Join Us on The Royal Yacht Britannia
On a gloriously sunny day last April we finally visited one of Edinburgh’s most interesting visitor attractions: The Royal Yacht Britannia. For 44 years it was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family, but is now berthed in Edinburgh. During this time Britannia travelled a total of 1,087,623 miles – the equivalent of once round the world for each year! We’d love to share some of the things we learned on our visit as well as a fabulous competition, so come aboard and keep reading!
You enter Britannia inside Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Leith. With five main decks to explore and a visit to the Royal Deck Tea Room in the middle it took us a few hours to finish (we somehow managed to skip the NAAFI sweet shop). Included in the ticket price is a great audio-tour that really brings the ship to life – there’s also a version for children. And believe it or not but each deck is fully accessible for buggies and wheelchairs!
Britannia’s maiden voyage took her from Portsmouth to Grand Harbour, Malta, departing on the 14th of April and arriving on the 22nd of April 1954.
The Royal Yacht Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in time of war, but the ship was never used for that. What Britannia has seen though, is its fair share of some of the world’s most famous people. In 1981 Charles and Diana took their honeymoon cruise on the ship. In 1986 Britannia evacuated more than 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Aden.
On the 11th of December 1997 Britannia was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and 12 other members of the Royal Family. Britannia is now cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered charity.
A visual tour of Britannia
We took quite a few photos on the tour, but will be sharing only a fraction of them – there’s a lot more to see on the ship!
After walking through an exhibition that prepares you for the tour itself, you finally enter the ship at the bridge – a very important part indeed!
Outside you’ll find a collection of signal flags used at sea – there are 40 flags used for international signalling and 20 special flags.
A retired Rolls-Royce Phantom V state car owned by the royal family in the 1960s is on display in a purpose-built garage.
The sun deck is where the Royal Family loved to relax and play games. The ornate binnacle you see in the photo houses the ship’s compasses and was carved from a solid piece of mahogany.
The sun lounge – the Queen’s favourite room. It had very nice atmosphere to it, so we can understand why.
The Queen’s bedroom. Did you know that it’s the only bedroom of a living monarch which can be viewed (behind a glass wall)?
Time for a break! We had a lovely cup of tea accompanied by delicious cheese scones and a bowl of hot soup. Perfect for the chilly day it was on our visit!
The tour continues. Here we’re in the officers’ mess – but you’ll have to go on the tour yourself to find out what the poor wombat on the fan was used for! (Tip: it has something to do with tennis…)
The State Dining Room has hosted grand receptions for kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers throughout the world. On the walls you can see the most interesting gifts guests brought along to the Royal Family when visiting.
The Queen also had an office on board where she would spend a fair few hours when she was ‘at home’ on the ship.
Simplicity was the key and the overall idea was to give an impression of a country house at sea – something the Drawing Room reflects perfectly we think.
Berthed alongside Britannia you’ll find the stunning 1936 racing yacht Bloodhound that was once owned by the Queen and Prince Philip. In July and August Bloodhound can be found in Oban Marina where she is available for private charter.
It was interesting to see where the 20 Officers and 220 Yachtsmen who supported the Captain (Commodore or Admiral in Britannia’s case) slept. When the Queen stayed on the ship she also brought up to 45 members of the Royal Household with her.
This room shows well what life on board was like for the people working on the ship.
As Britannia was originally intended to serve as a hospital ship it has a surgery as well.
The temperatures in the laundry room would rise well above what was comfortable.
The magnificent engine room – the true heart of the ship.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this very special Royal residence and think it’s totally worth going down to the harbour in Leith to experience all of this (and much more!) yourself.
Win 2 tickets to Britannia + a box of delicious fudge
The competition runs from noon on Tuesday the 18th of July until midnight on Sunday the 23rd of July 2017. The giveaway is open to everybody over 18 in the UK – but keep in mind that the tickets can only be used to enter Britannia in Edinburgh. The tickets are valid for one year. We will pick the winner within 24 hours after the competition has ended and contact the lucky person either through email or the social media platform they have used to enter the giveaway. This promotion is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
For a chance to win please choose from the options below:
1. Like Dickins Facebook pages and share the competition post on Dickins Facebook page.
2. Follow Dickins on Twitter and retweet one of the competition tweets on the Dickins Twitter account.
3. Follow Dickins on Instagram and tag a friend on the competition post on the Dickins Instagram account.
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