Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Royal Yacht Britannia (Edinburgh, Scotland)

We all have those days of travel where we just need to slow down a bit.  If I'm gone more than a week, I typically plan at least one day where my mission is to largely take it easy: sleep as long as I like, take my time getting out the door, maybe go to bed early.  If you happen to be in Edinburgh, Scotland when that day arrives, not all is lost.  Take it as an opportunity to visit an attraction that is located slightly off the beaten path.

Once you've risen for the day, enjoy a traditional Scottish breakfast while you familiarize yourself with the local bus schedule, allowing you transport to the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Be sure to have appropriate change as you board the double-decker bus.  If you are able to climb stairs, I highly recommend that you ride on the second level so as to maximize your view of town.
 The bus trip will take you all across the city, giving you the opportunity to view neighborhoods you might not otherwise have the chance to see.  When I went, I was admittedly a little nervous about missing my stop.  Not to worry, it is the very last stop on the bus route!  It is a peculiar little stop, because it is literally letting you off at a shopping center.  Don't let that throw you off!  Just go on in.  You will see signage clearly marked all through the shopping center directing you to the Yacht.  Once you get there and pay your admission, you will be given a handset, as this is a self-directed tour.

I am someone that gets really into history and culture, and this tour certainly delivers!  The Royal Yacht Britannia was placed into service in 1953, and served the Royal Family for 44 years before she was  taken out of commission and turned into a museum.  On board, you can see the rooms still set the way they were when the Royal Family used them for family holidays, entertaining, and even honeymooning (Prince Charles and Princess Diana come to mind).  The yacht was even equipped to serve as an infirmary if needed!  Since this tour is self-guided by nature, you can easily take all the time you want.

If you have time, I highly recommend stopping for refreshments in the Royal Deck Tea Room.  You can easily take this as your daily splurge and indulge in a glass of champagne with your lunch.  You can also satisfy a much more modest budget by ordering tea and a scone.  In either scenario, you are surly not to be disappointed.

As you make your way out, you will be deposited into the gift shop.  I personally take it as an opportunity to buy a few post cards (I send them to myself from each
location so that they are even stamped from the city/country I was in). The magically, back into the shopping center you arrive.  I like to experience at least a slice of life as a local might, so I popped into a few shops to just browse.  Among the shops in this center, there does happen to be a Sainsbury.  So, if you've fallen in love with a their cheese and onion sandwiches as I have (anyone else with this fascination?), you can easily grab one to go.

Just out the door of the shopping center, is the bus mall area, allowing you to go back precisely the way you came.

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