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The Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Guide

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,
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
Facilities:Restaurant, gift shop, toilets, audio guides, private tours
BUY TICKETSClick here to purchase


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

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.