Even though the number of people choosing a staycation has increased in recent years, we Brits still often overlook the beauty of our own country when choosing a holiday. Exploring the UK doesn’t have to mean holidaying in your own back garden – there’s plenty to see all over these breathtaking lands that we call home. A British Isles cruise is the perfect way to see more in one trip. You can visit some of those hard to reach places, whilst also stopping in towns and cities that you’ve always wanted to see but never found the time. Plus, in some cases, you don’t even need a passport to travel on board the ship.
So, what are the most popular ports on a cruise like this?
Situated on the island of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, Stornoway is a charming town with an idyllic harbour. This is the perfect place to pick up some Harris Tweed or take a trip to nearby Callanish to marvel at the history surrounding the Neolithic Stones.
St Peter Port
Although closer to France than the UK, St Peter Port stands proudly on the British island of Guernsey. English and French influences are clear for all to see and it’s easy to lose yourself amongst the enchanting alleyways and winding cobbled streets. Aside from the tax-free shopping, the most popular attraction here is Castle Cornet, which can be found on what was once a tidal island.
The capital of the Orkneys is an ideal place to pick up a crafty souvenir, as artists proudly display their work from the many workshops. This former Viking stronghold is characterised by its grey stone buildings – none more so than the impressive St. Magnus Cathedral. If you want to go further back in time than the Viking era, head to Skara Brae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to roughly 3180 BC (that’s older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza).
The first thing you will notice when arriving in Cobh is the beautiful harbour. This area holds rich maritime history, with it being the last place the Titanic stopped before attempting to cross the Atlantic, and there are plenty of activities to help you learn more. Pronounced like the word ‘cove’, this Irish town is also the gateway to Cork where excursions will take you to kiss the Blarney Stone is you desire. If you choose to stay in this pretty port, though, St. Colman’s Cathedral and Fota Wildlife Park are both worth a visit.
The largest of the five inhabited Scilly Isles, St Mary’s offers the chance to enjoy nature and beautiful beaches, something it has in common with nearby Cornwall. If you would rather explore than relax on the beach, join an optional excursion to the island of Tresco, where you can take a leisurely stroll amongst the Abbey Gardens.
As you sail into Portree, on the Isle of Skye, you will immediately be captivated by the wonderful scenery in all directions. This part of Scotland is effortlessly beautiful and includes rugged peaks and rolling meadows of heather. Local distilleries give you the chance to taste some true Scotch whisky, whilst rock formations such as the Old Man of Storr shouldn’t be missed. That should also be said for the brilliant Aros Centre, which will tell you all about the Gaelic heritage in these parts.
Some of the cruise lines that specialise in British Isles cruises include Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. There are many other interesting ports that they visit, so call us today to hear about our full range of itineraries.