My Royal Yacht Britannia Video Tour. A Fascinating insight into Royal life.
Watch my video tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia. You will see through all areas of the ship and hear the history, about life on-board and anecdotes about the 44 years of service during which Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family used it to tour the world.
I adore the ship. It is stylish, fascinating and enthralling – especially being a lover of the sea and also fascinated by the history and life of the Royal Family.
Read a review I did on a previous visit: https://www.tipsfortravellers.com/2012/03/royal-yacht-britannia-recommended-for-a-visit-this-diamond-jubilee-year.html
The Royal Yacht Britannia set sail in 1953. For 44 years the British Royal Family, and their guests, had exclusive access to the ship. Retired in 1997, it is now docked in Leith Edinburgh at a specially designed exhibition centre. You explore the Yacht’s history before fetching an audio guide to tour the ship itself.
This classic looking ship was adored by the Queen, who was close to tears when it was decommissioned. She did almost 1,000 journeys and over 1 million miles in the ship.
Some of the areas you tour, and my observations in the video are:
- Today areas like the Bridge feel basic, simple and almost crude. In its day it had the leading technology and systems.
- Over 240 crew were on-board, led by an Admiral. His quarters, just behind the Bridge, were large by sea-faring standards. They even included an dining table that could seat 8 people.
- Out on the deck nearby is one of the many unusual features of the Royal Yacht Britannia. A garage carrying the Queen’s own Rolls Royce! This was used when the ship docked on official visits.
- The Verandah deck is a large deck area at the rear of the ship. During voyages the Royal Family relaxed, played and entertained themselves. Today tourists entertain themselves on the deck by ringing the impressive Royal Yacht Bell!
- Just off the Verandah deck is a wood panelled informal and very casual sitting room. It is filled with comfortable summer furniture and has a bar. This leads directly into the bedroom area of the Royal Yacht Britannia.
- Not surprisingly, the most popular room to view is the Queen’s Bedroom. Most people comment on how small the single bed looks. The room is muted, simple and classically styled.
- Next to her room is the Duke of Edinburgh’s bedroom. Again it is simple, unfussy and it is also a touch more masculine.
- Across the hall is the bedroom called the “Honeymoon Suite”. It is the only one with a double bed. This was reportedly added for Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s Honeymoon.
- Back out on deck, you then climb up to the Royal deck Tea Room. Located where receptions used to be held, it now serves meals and teas. It has an extensive menu.
- The next part of the Royal Yacht Britannia tour takes you further down into the ship to explore the Officers’ Mess and Wardroom. There were up to 20 officers on-board. They had their own bar and an impressive dining room. Sometimes the Royal Marine Band members would play during meals.
- You see some of the kitchens next. Some were staffed by Chefs from the Royal Household. Today some of the kitchens are still operating to make items for the tea room and functions held on-board. The Glass & China Pantry displays the crockery from when the ship was in service, and the Silver Pantry the impressive silverware.
- The State Dining Room is one of the most impressive rooms on the ship. A busy venue during State Visits around the world, it now can be hired for corporate events and functions.
- Just outside the State Dining Room is the Queen’s Sitting Room. She would review documents sent to her in her official “red Box” everyday – sent to her everyday no matter where in the world she was. The Duke of Edinburgh had a similar sitting room nearby.
- All the Royal Apartment ares were designed by Sir Hugh Casson, with heavy influence from the Queen and Prince Philip on taste and style. Rooms like the huge formal sitting room have a real “country house” feel despite being on a ship.
- You then leave the splendour of the Royal Apartments to explore more crew areas, starting with the POs and Sergeant’s Mess. They also had their won bar, though shared, bunk bed style sleeping accommodation.
- A Royal Marine Band accompanied the Royal Family on Official Visits. Their sleeping quarters were also similarly cramped, shared and bunk beds.
- There is a shop now making and selling Fudge! Popular with tourists.
- Life on-board for the crew was segmented by rank. Even the Warrant Officers and CPOs had their own bar. Their accommodation was only slightly more private, and still shared.
- There is a tiny Post Room and then a large sick bay which has unusual bunk bed style patient beds and then a large, and rather ominous looking, operating theatre.
- The Engine Room is pristine and very clean looking. This was even the case when operating it seems. The Queen used to bring guests down to view it, as she was so proud of it.
- The 200 crew and Royal Family generated a huge amount of laundry, and the laundry is huge. Royal Laundry and Crew laundry was done on different days.
- The 200+ Yachtsmen ate in a more austere looking canteen. Their sleeping quarters were cramped and compact. They had a large bathroom area with rows of stainless steel basins and shower cubicles.
- After touring the ship, you can view the Royal Barge. Used to ferry the Royal Family from the Yacht to land, it was last used in 2012 at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla on the Thames in 2012.
- Finally there is a large gift shop back in the main building. It is full of Royal Yacht Britannia souvenirs and Royal themed gifts.
See all the photos I took of the Royal Yacht Britannia:
For 44 years the Royal Yacht Britannia took the Queen all around the world. It is a fascinating insight into Royal like and history. Highly recommend you visit it.
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