Celebrating 15 years in Edinburgh

Posted in General, History, News, on Thursday October 24, 2013 | 0 Comments | Return To Blog Posts
Celebrating 15 years in Edinburgh

Saturday, 19 October marked a fantastic 15 years since The Royal Yacht Britannia first opened her doors as a major visitor attraction and evening events venue. To date, we have welcomed 4,225,947 visitors aboard and worked hard to ensure all our guests have only an exceptional experience. So much so, that we are thrilled to be Scotland's top visitor attraction, with the highest grading from VisitScotland's quality assurance assessors.

This week's post looks back over how Edinburgh became Britannia's permanent home. We also wanted to share with you some of the photographs we have of her arrival all those years ago.

A new home for the Royal Yacht

It was in 1997 that the Government invited UK organisations to bid to provide a new home for the Royal Yacht.

This was a major departure from tradition, as Royal Yachts were traditionally scuttled following decommissioning. Edinburgh's bid for Britannia was led by Terry Smith of Forth Ports, who saw having a major attraction as an ideal way to help the regeneration of Leith. Competing against bids from Glasgow, London, Manchester and Portsmouth, each was judged on their quality, appropriateness and how each would ensure that Britannia was maintained in keeping with her former role.

On 29 April 1998, ownership of Britannia transferred from the Ministry of Defence to The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. Britannia then began her journey to Edinburgh, arriving to applause from huge crowds who had gathered to welcome her to the city.

Opening to the public

Once Britannia arrived, a frantic level of activity began to prepare her for display, build a Visitor Centre and set up the new organisation. All the decks were made accessible for wheelchairs and areas repainted to ensure she looked immaculate. Finally, on 19 October, she opened to the public for the very first time and received extensive media coverage around the world. Today, Britannia is still owned and run by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. By visiting us, you are helping us preserve this important piece of history for future generations. We thank you for your support.

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