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The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia is one of the most popular tourist attractions not only in Edinburgh but in the whole of Scotland. The ship is officially known as HMY Britannia, the letters HMY standing for Her Majesty's Yacht.

People often ask if photography is allowed on board. The answer is yes, in fact non-commercial photography is actively encouraged. There are some great photo opportunities available.

What Is Britannia?

As the name suggests, Britannia is a ship that was originally used by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family. It was both their home at sea and also served as the venue for diplomatic meetings and other functions. As you would expect of a royal residence it was - and still is - a spectacular floating palace.


There have been Royal Yachts since 1660. Britannia was the last of the line and also the grandest; she was the first to have true ocean going capability as opposed to just pootling around in shallow water.

Britannia was built in Scotland at the John Brown shipyard on Glasgow's Clydebank. Work began in 1952 and was completed a year later. She was named by the young Queen Victoria in April 1953. Instead of the traditional champagne the ship was christened with a bottle of Empire wine. Why? Because smashing a bottle of champagne was considered to be a wasteful luxury in the post-war years when ordinary people were still enduring food rationing.

The ship served the Royal Family until 1997 when she was decommissioned and berthed in Edinburgh where she now acts as a historic monument and tourist attraction.

Visiting Britannia

  • Where Is It?
    HMY Britannia is based in the Ocean Terminal are of Leith, North Edinburgh. Postcode EH6 6JJ
  • How To Get There
    Apparently the yacht is about 15 minutes drive from the city centre - but drivin in Edinburgh can be a pain. You might prefer to take one of the Lothian Buses services or maybe the Majestic bus tour.
  • Opening Times
    Opening times vary throughout the year, check with the venue. Currently (2016) last admission time varies from 3:30pm to 4:30pm, so don't leave your visit to the end of the day.
  • Prices
    The big question: how much does it cost? Currently (October 2016) prices are £15.00 for an adult (students and senior citizens £13.50) and £8.50 for a child (5 to 17). A family ticket for two adults and up to three children costs £43.50. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

This page last updated: 10-10-2016

This site is not associated with or endorsed by HMY Britannia. Please check with the venue for latest times and prices.