THE Royal Yacht Britannia has been named as the top-rated landmark attraction for visitors in the UK.
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, will today announce that the yacht which served the Royal Family for more than 44 years topped the Travellers’ Choice awards for attractions in the UK, based on the quality and quantity of reviews posted over a 12-month period.
Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia beat the Houses of Parliament which were named second and Edinburgh Castle which came tenth in the UK rankings. It was also named among the winning landmarks in Europe.
In the top parks category, Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park came in third and fourth place in the UK and 12th and 17th in Europe respectively.
St James’s Park in London took the UK parks top spot and was named among the 25 best parks in the world, also claiming ninth in Europe.
Royal Yacht Britannia chief executive Bob Downie described the award as a “tremendous achievement”. He said: “We are absolutely delighted that our passion for delivering outstanding customer experiences has been so highly valued on TripAdvisor, and to be No1 in the UK is a tremendous achievement that our staff can be very proud of.”
Manuela Calchini, regional partnerships director, VisitScotland, said: “The Royal Yacht Britannia is an outstanding visitor attraction and to be rated as the best landmark in the UK is a true testimony to the quality and magnificence of the experience. As one of the world’s most illustrious ships, this floating palace really is a must visit on any trip to Scotland and a great asset to our tourism offering.
“With the hugely popular Edinburgh Castle also within the top ten best landmarks in the UK, and the beautiful Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park named in the top five parks, this is wonderful recognition for the great city of Edinburgh.
“As Scotland welcomes the world in 2014, with over 850 Homecoming events, the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, I would encourage everyone to head out and explore the wide range of first-class attractions that can be found right on our doorstep.”
HMY Britannia served Queen Elizabeth II from 1954 to 1997 and is now permanently moored at Ocean Terminal in Leith.
She was built at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank and was launched on 16 April, 1953.
Britannia was designed to be converted into a hospital ship in the event of war – although this capability was never used. In the event of nuclear war it was intended that the Queen would take refuge aboard Britannia along the north west coast of Scotland.
A spokesman for TripAdvisor said: “With schools breaking up for the summer holidays in a matter of weeks, these attractions will serve as a great must-see and do list for families – especially as many of them can be enjoyed for free.
“For the UK’s best-rated landmark, travellers now need to look no further than Edinburgh, where the Royal Yacht Britannia has claimed the number one spot for the first time.”
Travellers’ Choice awards honour top travel spots worldwide based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers.
Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for landmark and park attractions worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.