TOURISTS have crowned the Royal Yacht Britannia the top visitor attraction in the UK – fending off competition from the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
The “floating palace” in Leith Docks was joined by Edinburgh Castle in the Trip Advisor list of must-see UK landmarks which clinched 10th place.
And in the category of best UK parks, Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park came in third and fourth place respectively behind St James’ and Hyde Park in London.
Tourism chiefs today hailed the news a “wonderful recognition” of the Capital’s international appeal as the city prepares to welcome droves of overseas visitors to a packed Festival programme and Homecoming events. The latest tourism boost comes one week after new figures revealed Edinburgh attracted more 1.3 million foreign visitors in 2013.
The Royal Yacht Britannia, which served the Royal Family for over 44 years before being decommissioned in 1997, has been a staple draw at Leith since 1998. Bob Downie, chief executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia, said securing top spot in the online poll was a “tremendous achievement” that staff could be “proud of”.
“We are absolutely delighted that our passion for delivering outstanding customer experiences has been so highly valued on Trip Advisor,” he said.
The Royal Yacht Britannia celebrated a record-breaking year in 2013 with more than 300,000 paying visitors.
Manuela Calchini, Visit Scotland regional director said the attraction was one of the “world’s most illustrious ships” and a “must visit” on any trip to Scotland.
“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,” he said.
He added: “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.”
Now in their second year, the Travellers’ Choice awards for Attractions honour top travel spots based on the millions of reviews and opinions from Trip Advisor travellers.
Trip Advisor spokesman James Kay 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.”
He added: “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.”