Asset 4

The British Isles

Cruise The British Isles

Explore the rural beauty of the British Isles with its rugged coastline embracing historic cities and unforgettable landscapes. Discover history and heritage as you visit beautiful ports and natural wonders while enjoying world-class dining. Enjoy uninterrupted sailing around England, Ireland and Scotland from the comfort of your ship. Sail through rugged landscapes and stunning natural sites. Visit distilleries and learn about the fascinating history and traditions of local distillers and their various production methods. Cruising in Scotland reveals incredible feats of man and nature, or savour a sail-by of the iconic Forth Bridge in Queensferry and the otherworldly landscapes of the Isle of Skye. From the ethereal white sands of the Isles of Scilly to the rugged beauty of Yorkshire’s Flamborough Head, a scenic cruise in England will reveal an illuminating and unseen side to Britain. Expedition cruises to the British Isles offer beach landings in places few others go, with guided walks on remote islands or exploring lonely beaches at your own pace – be immersed in the wild beauty of the surroundings.

 

 

Upcoming Cruises

Ports you might visit

Bass Rock
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Bruges (tours from Zeebrugge)
Cork (tours from Ringaskiddy)
Dartmouth, England
Douglas, Isle of Man
Dover
Dublin, Ireland
Edinburgh
Fishguard, Wales
Flamborough Head
Glasgow (tours from Greenock)
Glasgow, Scotland
Gothenburg
Greenwich, London
Hamilton, Bermuda
Inverness, Scotland
Islay, Scotland
Isle of Iona, Scotland
Isle of May
Isles of Scilly, England
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Liverpool, England
Rathlin Ireland, Northern Ireland
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Southampton
St Kilda, Scotland
St Peter Port, Guernsey
Stornoway
Stornoway, Scotland
Waterford, Ireland
Bass Rock

Bass Rock

From North Berwick we pass the magnificent Bass Rock, an imposing volcanic island about a mile from the shore of the Firth of Forth. It features impressive bird and marine wildlife and a lighthouse. Have your binoculars and cameras ready for the gannets flying to and fro, before they nestle atop the rock. You can also see the isolated and eerie ‘Scottish Alcatraz’, a long-disused prison.
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, enjoys a wonderful setting of high hills, sea lough and river valley. Founded in the 17th century, the city prospered becoming one of the world's leading industrial names. Despite its more recent political troubles, Belfast has emerged as a vibrant, alluring destination. Amidst its beautiful Victorian buildings you can shop in stylish boutiques, sip a Guinness in one its charming old pubs or take a scenic stroll in Barnett Demesne park.
Bruges (tours from Zeebrugge)

Bruges (tours from Zeebrugge)

With its leafy squares, picturesque canals and historic architecture, Bruges is one of the most attractive cities in Europe and a popular destination for tourists around the world.
Cork (tours from Ringaskiddy)

Cork (tours from Ringaskiddy)

In the southwest of Ireland, Cork is a city packed with charm. You might see it as a gateway into the rolling emerald countryside all around that’s dotted with villages, castles and a tale or two. You might start your discovery by stepping back four hundred years at Elizabeth Fort. When it was built in 1601, it looked across to Cork; the city has since absorbed it, making it an even better vantage point. Blackrock Castle is another memorable fortification here. Built on ground jutting out into the River Lee, it was designed as protection against marauding pirates. Today it’s a dreamy stack of curved towers that’s since become a museum, and is even home to an observatory. You could unlock the harshness of nineteenth century convict life at Cork City Gaol. Within imposing walls, models of wardens and inmates add atmosphere to the cramped cells and corridors of this former prison. It closed in 1923 after 99 years, reborn four years later as a radio station. The Governor’s House now displays a beautiful collection of antique wireless sets. The English Market is a celebration of both grand Victorian architecture and the local produce stacked temptingly under its high vaulted ceilings. If you’re peckish, light bites are in plentiful supply, perhaps ideal for al fresco lunch in nearby Bishop Lacey Park if the sun’s smiling down. Browse exhibitions and collections within the landmark red-brick Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, once Cork Customs House. The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, meanwhile, is exceptional inside and out. Part of the University College Cork, its exterior features beautiful curves of untreated timber sat on a limestone base with angular steel bay windows. Perhaps Cork’s defining landmark is St. Fin Barre's Cathedral. The majestic neo-Gothic cathedral towers up from the site on which the saint is believed to have created a monastic settlement in the seventh century. Three spires loom high above Cork’s low-rise skyline, and medieval gargoyles stare down at all below. Then again, you might meet leave Cork to meet some of its neighbours. Less than 20 miles due south is Kinsale, a quaint coastal town of pedestrianised streets whose exuberantly colourful houses are an absolute joy. Its history is darker; eleven miles offshore in May 1915 a German U-boat torpedoed the Cunard ship Lusitania. Many head for the town of Waterford, around 75 miles to the northeast, where the manufacture of its world-renowned crystal dates back to 1783. Then there’s Blarney Castle, only five or six miles to the northwest. A walk around its grounds is perfectly charming, but you should really climb the steps and kiss the Blarney Stone, with the promise of eloquence that it brings. Just over 50 miles to the west, Killarney National Park sets some of southern Ireland’s most stunning landscapes before you. With rugged mountains in the distance, its serene lakes and ancient oak forests create an extraordinary picture of beauty.

Dartmouth, England

The picturesque banks of the River Dart mark your arrival into the delightful waterfront town of Dartmouth, steeped in maritime history and culture. The area is blessed with a multitude of castles, forts, stately homes, lush countryside and incredible nature. Anchor a short tender ride from shore. Stroll through the lanes and cobbled streets, browsing in quaint shops, many filled with arts and crafts, no doubt inspired by the beautiful setting.

Douglas, Isle of Man

Bring your camera and head out on deck as you sail into Douglas – the scenic approach is not to be missed! The ship might pull up alongside to explore the capital of the Isle of Man, a quirky island that’s full of character. Learn about the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage, trace its development as a Victorian tourist resort, or discover its stunning rugged coastline. In recognition of its diverse marine and coastal ecosystems, and socio-economic characteristics, the Isle of Man has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, ‘a learning place for sustainable development’. Discover the geology, marine life and maritime history of its shorelines on the island’s three Blueways Trails.
Dover

Dover

Dover is a coastal town in England’s southeastern county of Kent. Situated on the English Channel at the mouth of a valley in the chalk uplands that form the famous white cliffs, Dover is the closest English port to the European mainland. No trip here is complete without walking alongside or atop the iconic white cliffs that have become a symbol for England. Built to repel invasions from across the English Channel, medieval Dover Castle overlooks the town and houses the extensive Secret Wartime Tunnels, and is tipped to be the largest castle in England. There is a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the UK’s oldest building.
Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

The dark waters of the River Liffey swirling beneath the Halfpenny Bridge appear to transport you to a different age, the literary Dublin of Yeats, Shaw, Swift and Wilde. From the smart surroundings of St. Stephen's Green, down bustling O'Connell Street, to the blarney welcome you'll find waiting in a hundred little bars and restaurants the craic, like the Guinness, is always good in Dublin.
Edinburgh

Edinburgh

This gorgeous city drapes its Georgian charm across seven scenic hills. Favourite visits include lively Prince's Street and the historic Royal Mile, stretching between the Palace of Holyrood House to that majestic hilltop castle. To continue the regal theme, you could also step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia now permanently berthed in Leith.

Fishguard, Wales

Fishguard has the accolade of being the infamous site of the ‘Last Invasion of Britain’, by the French in 1797. The local library houses a 100-foot-long commemorative, ‘Bayeux’ style tapestry, depicting the invasion. From Lower Town, you can explore the ancient woodlands of the Gwaun Valley that stretch towards the Preseli Hills. On the outskirts of Fishguard, you can walk up the hill to Castle Point to the ruins of Fishguard Fort, for incredible views overlooking the harbour.
Flamborough Head

Flamborough Head

As you pass this stretch of the Yorkshire coast, your gaze will be drawn to the spectacular white chalk cliffs topped with grassland, guarded by lighthouses and home to squawking bird colonies.
Glasgow (tours from Greenock)

Glasgow (tours from Greenock)

Greenock is your gateway to Glasgow, arguably Scotland’s most animating cultural city. It serves as a brilliant stepping-stone to some of Scotland's most rugged and breathtaking scenery to the north. As you disembark at Greenock to explore Glasgow, you will likely be greeted by the stirring sights and sounds of a traditional Scottish pipe band in full tartan regalia. Greenock itself is a pretty town just a short walk from the port. It has a rich heritage of herring fishing and ship building. The prosperity resulting from these lucrative industries is quite evident in the impressive Victorian architecture of the major buildings in town, such as the Sheriff Court, the Municipal Building and the Customs House – now a museum dedicated to the town’s maritime history. Recently there has been huge investment in the waterfront area, the original location of the shipyards. The heavy industry has now been replaced with some very impressive residential property and a theatre overlooking the stunning marina. The town has a range of shops to suit most tastes from exclusive boutiques to large department stores. Both can be found undercover in the Oak Mall and outside on the main thoroughfare of West Blackhall Street. The cosmopolitan city of Glasgow, the largest in Scotland, is only 25 miles from Greenock and is not to be missed. As if the city’s blend of Victorian and ultra-modern architecture was not enough of a spectacle, there are a host of museums and galleries. The Riverside Museum stands out simply because it looks so very different from its counterparts, and hosts a vast range of exhibits illustrating Glasgow’s rich past. The Gallery of Modern Art is Scotland’s most visited art gallery – and once again, a glimpse at the building from the outside is an attraction in itself. To help you wind down after the bustle of the vibrant city, Scotland’s largest country park at Castle Semple is a scenic retreat on the shores of Castle Semple Loch. You could simply relax along the loch shore or take one of the guided tours through the designed landscape of Parkhill Woods and the ancestral home of the Semple clan. Scotland is famed for its majestic and mystical scenery and the tranquil beauty simply makes your soul happy. Loch Ness may be famous for its monster, but Loch Lomond must take the prize for the most beautiful. Set in the heart of Scotland’s first national park, the loch is only half an hour’s drive from Glasgow. Its awesome loveliness changes through every season but never diminishes, even in the depth of winter when a ghostly stillness blankets the waters. Close to Loch Lomond, the Glengoyne distillery offers not only a chance to sample the ‘Water of Life’ but also an interesting and in-depth tour behind the scenes of a working distillery. The ‘Slainte Mhath’ (“your good health”) shop provides a great opportunity to purchase some memories of your visit. It would be wrong not to mention golf when extolling the virtues of Scotland. After all, it is the game’s ancestral home. There are over 60 courses around the Glasgow area and if you’ve time for a few holes the clubs will always be willing to hire out equipment for a small cost.
Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, Scotland

The River Clyde, integral to Cunard's past, reveals more of its maritime heritage at The Tall Ship, while the superb Burrell Gallery at Pollock House showcases woks by Degas and Cézanne. The great Clyde shipyards were unrivalled for over a century, producing a number of Cunard Line's finest vessels, from RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth to QE2.
Gothenburg

Gothenburg

Sweden's second city is a pleasant whirl of parks and canals, and proud maritime traditions. The grand Maritime Museum celebrates this, and even its modern opera house resembles a classic ocean liner.

Greenwich, London

A clever floating mooring near the Greenwich Naval Observatory provides your ship its proximity. Greenwich is a Royal Borough of London, located on a broad meander of the River Thames south-east of central London. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its maritime history as well as its connection to the Royal Family.

Hamilton, Bermuda

A British Isles cruise offer a unique way to explore and contrast the home nations, whose rugged coastlines embrace historic ports. Often these itineraries include visits to our closest European neighbours to create fascinating discoveries in luxury.
Inverness, Scotland

Inverness, Scotland

Soak up the unmistakable Scottish Highlands, shrouded in myth and folklore. Amidst conical hills and verdant glens, seek out Loch Ness and scan its glassy surface for the legendary 'monster'. Visit Culloden Moor where Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated, Cawdor Castle - forever linked with Macbeth - and regional whisky distilleries bearing their own famous names.

Islay, Scotland

ire up your spirit of adventure and step onto an island famed for its whisky, wildlife and woolly garments. Islay isn’t called ‘whisky island’ for nothing. There are nine working distilleries here, and you’ll find their peaty single malts sold around the world. One of the larger isles, there’s 130 miles of coastline here, and numerous quiet, sandy beaches.

Isle of Iona, Scotland

Iona is a peaceful little island off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. The restored Abbey remains a place of pilgrimage and peace, but there’s much more to see here including picturesque beaches, wonderful wildlife and the beautiful St Columba’s Bay.
Isle of May

Isle of May

As you sail along the edge of the Firth of Forth, you’ll be able to look over the Isle of May. This is home to a magical mix of noisy sea birds and seals, as well as many a Viking or smuggler’s tale. In early summer, the cliffs are covered with nesting and often boisterous sea birds. This is also home to the unmistakeable puffin and its signature brightly coloured bill.

Isles of Scilly, England

This enchanting archipelago 30 miles off the tip of Cornwall is home to outstandingly beautiful, uncrowded and unspoilt islands and islets. It’s been likened to a tropical paradise, but the waters around it can also be choppy. If sea conditions and weather allow, the ship will spend the day here. Covered in heathland, with magnificent sandy beaches, the islands are surrounded by turquoise waters and reefs and offer picturesque coastal walks.
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Kirkwall possesses a Norse heritage that stretches back almost a century; indeed the Vikings laid the first foundations for St Magnus Cathedral - the most northerly in Britain - built from yellow and red local sandstone. You can also learn the history of the radio at the Wireless Museum and sample the island's peaty single malts at the Highland Park Distillery.
Liverpool, England

Liverpool, England

Liverpool was the former home of Cunard Line. The Cunard Building, the Royal Liver Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building - all on Pier Head - are often described as the city's "Three Graces". Liverpool is vibrant and modern with a taste of the 60s! Take a ferry across the Mersey for stunning harbour views. Or embark on a Magical Mystery Tour commemorating the city's most famous sons.

Rathlin Ireland, Northern Ireland

Sitting just off the north coast of County Antrim, with rugged cliffs, lakes and vast, natural grasslands, Rathlin Island boasts Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony. Visit the RSPB Seabird Centre and the working “upside-down” lighthouse perched on the cliffs. Here, you’ll enjoy close-up views of the seabird colonies, as well as spectacular coastal panoramas.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Rotterdam does innovation and imagination like nowhere else. The Nazi bombardment gutted most, but not all, of the old city. As a result, modern glass skyscrapers stand next to 19th and 18th century buildings. So many modern masterpieces demand your camera's attention, none more so than the extraordinary tilted Cube Houses. They are simply inspired!
Southampton

Southampton

The UK's premier passenger ship port, located in the picturesque English county of Hampshire, Southampton is a vibrant waterfront city, serviced by direct trains to London, an airport, and an international cruise terminal. Explore the city’s maritime heritage and links to RMS Titanic in the Sea City Museum, see contemporary British art in the Cultural Quarter, or walk the medieval walls in the Old Town. Further afield you’ll find The New Forest National Park, Winchester Cathedral, Stonehenge, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Isle of Wight, while the city’s thriving craft beer and culinary scene will leave you spoilt for choice.

St Kilda, Scotland

There’s only one way to describe tiny, rocky St Kilda: wild. As such, the visit to this storm-tossed archipelago, with its breathtaking sea cliffs and boiling seas, is totally weather-dependent. As a UNESCO double World Heritage Site and the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the National Trust for Scotland, visiting St Kilda is an unforgettable experience. The outlying stacks and islands, which are the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. What’s more, it’s frequented by Minke whales. If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of one in the swirling waters surrounding the rocky outcrop.
St Peter Port, Guernsey

St Peter Port, Guernsey

Fortified against invasion for centuries, Guernsey is dotted with castles and coastal defense forts. During World War II, the Channel Islands were the only part of the United Kingdom occupied by the Germans. This quaint harbour whose narrow, cobbled streets and granite houses rise in tiers on the hillside is actually the isle of Guernsey's capital.
Stornoway

Stornoway

Stornoway, which is located in the Scotland Western Isles, is a place of harmony and diversity. Both Gaelic and English is spoken, eagles live close to otters, both hint at the unity of the community. If you’ve ever listened to the famous UK shipping forecast, you’ll have heard the name Stornoway mentioned in the cryptic but soothing relay of crucial information to sea-farers. Embark on a cruise to Stornoway and you will enter one of the most scenic natural harbours in the Outer Hebrides. The town on the Isle of Lewis has earned its reputation for having a particularly welcoming port as it is deep and sheltered, justifying its name, which means “steering bay.” The pier was built on the original site of Stornoway Castle, which was destroyed by Cromwell’s forces in 1653. The beauty of the harbour belies its bustling energy and thriving businesses of freight, ferry and leisure traffic, as well as a busy fishing industry. Because the majority of the islanders live in the centre of Stornoway, there are vast, sparsely populated areas with small rural communities hugging the coastline. In the summer you will still see people cutting and stacking the peat to burn in the winter when it delivers a fragrant scent as peat smoke drifts in the air. The beaches nearby Stornoway are vast and unspoilt, protected in the main by the shifting sand dunes. If it is a sunny day they sparkle but, even when it is stormy, they possess a dramatic and mysterious character that cleanses the soul. There are many opportunities for visitors to explore the wildlife of the region with sightings of seals, porpoises and dolphins being common in the area. Keen bird watchers are treated to huge colonies of gannets, shag, black guillemots and kittiwakes. From Stornoway, the west and north coast are both less than an hour’s drive away, and there you will find many opportunities for scenic walks and photographs of stunning, windswept terrain. The people of Lewis are very welcoming. Traditional values are at the core of communities and there is a strong observance of the sanctity of Sunday when most businesses close in favour of family and rest. Gaelic heritage is also important and the traditional arts and crafts are celebrated in the nearby Ness Museum. Exhibits demonstrate and explain crafting, wool working, and other folk crafts. Locally produced food is part of the region’s traditional culture, with perhaps the most famous of the local food being Stornoway’s black pudding. This delicacy of blood and oatmeal can be seen on the menus of some of the world’s best restaurants as far away as New York, and is certainly worth a try. Surrounded by the deep clear waters of the Atlantic it is no surprise that seafood, caught off the islands shores, is also a staple of the local diet. Stornoway town centre even has its own smokehouse producing delicious fresh smoked salmon and kippers.

Stornoway, Scotland

Stornoway is the capital of the Isle of Lewis & Harris, an island famed for its pristine beaches, Neolithic sites and tweed workshops. Be prepared to step back in time as you investigate ancient ruins and gaze in wonder at the mysterious Callanish standing stones, as well as exploring the bustling waterfront and streets of island’s main town.

Waterford, Ireland

Welcome to the Emerald Isle. Today you’ll set foot in the oldest city in Ireland, founded by the Vikings in the 10th century by a ford in the River Suir. Waterford is a well preserved and very walkable small city, famed for its beautiful crystal glass production and its Norse roots. Incredible street art daubs walls and houses in this city of culture, so don’t forget your camera.