A Guide To: The Royal Yacht Britannia

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Royal Yacht Britannia

The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Royal Yacht Britannia

About The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia is the former royal yacht of HM Queen Elizabeth II which now takes pride of place at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre at Leith in Edinburgh. Over the course of her working life, Britannia was the official residence of the Royal Family and sailed over 1 million miles around the world.

She’s 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 pass through her beautifully ornate rooms. This is an absolutely first-class attraction and although it’s a little way outside of Edinburgh’s city centre it’s definitely worth visiting, especially if you’re a fan of the Royal Family.



Things to do at The Royal Yacht Britannia

The ship is entered via the visitor centre in Ocean Terminal shopping centre, and as you walk round Britannia’s five main decks you can listen to an extremely interesting audio guide which explains what life was like onboard not only for the royal inhabitants but also for the Royal Navy crew which manned her during her voyages. Starting at the bridge you pass through the state apartments, the crew quarters and the engine room before finally reaching the Royal Racing Yacht, Bloodhound.

There are some fascinating parts of the ship which all members of the family will enjoy visiting including the huge state banquet room with its massive dining table and the gleaming Rolls Royce Phantom which used to travel on the ship along with the Royal Family.

If you fancy a little treat for yourself as you walk around the ship then you can pick up some really good homemade fudge in the NAAFI sweet shop, and there’s a very-much-recommended restaurant in the Royal Deck Tea Room where you can sample some top-notch Scottish cuisine, as well as coffee and sandwiches if you just want a snack.

The entry ticket includes free re-admittance for a year so if you ever come back to Ocean Terminal and fancy treating yourself to some first-class food you could always take a trip back just for the restaurant.

The Britannia hosts events throughout the year with two or three different themes running each month, so if you are able it’s highly recommended that you make a return visit before your annual pass runs out. Be aware though that in summer months it gets very busy, although that’s not surprising seeing as the attraction is constantly voted in the top five for the whole of Scotland.


The history of The Royal Yacht Britannia

Britannia was built at the Clydebank shipyards near Glasgow and successfully launched in 1953, with her maiden voyage to Malta beginning in 1954. During her 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 onboard 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 when she evacuated over 1000 refugees from the civil war in Aden in 1986, and she was ready to be converted into a hospital ship at a moments notice.

Britannia was eventually decommissioned in 1997 after mounting political pressure regarding the cost of maintenance made her continuing use impossible. She was finally tied up at Ocean Terminal where The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust was set up to look after her, and today over 300,000 visitors each year make the journey to walk around and experience her fascinating role in British history.


What I liked about this attraction

  • The ship is beautiful inside
  • The audio guide is really interesting
  • There’s more to see and do than you might think

What I didn’t like about this attraction

  • The tickets are expensive but then they do last you an entire year

Address and directions map

Ocean Terminal is 15 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh city centre, and the Royal Yacht Britannia Visitor Centre is on the second floor.

The Royal Yacht Britannia,
Ocean Terminal,


Contact details

Prices and opening times

Britannia is open every day, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Allow up to 2 hours for the tour, and longer if you wish to have a refreshment in the Royal Deck Tea Room. If you want to experience Britannia at a quieter time during August, start your visit before 11.00am.

Audio handset guide included in admission prices and available in 30 languages.


Ticket Price
Adult £16.50
Senior Citizen (aged 60+) £14.50
Child (aged 5-17) £8.75
Child (under 5) Free
Family (2 Adults & up to 3 Children) £46.00
Student (full-time, with ID) £14.50
Admission times First admission Last admission
January, February, March, November, December 10.00am 3.30pm
April, May, June, July, August, September 9.30am 4.30pm
October 9.30am 4.00pm




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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is your guide to the best attractions in Scotland. He loves exploring the Scottish wilds and is happiest when he's knee-deep in a muddy bog in the middle of nowhere.

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