One of the things I made sure to visit in Edinburgh was the Royal Yacht Britannia. I’m not terribly interested in the royal family, but the thought of visiting a boat was too exciting to pass up. The Britannia was the official ship of the royal family for holidaying and doing state visits and was built in the 50’s. Presumably it is easier to have all your stuff and assistants and security in one place rather than having to fly everyone or be fussing with trains. The ship was decommissioned in 1997 and I couldn’t quite figure out why. I guess these days it is too expensive and slow to travel by ship. It was quite an interesting tour. They had open for viewing: the queen’s apartments, sitting room, state dining room, engine room, laundry, the bridge, and the various living areas of crew and staff. I was disappointed not to see the kitchens but these are still in use for the onboard cafe (which I ate at!, see the Edinburgh food post for details) and anyone can book the state dining room for functions. How cool is that.
All of the laundry machinery, and the machinery in the engine room were all original to the building of the ship. And it all still works. What a lovely reminder that some things actually can be built to last.
They had made most of the royal apartments visible for viewing by cutting away a piece of the wall and putting in glass. But most of the other rooms were open to walk into. I think they kept those ones locked away because they had them set up with some of the royal family’s personal belongings, just as they would have been if they were on board.
The most odd thing about this ship is that you have to reach it by going to the third floor of a large shopping mall. You actually have to go through the mall to get to the ticket office and gift shop, and then you enter the ship starting at the top with the bridge. They didn’t have interior staircases open on board, presumably for safety reasons, instead there was a staircase tower built on the docks between the mall and the ship and you visited each level of the ship by going up or down the stairs and crossing to the ship via a gangway. And another odd thing, was while visting the crew areas on a lower level, one comes around a corner to find a fudge shop selling homemade fudge.
Oh, and I’m home now, but I wasn’t able to post on my last week of holidays so I will continue to post the last of my adventures over the next few days or possibly weeks.