OK so my two children, boys aged 10 and 14, were not that into the idea of going to look around a boat that once belonged to the Queen. It was decommissioned in 1997 long before they were born, so fair enough. I on the other had always had a little bit of love for it, I’d seen in action a couple of times in the 90’s and always thought it was very glamorous. Situated next to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre I got a sneak-peak as I popped to the loo in Debenhams from which you can see her from; boats, as you know are always referred to the female.
You start right on the top deck in the wheelhouse which seems by today’s standards so quaint. Lots of knobs and dials, practically nothing at all high-tech. Did it really go around the 1,000,000 miles around the world? To visit each section you come and off the yacht via stairs as you go down and finally end up in the launch (you can go back up via a list). Every level has something joyous to look at, everything takes you right back in time and you it feels like you on the set of a 50’s Grace Kelly movie. Each room from the formal dining room, to the bar to the bedrooms, feels so homely and cosy you have to remind yourself you are on the sea. You get such and insight on to what life would have been like, as much has been left as it was, including glasses, bottles of champagne and all decorations.
No wonder the Queen nearly shed a tear when she was decommissioned. It must have been a place of real privacy and relaxation, a great place to spend time with the family and get away from it all, away from prying eyes.
You get given a hand-held audio guide (child version also available) and you can click at your leisure when you see the relevant number. You get told some fascinating facts, such as who has been on board, the events held, the gifts given from various travels.
All the staff were so lovely and helpful, with even one posted by the ship’s bell to take a photo for you, and they look so cool in their tartan trousers!
What did my boys think? From the moment they stepped on board, they were hooked. Of course, they liked things like the engine room, wheelhouse and spears in the dining room. But they loved hearing all about the history, who worked on board, where the crew slept etc They especially loved the fact a Phantom Rolls Royce used to travel on board as well! I haven’t put too many pictures as I think this would spoil your visit as there is so much to absorb, also keep an eye out for the beautiful details such as the wood and brass work.
If you fancy, you can take afternoon tea on the royal deck, which looked simply divine actually prepared on board. The gift shop has some impressive things to buy and we settled on a fridge magnet and tea towel. Whatever you think about the royal family, you can help but be impressed by the piece of British history and what she did for Britain around the globe. The ship, which acted as the Queen’s private yacht between 1954 and 1997, In her latter years Britannia is estimated to have brought in £3bn of commercial trade deals. Now as Scotland’s second most popular visitor attraction after Edinburgh Castle, she is now bringing a new economy to the area, with jobs and tourism and that is another lease of life I hope continues long into the future. We then popped to Wagamama for lunch in the Ocean Terminal, after all we had been given a taste for international travels whislt on board!
Open all year round, adults £15.50, children aged 5-17 £13.75, under 5’s free. Other ticket prices available. Please check the website before making your booking or trip.