Monday, April 22, 2013

Scotland Sundays: HM Yacht Britannia

This past week, Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia, which is docked in Edinburgh, celebrated it's 60th anniversary.  A super big thank you to So-Ha for alerting me to the fact that there would be a 1950s dress up event to mark the occasion!  We've been wanting to check out the former Royal Yacht for quite some time--so this was perfect!!

The Royal Yacht was commissioned in 1953 to serve as Her Majesty's floating royal residence.  It has since sailed around the world, covering more than 1,000,000 miles.

It was really fun taking a look at this historic vessel.  Much of the equipment and furniture is original to the 1950s:

I took the opportunity to wear my Mrs Peacock skirt made from a 1950s Simplicity (3196) pattern and my swing jacket which was sewn from a 1940 McCall (3619) pattern, but could easily pass for a 1950s swing jacket:

I have the perfect little 1950s teal topper hat that I got the last time I was out West in the U.S. at the fantastic Urban Eccentric Vintage store.  I love how it goes so well with the swing jacket and skirt (I love it when that happens--Teal can sometimes be hard to match, but I think they go together quite well!):

The yacht was amazing!  I love all the details of the royal residence from the lights, to the wood panelling to the pictures of the royal family scattered throughout the boat.

One thing that really struck me and that they highlight on the audio tour is that the Queen didn't want the royal yacht surroundings to be over the top, instead, she wanted something that had a bit more of a relaxed feel--where she and her family could relax and entertain guests.  The living area is a perfect example.  Of course, what you don't see is a baby grand piano off to the left which has been bolted to the floor--so they could keep themselves entertained even at sea!

This is the seamen's dining quarters:

I'm a sucker for anything nautical--and I just love portholes!!

The Yacht was decommissioned in 1997 (and hence is no longer called a 'Royal' yacht) and is now permanently based in Leith (which is part of Edinburgh, in a newly developed harbour area).  The yacht has been turned into a museum--and a quite interactive one!  Captain David approves:

Many dignitaries have stayed aboard the Britannia including four U.S. presidents (Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan and the Clintons).  Princess Di and Prince Charles also celebrated their honeymoon aboard the yacht. 

We had a fabulous time! There was a professional photographer (Ruth Armstrong--who took the photo below) and our pictures even made it onto the Royal Yacht Britannia website.  We got a free bottle of champagne for dressing in the spirit of the 1950s!  I told the woman that I dress like this that we would happily accept the champagne :-)

I definitely recommend visiting the Britannia if you are ever in Edinburgh, it's an interesting piece of history and has lots of neat nautical elements (like the most amazing engine room I have ever seen) and a little bit of something for everyone!


  1. I visited the Britannia a few years ago - isn't it exquisite?

    I LOVE that porthole pic of you - very nice! And congrats on the champers - celebrations for just being you, quite right too :)

  2. What an excellent visit! I would love to someday visit Britannia, too. You look smashing, as always, and congratulations for decorating their website. They couldn't have chosen a better lady!

  3. OH my goodness - we've been to Edinburgh several times and never made it - definitely will make the trip next time we go. You look perfect - the hat is just the right touch!!

  4. And how cool is that? Dress like the era and win champagne! Sounds lovely!

  5. Lovely photos, great dress, and that purse- I love it all!

  6. I haven't been there yet! One for the Small Boy when he's a bit bigger. Love your outfit, especially the hat!

  7. The yacht looks like such fun but mostly I love your outfit - the color especially! I hope you enjoyed the champagne. The whole thing sounds like so much fun!

  8. I adore old ships! Is it always open for visitors, or was this a one-time thing? If I'm ever in Edinburgh, I'd love to visit it.
    And your outfit is gorgeous, love the colours!

  9. Hia Debi!

    I just stumbled upon your blog in my search for 40s vintage looks dresses for sale. I cant wait to browse through your posts, I looooove vintage looks! and might I add Im head over heels in love with Edinburgh! :) Ive actually seen this ship docked just outside the Ocean Terminal shoppingcentre, unfortunately we didnt have the time to visit.
    Anyhow Im wondering if you know of any sewers (etsy or others)that are taking sewing orders? Im cant sew myself but Im pining after a 1940s looking dress.

  10. Gorgeous as always!! I was wondering if I could pick your brain about sewing pants (you've made some amazing pants in the past that fit you like a glove!).

    I'm currently trying to make my first pair of 40's wide legged pants and I am struggling with the fit. Any tips you can throw my way would be most welcome :)

  11. Fantastic. Reminds me of us going to stay on the Queen Mary last youngest now wants to be married on it. I love the details on the ship despite the Queen wanting a homely feel. And that blue looks fabulous on you. So nice the Scottish weather stayed good for you.

  12. You look fantastic Debi! What an amazing backdrop for your photos as well! I would love to visit Britannia one day.


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