The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia

Simply Emma is a disability and travel blogger living in Scotland. On her blog, she shares her experiences of accessible holidays and days out. One of Emma’s favourite destinations is the Royal Yacht Britannia, so in this article, she tell us about one of her recent visits to what was once the Royal Family’s floating home.

The Royal Yacht Britannia was The Royal Family’s floating home for 43 years. Travelling over a million nautical miles all around the world before being decommissioned in 1997.

Now berthed in Leith, Edinburgh, Britannia has become one of the best tourist attractions in Scotland. Visitors can enjoy a complimentary self-guided tour of the yacht and feel like a Royal for the day.

Before the tour begins you will have the chance to explore the Visitor Centre where you can learn about the history of H.M. Royal Britannia with displays and photographs of the Royal Family throughout the years. Many of the photographs show the family enjoying their time together on the yacht, including the Queen helping make Christmas pudding and Princess Diana with Princes William and Harry.

Being a fully accessible visitor attraction, I was able to enjoy the whole tour along with my family due to there being no restrictions for wheelchair users. Britannia also has audio handsets for people with visual impairments, tour scripts in Braille as well as tablets with the tour in British Sign Language.

The tour starts on the top deck and the view from there is lovely. It’s great for watching all sorts of ships come and go from Leith Docks with the beautiful mountains in the background (you might even spot The Forth Bridge and The Queensferry Crossing on a clear day).

Each level of Britannia is accessed by a lift and areas such as the Verandah Deck are accessible via a gentle ramp. During our visit, we made sure to visit the Royal Deck Tea Room for tea and cakes, which we entered via one of Britannia’s original lifts within the Royal Bedroom area. Being an original lift, it is on the small side but there was enough space for my wheelchair plus two adults and one child. It’s important to note the lift can only accommodate wheelchairs that are 670mm wide.

There were several accessible toilets throughout the ship. I believe there was one on each level, apart from level 3 (The Bridge). The accessible toilets had everything I needed, including grab-bars, emergency cord and enough space for a wheelchair user and a carer if required.

I highly recommend a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia. But don’t just take my word for it though. There are other great reviews on Euan’s Guide for this attraction too. It’s a definite must if you’re visiting Edinburgh.

For more inspiration on days out around the UK, see other Days Out blogs

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