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The Royal Yacht Britannia - Cream Tea with Royal Connections
New Review
Royal yacht Britannia
Ocean Terminal,

It seems fitting that the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored in Edinburgh after her decommission in 1997; she was, after all, built at a shipyard in Clydebank in the early 50s. 

It's a wonderful slice of royal history, and I doubt much has changed since her launch. The apartments are kitsch and chintzy, very vintage, while the staterooms are spacious and light. It's a different matter for the crew - narrow bunks, a small locker for their kit and not much privacy! They were volunteers from the Navy, and after serving for 365 days, could be admitted to 'The Permanent Royal Yacht Service' as Royal Yachtsmen, with some serving for over 20 years. A great way to see the world!

We made a beeline for the Royal Deck Tea Room, before we explored the rest of the boat. Protected from the chilly breeze whipping across the Forth (tinged with a bit of haar), we sat watching seabirds skim above the dock with views across the steel blue waters to Fife. Sitting in the elegance of a bygone era, you can imagine the young princes running around the veranda deck below. In the near distance, a solitary figure (a sculpture by Antony Gormley) stands sentinel at the end of a derelict pier.
The menu is made up of, soup, sandwiches, salads, scones and cakes. We had our eyes (and bellies) focused on the cream tea - a sandwich, scone or a slice of cake, a glass of Les Chaberts Sparkling Britannia Rosé  and a pot of tea or coffee. Smoked salmon from Shetland goes well with pink bubbles, so that was my choice and egg mayo for the man. I'm not one to turn my nose up to a scone with jam and cream, while he's partial to the odd slice of fruitcake, so the Dundee was right up his street! He could have gone for lemon drizzle, Victoria sponge, chocolate or carrot cake; I must admit the caramel, which was the cake of the day, looked lushly decadent.

Generously filled sandwiches are freshly made with a flavoursome, seeded bread served with crisps and a salad garnish. We both have tea; Assam for me and the Famous Edinburgh for him; both are served in silver-plated teapots. The Dundee cake is crammed with fruit but is unusually decorated with chopped nuts rather than the traditional almond slivers. My scone is nicely proportioned with evenly distributed sultanas but could have done with a little longer in the oven. Having said that, I'd rather have it that way than aridly sandy. Anyway, this is easily remedied with a good slathering of Britannia strawberry jam and a hefty dollop of clotted cream. 

The tearoom isn't accessible unless you are visiting the yacht but wandering around the royal boat does give you an insight to the way it was run, from the cramped staff quarters, to the laundry and, of course, the state apartments where the Queen would eat, sleep, entertain her guests, and where the royal grandchildren would play.

 More reviews of Afternoon Teas past and present can be found here 

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