrity/409618/hrh-prince-charles-a-life-in-pictures" rel="noopener">Prince Charles</a> and Princess Anne, pictured here before the yacht's departure shaking hands with the Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth dockyard. The Queen Mother is keeping an eye on the royal youngsters.</p>

Royal passengers

On board the vessel were Prince Charles and Princess Anne, pictured here before the yacht's departure shaking hands with the Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth dockyard. The Queen Mother is keeping an eye on the royal youngsters.

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<p>Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh embarked on <em>Britannia</em> for the first time in Tobruk on May 1, 1954, at the end of the royal couple's Commonwealth tour. They are pictured with King Idris and other officials.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Embarking for the first time

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh embarked on Britannia for the first time in Tobruk on May 1, 1954, at the end of the royal couple's Commonwealth tour. They are pictured with King Idris and other officials.

<p>London crowds gather along the banks of the River Thames to greet <em>Britannia</em>, with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh aboard, as it passes under Tower Bridge on its way to Westminster on May 15, 1954, at the end of its inaugural voyage.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/203697?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Star complainers: the celebs who hate fame</a></p>

Welcome home

London crowds gather along the banks of the River Thames to greet Britannia , with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh aboard, as it passes under Tower Bridge on its way to Westminster on May 15, 1954, at the end of its inaugural voyage.

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<p>Chicago's July 1959 royal welcome for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was overwhelming. Some 6,000 vessels of all sizes jammed the harbor area to greet <em>Britannia</em> after having sailed the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway. Queen Elizabeth, the first British monarch to visit Chicago, is pictured being welcomed by Illinois Governor William Straton. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower had been a guest during part of the voyage, having been invited to take part in the opening ceremony of the St. Lawrence Seaway.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Chicago welcome

Chicago's July 1959 royal welcome for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was overwhelming. Some 6,000 vessels of all sizes jammed the harbor area to greet Britannia after having sailed the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway. Queen Elizabeth, the first British monarch to visit Chicago, is pictured being welcomed by Illinois Governor William Straton. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower had been a guest during part of the voyage, having been invited to take part in the opening ceremony of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

<p>Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh pass cheering Canadians and Americans during the royal couple's tour of Canada. They were in Windsor, Ontario, with <em>Britannia</em> and the American city of Detroit in the backdrop.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/238396?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> The world's ugliest (but coolest) dogs</a></p>

Canadian cheer

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh pass cheering Canadians and Americans during the royal couple's tour of Canada. They were in Windsor, Ontario, with  Britannia and the American city of Detroit in the backdrop.

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<p>HMY <em>Britannia</em> soon proved her worth as an ideal honeymoon cruise vessel. Princess Margaret and her husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, were the first royal couple to enjoy their honeymoon at sea, in 1960. Their voyage started a tradition where the yacht could access secluded locations away from the world's press to provide just-married British royalty with the privacy they desired.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Honeymoon cruise

HMY Britannia soon proved her worth as an ideal honeymoon cruise vessel. Princess Margaret and her husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, were the first royal couple to enjoy their honeymoon at sea, in 1960. Their voyage started a tradition where the yacht could access secluded locations away from the world's press to provide just-married British royalty with the privacy they desired.

<p>Escorted by an armada of small craft, <em>Britannia</em>, bearing Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives off Sydney Heads during their tour of Australia in 1963. Three escorting destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy follow in her wake.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/291814?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Social situations that introverts dread</a></p>

Britannia down under

Escorted by an armada of small craft, Britannia , bearing Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives off Sydney Heads during their tour of Australia in 1963. Three escorting destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy follow in her wake.

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<p>Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne, and Earl Mountbatten on board the Britannia at Spithead on the south coast of England during the Queen's review of the 62 ships of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fleet. This ceremony formed part of NATO's 20th-anniversary celebrations. </p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

NATO review

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne, and Earl Mountbatten on board the Britannia at Spithead on the south coast of England during the Queen's review of the 62 ships of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fleet. This ceremony formed part of NATO's 20th-anniversary celebrations. 

<p>Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh admire a gift received after the monarch opened the new accommodation of Lloyd's Register of Shipping at the society's City of London headquarters. The gift was a silver model replica of the Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em>.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/339710?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Bugshots: insects as you've never seen them before!</a></p>

Model couple

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh admire a gift received after the monarch opened the new accommodation of Lloyd's Register of Shipping at the society's City of London headquarters. The gift was a silver model replica of the Royal Yacht Britannia .

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<p>Queen Elizabeth II with her sons Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, and Prince Charles on the deck of the <em>Britannia</em> as they arrive to attend the Olympic Games on July 1, 1976 in Montreal, Canada. Absent is Princess Anne, who was an athlete competing for the British equestrian team at the Summer Olympic Games that year.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Princes on deck

Queen Elizabeth II with her sons Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, and Prince Charles on the deck of the Britannia as they arrive to attend the Olympic Games on July 1, 1976 in Montreal, Canada. Absent is Princess Anne, who was an athlete competing for the British equestrian team at the Summer Olympic Games that year.

<p>The Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 marked the 25th anniversary of the monarch's accession to the British throne. Among the series of year-long events was the Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet at Spithead, off Portsmouth in southern England. <em>Britannia</em> sailed past dozens of Royal Navy vessels anchored in the Solent on June 28, 1977.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/349594?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Celebrity siblings that fame forgot</a></p>

Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II

The Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 marked the 25th anniversary of the monarch's accession to the British throne. Among the series of year-long events was the Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet at Spithead, off Portsmouth in southern England. Britannia sailed past dozens of Royal Navy vessels anchored in the Solent on June 28, 1977.

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<p>Later in the summer, the Queen and Prince Philip embarked on a Commonwealth visit that first brought them to island nations such as Fiji and Tonga. Pictured is the royal couple receiving and being entertained by Fijian folk and traditional dancers on board  <em>Britannia</em>. The voyage continued later with longer stints in New Zealand and Australia.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Onboard entertainment

Later in the summer, the Queen and Prince Philip embarked on a Commonwealth visit that first brought them to island nations such as Fiji and Tonga. Pictured is the royal couple receiving and being entertained by Fijian folk and traditional dancers on board  Britannia . The voyage continued later with longer stints in New Zealand and Australia.

<p>In October 1977, the Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em> anchored off Road Harbor during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the British Virgin Islands as part of her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/350323?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Celebs reveal the stories behind their stage names</a></p>

Caribbean tour

In October 1977, the Royal Yacht Britannia anchored off Road Harbor during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the British Virgin Islands as part of her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.

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<p>A six-nation tour of the Gulf States, the first ever by a female Head of State, took place in early 1979. The Queen and Prince Philip flew into the region before setting sail from Kuwait aboard <em>Britannia</em>.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Tour of the Gulf States

A six-nation tour of the Gulf States, the first ever by a female Head of State, took place in early 1979. The Queen and Prince Philip flew into the region before setting sail from Kuwait aboard Britannia .

<p>The newly-wedded Prince Charles and <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/395304/how-princess-dianas-sons-continue-her-legacy-today" rel="noopener">Diana</a>, Princess of Wales leave Gibraltar on <em>Britannia</em> for their honeymoon cruise, which commenced on July 31, 1981.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/359032?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Ces acteurs ont détesté leur personnage à l'écran</a></p>

Charles and Diana's honeymoon

The newly-wedded Prince Charles and Diana , Princess of Wales leave Gibraltar on Britannia for their honeymoon cruise, which commenced on July 31, 1981.

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<p>Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with US President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy on board <em>Britannica</em> during an official tour of America in 1983. A banquet was held on the vessel on March 4, 1983 to celebrate the Reagan's wedding anniversary.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Presidential welcome

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with US President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy on board Britannica during an official tour of America in 1983. A banquet was held on the vessel on March 4, 1983 to celebrate the Reagan's wedding anniversary.

<p>The Reagan's dined in <em>Britannia</em>'s grand dining room (pictured), which could host up to 56 guests. The dining room was set within the ship's royal apartments and included a lounge, drawing room, and guest bedrooms.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/394229?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> All the ways Leonardo DiCaprio spends his millions</a></p>

Dining in style

The Reagan's dined in Britannia 's grand dining room (pictured), which could host up to 56 guests. The dining room was set within the ship's royal apartments and included a lounge, drawing room, and guest bedrooms.

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<p>This is the menu for dinner when Queen Elizabeth entertained President Reagan and other dignitaries on the Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em> during the royal visit to San Francisco, California.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

What's on the menu?

This is the menu for dinner when Queen Elizabeth entertained President Reagan and other dignitaries on the Royal Yacht Britannia during the royal visit to San Francisco, California.

<p>Joining Prince Charles and Princess Diana on their 17-day tour of Italy's sights and cities in April-May 1985 was Prince William and Prince Harry. The family are seen on board <em>Britannia</em> at Venice.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/394782?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> The most unbelievably expensive weddings in history </a></p>

Prince William and Prince Harry

Joining Prince Charles and Princess Diana on their 17-day tour of Italy's sights and cities in April-May 1985 was Prince William and Prince Harry. The family are seen on board Britannia at Venice.

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<p>Many Italians described the tour as a "second honeymoon" for the royal couple. Meanwhile, cities like Venice certainly provided a beautiful and historic backdrop for HMY <em>Britannia</em>.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

"Second honeymoon"

Many Italians described the tour as a "second honeymoon" for the royal couple. Meanwhile, cities like Venice certainly provided a beautiful and historic backdrop for HMY Britannia .

<p>In January 1986, Queen Elizabeth's luxury yacht rescued over 500 people of nearly 50 different nationalities from war-torn South Yemen and evacuated them to Djibouti. <em>Britannia</em> maneuvered close to a beach east of Aden to pick up civilians caught in the violent unrest after fighting broke out in the wake of a failed coup d'etat, which quickly escalated into civil war.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/398162?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> The most popular destinations for fall travel</a></p>

Humanitarian role

In January 1986, Queen Elizabeth's luxury yacht rescued over 500 people of nearly 50 different nationalities from war-torn South Yemen and evacuated them to Djibouti. Britannia maneuvered close to a beach east of Aden to pick up civilians caught in the violent unrest after fighting broke out in the wake of a failed coup d'etat, which quickly escalated into civil war.

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<p>Growing up fast, Prince William and Prince Harry wear baseball-style caps given to them by the crew of the Canadian frigate HMCS <em>Ottawa</em> after they toured the ship that was moored alongside <em>Britannia</em> on the Toronto waterfront. Charles and Diana were in Canada in late October 1991 as part of a royal tour.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Give us a wave

Growing up fast, Prince William and Prince Harry wear baseball-style caps given to them by the crew of the Canadian frigate HMCS Ottawa after they toured the ship that was moored alongside Britannia on the Toronto waterfront. Charles and Diana were in Canada in late October 1991 as part of a royal tour.

<p>June 6, 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. To mark the historic occasion, <em>Britannia</em> and her royal passengers joined a colorful fleet review off Portsmouth and Gosport, in southern England.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/425531?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Take the coronavirus quiz: Are you overreacting or being safe?</a></p>

D-Day commemorations

June 6, 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. To mark the historic occasion, Britannia and her royal passengers joined a colorful fleet review off Portsmouth and Gosport, in southern England.

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<p>The Queen, Heads of State, and their wives aboard the Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em> for the D-Day 50th anniversary celebrations, US President Bill Clinton among them. Besides hosting politically- and diplomatically-themed functions, Britannia held numerous "Sea Days"— British overseas trade missions to promote business, trade, and industry around the globe.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

VIP photograph

The Queen, Heads of State, and their wives aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia for the D-Day 50th anniversary celebrations, US President Bill Clinton among them. Besides hosting politically- and diplomatically-themed functions, Britannia held numerous "Sea Days"— British overseas trade missions to promote business, trade, and industry around the globe.

<p>Among the many VIPs who wined and dined onboard <em>Britannia</em> was President Nelson Mandela, pictured here in 1995. Other guests welcomed onboard over the years include Winton Churchill and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/433850?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=474709v1en-us"> Celebrity couples with taller women</a></p>

VIP guests and celebrities

Among the many VIPs who wined and dined onboard Britannia was President Nelson Mandela, pictured here in 1995. Other guests welcomed onboard over the years include Winton Churchill and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.

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<p>The handover ceremony of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, which marked the transfer of sovereignty over the territory from the UK to China, was the Royal Yacht's final foreign mission. <em>Britannia</em> had been scheduled for decommissioning.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Final foreign mission

The handover ceremony of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, which marked the transfer of sovereignty over the territory from the UK to China, was the Royal Yacht's final foreign mission. Britannia had been scheduled for decommissioning.

<p><em>Britannia</em> is pictured returning to Portsmouth in November 1997. The vessel would be decommissioned the following month. Thousands of well-wishers lined the shore and gathered at the entrance to the harbor to witness the historic moment as the grand old lady of the seas arrived at the end of her farewell tour of Britain.</p>

Time to disembark

Britannia is pictured returning to Portsmouth in November 1997. The vessel would be decommissioned the following month. Thousands of well-wishers lined the shore and gathered at the entrance to the harbor to witness the historic moment as the grand old lady of the seas arrived at the end of her farewell tour of Britain.

<p>On December 11, 1997, after 44 years in royal service, Britannia was retired from the seas. The late Queen, normally undemonstrative, was seen wiping away a tear during the decommissioning service, which was also attended by Prince Philip and Prince Charles.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Tearful farewell

On December 11, 1997, after 44 years in royal service, Britannia was retired from the seas. The late Queen, normally undemonstrative, was seen wiping away a tear during the decommissioning service, which was also attended by Prince Philip and Prince Charles.

<p>HMY <em>Britannia</em> sailed to Scotland and began a new role as a visitor attraction moored in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh.</p>

HMY Britannia sailed to Scotland and began a new role as a visitor attraction moored in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh.

<p><em>Britannia</em> still hosts the occasional royal get-together. Pictured on July 29, 2011 are Kate and William arriving for an evening reception onboard the royal yacht to celebrate the impending wedding of Zara Phillips (the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II) and Mike Tindall.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Still a royal favorite

Britannia still hosts the occasional royal get-together. Pictured on July 29, 2011 are Kate and William arriving for an evening reception onboard the royal yacht to celebrate the impending wedding of Zara Phillips (the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II) and Mike Tindall.

<p>Today the Royal Yacht <em>Britannia</em> is one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions.</p><p>Sources: (SuperYacht Times) (Royal Yacht Britannia) (CBC Archives) (The Royal Watcher) (United Press International) (AP News)</p><p>See also: <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/celebrity/442917/all-aboard-vintage-photographs-of-celebrities-at-sea">All aboard! Vintage photographs of celebrities at sea</a></p>

Popular tourist attraction

Today the Royal Yacht Britannia is one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions.

Sources: (SuperYacht Times) (Royal Yacht Britannia) (CBC Archives) (The Royal Watcher) (United Press International) (AP News)

See also: All aboard! Vintage photographs of celebrities at sea

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IMAGES

  1. Royal Yacht 2004

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  2. The Royal Yacht Britannia

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  3. Gift & Souvenir Shop

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  4. Sneak Peek Inside The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh & Tour Review

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  5. Britannia

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  6. Gift & Souvenir Shop

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VIDEO

  1. Royal Yacht Britannia Sept 2011

  2. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh @billnguyen726

  3. Exploring Scotland's Majestic Royal Yacht Britannia

  4. the royal yacht britannia in Edinburgh

COMMENTS

  1. Gift & Souvenir Shop

    Britannia Gift Shop. Britannia's fabulous Gift Shop has a great range of exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food and nautical items, ready to be sent within the UK. Hand-picked by our team of experts, you'll find some of our bestsellers online, with the full range available from our Gift Shop in Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre.

  2. Britannia Souvenirs Browse

    Shop. A great range of exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food and nautical items. Our Hotel. Our luxury floating hotel, restaurant and exclusive use venue, Fingal. What's On. Discover what's on at Britannia! The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ.

  3. The Royal Yacht Britannia Official Website

    Our Hotel. Stay at our luxury floating hotel, Fingal, Tripadvisor's No1. UK Luxury Hotel, AA Hotel of the Year Scotland. The Royal Yacht Britannia is a five-star visitor attraction in Edinburgh. Britannia welcomes over 390,000 visitors a year from all over the world.

  4. Our Britannia Gift Shop...

    The Royal Yacht BRITANNIA. · September 22, 2022 ·. Our Britannia Gift Shop features a wonderful range of exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food and nautical items. Be sure to pop into our Gift Shop in Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre or browse online! royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/shop/. 54.

  5. HMY Britannia

    Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of the British monarchy.She was in their service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, and is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million ...

  6. The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh

    The Royal Yacht Britannia played host to some of the world's most famous people, from Nelson Mendela to Winston Churchill, but above all was home for the British Royal Family for over 40 years. ... Complete the Britannia experience with a visit to the Gift Shop in Ocean Terminal, where you'll find exclusive Britannia souvenirs, china, ...

  7. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Our Gift Shop is a great place to find a memento of your time aboard Britannia. For the information of others, Ocean Terminal, where The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed, is undergoing redevelopment, adding new leisure and retail businesses, as well as residential spaces. As part of this redevelopment, Britannia will gain an exciting new ...

  8. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Our Gift Shop is a great place to find a memento of your time aboard Britannia. For the information of others, Ocean Terminal, where The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed, is undergoing redevelopment, adding new leisure and retail businesses, as well as residential spaces. As part of this redevelopment, Britannia will gain an exciting new ...

  9. The Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Guide

    The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed at Leith Port in Edinburgh, next to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre. Ocean Terminal is a 15-minute drive from Edinburgh city centre, and the Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Centre is on the second floor. Address: Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ.

  10. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Royal Yacht Britannia used to be Queen Elizabeth's Palace on Water and is now Scotland's most popular tourist attraction. Known by many names such as Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, Queen Elizabeth's Yacht, HMY Britannia, etc., this Yacht was in the Queen's service for 44 years and sailed more than a million miles worldwide.. It is a perfect opportunity to see how the British Queen ...

  11. Royal Yacht Britannia

    FREE POST - Historical Flatware, Worn Silver Plate, Small Serving, Splayed Tines, Small Fork, HMS Victory, Enameled Maritime, Historical. (7k) £16.99. £19.99 (15% off) FREE UK delivery. The Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh, Scotland. High quality print of an original ink and watercolour sketch. Sold in a mount.

  12. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Step aboard Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace and experience this iconic attraction for yourself. Rated Tripadvisor's No.1 UK Attraction (AGAIN), Britannia is one of the most famous ships in the world…Royal Deck Tearoom. Only 15 minutes from Edinburgh City Centre. Lothian Bus services from Edinburgh city centre are - 10, 16, 34 ...

  13. Britannia Gift Shop. Ocean Terminal. Edinburgh

    The Gift Shop will return to the 2nd floor in a new unit later 2024. We have a great range of wonderful gifts for you to choose from including exclusive souvenir gifts, Royal gifts, china, toys, food presents, children's books and nautical items. For opening hours, see The Royal Yacht Britannia. Visit Britannia Gift Shop Website. Tel: 0131 ...

  14. Buy Edinburgh Royal Yacht Britannia tickets

    Tour The Royal Yacht Britannia, an on-water Royal residence for more than 40 years, which has taken the Royal Family on almost 1000 states visits, sailing for more than 1 million nautical miles. ... This product is sold by VisitBritain Shop and supplied by Royal Yacht Britannia. Select options for prices. From: $26.00.

  15. Secrets of the Royal Yacht Britannia

    It was a struggle to get the royal car on board. When the 412-ft yacht was built in 1953, it was considered important that it had a garage to house the Queen's Rolls Royce. However, getting the ...

  16. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Step aboard Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace and experience this iconic attraction for yourself. Rated Tripadvisor's No.1 UK Attraction (AGAIN), Britannia is one of the most famous ships in the world…Royal Deck Tearoom. Only 15 minutes from Edinburgh City Centre. Lothian Bus services from Edinburgh city centre are - 10, 16, 34 ...

  17. Royal Yacht Britannia Museum, Leith

    Queen Elizabeth once said that the Royal Yacht Britannia was the only place she could truly relax, and we're inclined to agree. After 968 official voyages worldwide, which counted for over 1 million nautical miles to 135 countries, the Royal Yacht Britannia is now a tourist attraction just two miles from Edinburgh's city centre. The Royal Yacht Britannia has been visited by several world ...

  18. Royal Yacht Britannia

    Step aboard Queen Elizabeth II's former floating palace and experience this iconic attraction for yourself. Rated Tripadvisor's No.1 UK Attraction (AGAIN), Britannia is one of the most famous ships in the world…Royal Deck Tearoom. Only 15 minutes from Edinburgh City Centre. Lothian Bus services from Edinburgh city centre are - 10, 16, 34 ...

  19. The Royal Yacht Britannia

    The Royal Yacht Britannia. Please note, due to ongoing construction work, Britannia Visitor Centre and Gift Shop are temporarily located on the ground floor of the centre, they will return to the 2nd floor in a new unit later in 2024.

  20. Royal Yacht Britannia Facts Everyone Should Know—and How to Visit

    Royal Yacht Britania Facts and History. On February 4, 1952, John Brown & Co shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, received the order from the Admiralty to build a new Royal Yacht to travel the globe and double as a hospital ship in times of war, according to the royal yacht's website.King George VI passed away two days after, sadly, and so on April 16, 1953, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II ...

  21. HMS Britannia: 10 facts about the Queen's former royal yacht

    7. There were more than 200 crew on board. During royal tours, Britannia was manned by 220 yachtsmen, 21 officers and three season officers and a Royal Marine band of 26 on royal tours. Up until the 1970s, the crew had a daily ration of rum and she was the last Royal Navy vessel to have the crew sleep in hammocks. 8.

  22. On board the Royal Yacht Britannia

    These portraits were both produced aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia during The Duke of Edinburgh's world tour of 1956-7. The Duke, keen that Seago should 'find something to challenge his remarkable talent for landscape painting', had invited the artist to join him on the return voyage from Australia, taking in the Antarctic Peninsula.

  23. A voyage through the history of the HMY Britannia

    The new Royal Yacht Britannia enters the water after her launch on April 16, 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II at John Brown's shipyard on Clydebank, Scotland. The 126-m (413-ft) Britannia was designed ...

  24. Britannia and Liberty

    Appearing together on a UK coin for the very first time, the symbols of Britannia and Liberty unite to mark a groundbreaking collaboration between the Chief Engravers of The Royal Mint and the United States Mint.