Sunday, March 4, 2018

Royal Yacht Britannia and The Ship on the Shore

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake.
The great affair is to move.

~Robert Louis Stevenson
Born Edinburgh, 1850

Day 3 part II

The Royal Yacht Britannia
Leith Harbor, Scotland
Launched April 16, 1953

Friends of my parents told them they had to see the Britannia and it was definitely high on their "to do" list. I must admit I didn't really have a huge urge to see it but I liked the idea of heading to the coast in the afternoon and we had a rental car, so what the heck?! Let's go! 

This old film reel is fun! The Queen launching the Britannia!

The ship was decommissioned in 1994 but there is still quite a bit of entertaining on board. In fact, the night before our visit, someone said there had been a dinner that William and Kate attended. 

Members of the Royal Family do attend functions there but the queen hasn't been on board since it was decommissioned. We read that when she left for the last time, it was the only time the public saw her get so emotional. 

The ship is 412 feet, 3 inches in overall length, maximum breadth moulded 55 feet. It's big.

The sun lounge (following photo) was her majesty's favorite room on the Britannia. Lots of teak and the light was beautiful. I don't know if there was the toile and stripes back in the day but to my eye it was definitely the best looking room. There was a bar, a record player, board games for the kids and family to play together and of course, the view.


Here is the little bar setup in the sun lounge. Apparently they'd also have their afternoon tea and breakfast there and really, why not?

The Queen's Royal Bedroom

You can tell it's the 1950s. For one, look at the furniture. And secondly, Prince Philip had his own digs (with an interconnecting door). It was like Lucy and Ricky.

There was also a Honeymoon suite. That had one bed. It was used for Royal Honeymoons, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Upstairs, there is a huge area where you can have tea, snacks or a cocktail! We decided this would be a great little way to take a load off after our morning tour of Mary King's Close, the National Gallery of Scotland (previous post) and then Edinburgh Castle. 

My dad's cappuccino with a dusting of Royal Yacht!

Me in my new hat from Edinburgh! A little hat shop at the edge of Grassmarket called Fabhatrix. Fantastic little shop! I got another amazing hat there too!

To travel hopefully
is a better thing
than to arrive.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

The State Dining Room

This room hosted everyone from Nelson Mandela, to Reagan, Yeltsin and Churchill. They were busy getting ready for a dinner in there that night but we were still making our way through with our little audio handsets. They were very nice about it, even though I didn't see any other tourists on board by then.

You do have to check the website to make sure it's open and you can book your tickets ahead online.

There was also an officers dining room and another smaller dining room that we saw. I loved this little cabinet to put your napkin in when you're done with your meal!

The State Drawing Room

On the website it said that Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, and Noël Coward all played the baby grand on board.

Crew bunks!


We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world,
and the best we can fin in our travels
is an honest friend.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Higher up the chain of command ...

This was one corner of the rather large laundry room ...

There were a few different bars on board - none of these selling actual alcohol now. They had these hats you could put on and be silly and take pictures in, so of course we did!

That man is a success 
who has lived well, laughed often
and loved much.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Definitely a fun and interesting outing if you like boats, and the history of the royal family. It's said the Queen felt it was the one place she could truly be herself.

I'd done a little research on seafood restaurants in Leith and had gotten a reservation, the day before. As I mentioned, everything was very busy with the festivals going on and you really need reservations at many of the better restaurants.



We parked right along this street, close to the restaurant. I think I found it on Trip Advisor, if I recall correctly.

Keep your fears to yourself,
but share your courage with others.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

The Ship on the Shore

The place was even more charming in person and they played great old music. The bread was really good and we started with delicious Shetland Mussels with garlic and herbs. Yum! And I had a little Talisker Scotch, from the Isle of Skye. I don't think it was on the menu but we also ordered a huge salad and split it.

Looking toward the bar ...

While waiting for the entrees, I ran outside to take some photos!

Can you blame me? These might have to become paintings. There's really nothing like being on the water!

I ordered the one above ... Lemon sole Meuniere with French Beans and baby heritage potatoes and my parents got the whole Sea Bass with Sautéed baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes and Basil. The seafood in Scotland was incredible. 

I loved it!

Back out on the water ...


I could definitely spend more time in Leith! (Especially eating.) It's the old maritime center of Edinburgh and we barely scratched the surface.

Here is one more little film of the Britannia ...


There are no foreign lands.
It is the traveler only
who is foreign.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


donna baker said...

Oh such beauty. I could follow you around with your pictures forever. I've heard about Scotland, but your pictures makes it more real. I loved the ship; such history there and I can see why the Queen loved it there. So glad you enjoyed it so with your parents.

Amanda Summer said...

I just watched The Crown so it was fun to see that they did a good job with the interiors of the Britannia!

Cute shot of you in your red hat :))