Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have so much incredible scenery on our doorsteps. From the sweeping Jurassic Coast to quaint Irish villages, rural Highland hideaways to cosmopolitan city streets, the British Isles are an oh-so-deserving cruise destination in themselves. British Isles cruises have never been more popular and 2016 marks some exciting firsts when it comes to seeing Britain’s beauty from a new perspective. Here are our favourite itineraries for the year ahead.
Fred Olsen – The Great British Cruise
Departs Southampton on 8 August 2016 – 11 nights
Fred Olsen are infamous as providers of British Isles cruises but this August sailing is something new for one of the UK’s favourite cruise lines. Dust off your rolling pin and apron because you’ll be boarding Braemar with Great British Bake Off 2014 season winner, Nancy Birtwhistle. Prepare to hear all of Nancy’s cake and pastry prophecies and find out what the master baker has been up to since scooping the covetable title in 2014. Between all of that cake chat, you’ll visit some of the UK’s favourite ports. Grab fish and chips in the great British seaside resort of Falmouth, see Cardiff come alive at night with an overnight stay in the city, explore the Lake District from Barrow-in-Furness and head to the culture capital of Liverpool. Heading north, you’ll explore the beautiful Shetland Islands from Lerwick and arrive in Edinburgh just in time to experience the Edinburgh Tattoo. Culture, cruising and cake – what could be better?
Cunard – British Isles Culinary Discovery
Departs Southampton on 23 June 2016 – 12 nights
Join Queen Elizabeth for her first ever culinary voyage and prepare to celebrate the UK’s finest delicacies. As you might expect, the British Isles Culinary Discovery is one for the foodies, and you’ll be joined on board by gastronomy greats including Charles Sichel, Nick Nairn and Jilly Goolden. Over the course of 12 nights you’ll feel suitably stuffed from food tours, slightly squiffy from distillery tours and super relaxed following overnight stays in some of the UK’s best boutique hotels. Indulge in afternoon tea and cookery classes in the New Forest, embark on a Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery Tour in Invergordon, sample the Scottish delicacy of black pudding in Stornoway and eat and drink like a local on the Belfast Food Tour. Probably best to pack an extra pair of trousers in the next size up…
Princess Cruises – British Isles Cruise
Departs Southampton on various dates throughout May, June, July and August 2016 – 11 nights
If you fancy a British Isles cruise but also like the thought of venturing a little further afield, the British Isles itinerary on board Caribbean Princess may be just the thing. You’ll explore British gems including quaint St Peter Port and the Irish city of Cork from Cobh, plus spend a late night in Dublin and long days in Liverpool and Belfast. You’ll also have a chance to get to the bottom of the Loch Ness monster conspiracy, before seeing everything Edinburgh has to offer. Finally, you’ll depart for Le Havre, crossing the water to the French coast and a port that puts Paris and Normandy at your fingertips. Stroll the ‘City of Love’, pain au chocolat in hand, or pay your respects on the D-Day beaches where so many gave their lives.
Swan Hellenic – Celtic Traditions & Edinburgh Tattoo
Did you know that the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is watched by 100 million people around the world each year, with 200,000 people visiting Edinburgh for the spectacle and tickets selling out every year for the last decade? Fortunately, you’ll be in the right place at the right time to witness the rousing combination of music, ceremony, dance and theatre that takes over Edinburgh Castle each August, as part of Swan Hellenic’s Celtic Traditions & Edinburgh Tattoo cruise.
Visit St Peter Port – the prettiest in all of Guernsey – and explore the city of Cardiff and the nearby Tredegar House. A good craic awaits in Dublin, before you visit Stornaway; the largest town in the dramatic Outer Hebrides. After calling at Scrabster, you’ll arrive in Edinburgh just in time to catch the Edinburgh Tattoo, where 1,000 performers from around the world wait with polished boots and buttons ready to entertain. Don’t forget to pack the family plaid!
Have you cruised the British Isles or do you prefer to venture further afield? Don’t miss what’s on your doorstep! Find out more about British Isles cruises in 2016 here.