Entering Royal property without the threat of being arrested or escorted away is not a regular event. However, Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal in an area called Leith provides visitors to do precisely that. The Britannia, the second Royal ship to have been given such a name is permanently moored on the Scottish coast and gives people the opportunity to enjoy tours around one of Britain’s most famous Royal residences.
The queen herself once described the Britannia as the only place she could truly relax. The ship, launched in 1953, has not only welcomed famous British celebrities aboard. Indeed, Nelson Mandela, Boris Yeltsin and Mahatma Gandhi have all set foot on the famous vessel. Nowadays, members of the public are able to do exactly the same. In fact, the Britannia has been described as the place where the public are actually encouraged to step onto Royal property.
Before coming aboard, visitors are provided with a complimentary audio handset which provides information and captivating stories about the life of the Royal family. This material is available in a variety of languages and there are even tours available for those who are visually impaired. The Britannia caters for almost everybody and printed scripts given out free of charge are often taken as souvenirs.
The tour usually begins with an insight into the fabulous state apartments to be found on board. Then, visitors are moved along to the crew’s quarters and finally to the engine room. The tour does not finish on board the vessel as Leith is full of restaurants, shops and museums to commemorate the Royal ship. Previous visitors have stated in surveys that their favourite moments throughout the tour were peeping into the queen’s bedroom and seeing the room where one of her Rolls Royce cars is kept.