Royal Yacht Britannia

{Edinburgh} The Royal Yacht Britannia with Kids

Last weekend, we visited the Royal Yacht Britannia, a 5 star visitor attraction berthed at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh. I had been before, but not with kids, so this time we visited as a family. 

Royal Yacht Britannia with Kids

The Royal Yacht Britannia was launched from a shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, in 1953. For over 40 years, it served the Royal Family as a floating residence for state visits, official receptions, family holidays and Royal honeymoons, and was eventually decommissioned in 1997. Now, visitors can tour the Royal Yacht and discover what life was like at sea, both for the Royal Family and the yachtsmen who served on board. You can view the elegantly furnished state apartments, as well as the admiral’s and crews’s quarters, including the laundry and engine rooms.  Standing on the bridge and pretending to navigate the Royal Yacht was one of the highlights of our visit for the boys. 

Royal Yacht Britannia with Kids

There is also the Royal Deck Tea Room, where you can enjoy teas, coffees and lunch in the same location the Royal Family would previously have had receptions or played deck games. Though sadly the tea room was closed on our particular visit. 

Royal Yacht Britannia with Kids

The tour of the Royal Yacht is self guided, but there is an excellent audio guide available at no extra cost, in 30 languages. You can borrow an audio handset, or if you prefer you can download the audio guide on to your phone (but please don’t be a twat and play it on your phone at full volume!) There is a children’s version of the audio guide too, though I believe that is only available in English. Because I had listened the the adult version on my previous visit, I opted to listen to the kids one this time and I thought it was very good. They pointed out little things for the kids, such as things to look for, things to count etc. My boys (age 5 & 9) listened to the whole thing and didn’t get bored. For children, there is also a corgi trail, where you have to see how many corgis you can find hidden around the yacht and at the end you get a free badge as a souvenir. 

Royal Yacht Britannia Corgi Trail

The estimated tour of the yacht is 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs, but we were there for over 2.5 hrs partly because sometimes you had to wait at bottle neck points to keep your distance to other visitors, and partly because my boys were so fascinated by the yacht and wanted to spend extra time looking. We really enjoyed our visit – and my eldest now wants to live on a big yacht!

Royal Yacht Britannia Corgi Trail

Note on visiting during Covid: Social distancing measures are in place, and there is hand sanitiser on all levels at the entry and exit points. The audio guides are wiped down after each user and then again before being handed out. You are required to wear masks on board, though we did manage to catch some fresh air in between when we were on the outdoor areas on the deck, which gave the kids a short breather from the masks. Up to date safety measure are detailed on the Royal Yacht’s website.


Visitor Info

The Royal Yacht Britannia is open year round, except on 1 January and 25 December. Opening times vary throughout the year, from 10am to 5pm in Winter, to 9:30am to 6:30pm at the peak of Summer. Last admission is two hours before closing, and once you are on board you can stay as long as you like. 

As the Royal Yacht is a highly popular visitor attraction, it is recommended to pre-book your tickets to guarantee admission. Full price adult tickets are £18.00, children age 5-17 pay half price. Children under 5 go free, and there are also discounted family tickets and concession tickets for students. All up to date information on opening times and admission prices can be found on the Royal Yacht’s website.

The Royal Yacht Britannia’s 5 decks are accessible via a central lift, and the tour is suitable for wheelchairs and prams up to 670mm wide. Toilets and baby changing facilities are available in the Visitor Centre and on board. See the Royal Yacht’s website for full accessibility details.

How to get there

The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed at Ocean Terminal in Leith, Edinburgh. The entrance and Visitor Centre is on the second floor of the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre. 

By Bus

The No. 11, 22 and 35 Lothian Buses go from Edinburgh city centre to Ocean Terminal.

By Car

There is free parking in Ocean Terminal. There are dedicated parent and child parking bays on level E of the blue car park. For satnav, the postcode is EH6 6JJ.

(edited 07/05/22 to add new photos)

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