When you think of a cruise, the first things to come to mind are usually European cities of culture, blue Caribbean oceans or Balearic islands. What many people don’t realise is that there are some incredible options available much closer to home.
The British Isles boast a staggering number of beautiful and unusual destinations, particularly along the coast. Many of these are off-limits to the enormous passenger ships which are normally associated with cruises. ‘Boutique’ cruises are a fantastic holiday option for those wanting to avoid the crowds and experience what our home isles have to offer; here are four exciting examples.
1. London to London
Departing from Tower Bridge, London, there is a cruise by Silversea, which will take you all the way around Britain and Ireland before returning you to where you started. A 12 day cruise enables you to enjoy an array of experiences, from a traditional Cornish pub lunch in Falmouth to Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen or a trip from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway.
2. Birds and Blooms of Britain
If you’re somebody with an appreciation for nature, you could take a springtime voyage with Noble Caledonia from Plymouth to the Isles of Scilly, Lundy, Skomer, Llandudno, Peel, Holy Loch and Fairlie. With excursions into the Abbey Gardens of the Island of Tresco and the Botanical Gardens of the Cowal Peninsula, any green-fingered passengers will be happy. Not to mention the puffins, guillemots and razorbills around Lundy and Skomer for the birdwatchers on board.
3. The Scenic Route
If you’re heading to Dublin but don’t fancy taking a flight, Le Boreal is a 264 passenger mega-yacht which boasts interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, as well as serving the finest French cuisine. Departing from London and stopping off in Dover, it takes in the glorious views of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and the historic coves of the Scilly Isles. Before it arrives in Dublin, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Glengarriff and Kinsale over the course of a seven night journey.
4. A Royal Voyage
If opulence and exclusivity appeal, you could get on board the Hebridean Princess.The ship holds only 50 passengers, and the Queen herself chartered the vessel in 2006 for a holiday to celebrate her 80th birthday. Departing from Oban, the cruise explores the Outer Isles and visits lochs, islands and remote mainland sites and allows you to be surrounded by luxury.