British Isles from Dover (13 days)

Sail from the south of England all the way up to the North of Scotland and back without missing anything in between with our British Isles 13-day voyage. We will be sailing to remote locations as part of this expedition cruise and exploring the true delights of what this beautiful island has to offer right on our doorstop. Stopping not just at towns and villages along the way, we will also uncover diverse landscapes, coastal paths, nature landings and scenic coastal cruising through unique pristine waters.

There are so many highlights on this voyage including: the remarkable birdlife of Rathlin Island, the abandoned village of St. Kilda, ancient history of the Isle of Man and Waterford, naval history and the scenic beauty of Devon, as well as the whisky island of Islay to name a few. Whilst we encourage you to discover the area at your own pace, Hurtigruten do have their own expedition team on board to help you to get the most out of this voyage.

Get off The Beaten Track in the British Isles

Your journey will begin in Dover and from there you will visit England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and the Hebrides. If you’re adventurous and want to see more of the British Isles, this is definitely the way to do it. Hurtigruten’s expedition cruises allow you to get the most out your time away and their expert expedition team are always ready to give you the best tips on where to go, depending on what you want to see and do.

  • Discover the abandoned village of St. Kilda, ancient history on the Isle of Man and Naval history in Devon.
  • See the superb birdlife on Rathlin Island
  • Enjoy a ‘wee dram’ on the island of Islay
  • Be mesmerised by the beauty of the British Isles

Check out the full itinerary to find out what you can expect to experience on the 13-day British Isles expedition cruise and start your journey of discovery.

Day 1: Dover

Goodbye Blighty

Today is the start of your voyage around the British Isles. Before embarking on the ship, if you don’t know Dover why not take a look around the town or its famed medieval castle.

When you get onboard the MS Maud, take a wander around the ship and find out what there is to enjoy on board. It has a fully equipped Science Centre, comfortable lounge and a spacious deck – the perfect spot to take in the wonderful views as you sail around the British Isles.

Day 2: At Sea

And Relax

Today is all about planning your voyage. The excellent expedition team will be giving talks about what you can expect to see during your trip so it’s the perfect opportunity to find out what’s on offer and to take advantage of their extensive experience.

Alternatively, you can simply sit back, admire the views and wait for the adventures to come to you. Whatever you do, don’t forget to dive into the tasty food on board.

Day 3: Fishguard, Wales

The Land That Time Forgot

Fishguard is a small fishing village with a relaxed atmosphere around it that makes you feel like it has stood still in time. Nestled between the Preseli Hills and the coast of Pembrokeshire, it has the most spectacular views.

Dating back to the 10th Century Fishguard has endured Viking raids and Norse settlements. Invaded by the French in 1797, it was the last place in Britain to be invaded. The local library houses ‘The Last Invasion Tapestry’, a 100-foot long masterpiece which took 4 years to complete and records the scenes of the invasion.

The surrounding areas of Fishguard are definitely worth seeing and there is plenty to enjoy, such as a walk through the ancient woodlands and the nearby Gwaun Valley. The valley which dates back to the last Ice Age has an abundance of wildlife and pre-historic sites can still be seen.  If you fancy something with a more sedate pace, the gardens of Dyffryn Fernant or Penlan Uchaf, have lovely views across the valley.

Day 4: Rathlin Island

Get Up Close and Personal with Nature

Rathlin Island’s claim to fame is that it hosts Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony. For up close and personal views of the bird colonies, head to the Seabird centre and lighthouse a unique and fully operational ‘upside-down’ lighthouse. If you want to see seals having fun and relaxing in the sunshine, stroll to Mill Bay where you can get some great photos of these fun-loving creatures.

At just six miles long and one mile wide, it is ideal for exploring by bike or on foot on one of the many walks in the area. Cliff-top walks or a rambling cross-island trail – whatever takes your fancy, there’s something for everyone.

Day 5: Isle of Iona and Staffa

Stunning and Untouched Beauty

Today is all about two mesmerising and untouched Scottish islands. World famous for its religious connections, Iona was settled in 563 AD by the Irish missionary, St Colomba. Having undergone vast restoration, the Abbey today pays homage to the Isle’s fascinating history and stands as proud custodian to the 48 Scottish Kings that are buried in the graveyard.

Stunning and untouched, the island’s beaches look towards the Outer Hebrides and come with unique names such as ‘The Bay at the Back of the Ocean’.

The afternoon is weather dependant. If the weather is on its best behaviour, we will spend time doing a ‘scenic sail by’ of the cave-riddled island of Staffa. Uninhabited, it is home to the cathedral-like Fingal’s Cave. The basalt columns here are a northern extension of the Giant’s Causeway. Staffa has piqued the interest of many famous people including Queen Victoria, Sir Walter Scott and Samuel Johnson.

Day 6: Kilda, Hirta Island

Wild and Breath Taking 

Any visit to this distant and wild archipelago, with its breathtaking sea cliffs, is totally weather-dependent. The island does not just have one but two UNESCO World Heritage sites. The result of a volcanic crater, its many ledges make it the perfect habitat for nesting seabirds. Minke whales are also often seen around the swirling waters of the archipelago, so make sure you have your camera ready for when they appear.

Once home to Britain’s most remote island community, it was evacuated at their own request in 1930, after 5,000 years of continuous habitation. Today, the tiny museum pays homage to how hard life was on this exposed island.

Day 7: Stornoway, Lewis

The Largest and Most Northernly Island 

The Isle of Lewis is the largest and most northernly island of the Outer Hebrides. The capital, Stornoway has a slightly more vibrant atmosphere compared to the uninhabited and rugged isles that you will have visited on the days previously. There is a bustling harbour and waterfront with museums and art galleries, all of which are overlooked by the handsome Lews Castle – a must to look around.

The famous Harris Tweed is still woven here and you can see the mills and cottages further afield. The famous Callanish Standing Stones, Scotland’s version of Stonehenge, can also be found here. Finally, there is the mysterious Carloway Broch – the best-preserved fort in Scotland, dating back more than 2,000 years.

Day 8: Islay, Scotland

Meet The Local Distillers

Pronounced ‘EYE-la’, Islay is world famous for its peaty single-malt whisky and Its many local distilleries make it one of the largest producers in the Hebridean islands.

Yet there is more to Islay than whisky. Its diverse landscape, jagged cliff faces and many Celtic ruins make it a hotspot for migrating seabirds as a stopping point.

It is also said to be home to the friendliest people in Britain. To put it to the test head to the town of Bowmore. Here you will find a few small shops as well as its famous round church that has no corners.

Day 9: Douglas, Isle of Man

Stunning Coastline and Rugged Cliffs

With more than 100 miles of stunning coastline and rugged cliffs, the Isle of Man has a spectacular landscape of rolling hills, moorland and heath, waterfalls, pebble-dash beaches and coastal paths – making it an ideal destination for exploring.

Douglas, the capital and largest town of the Isle of Man is ideally situated to get around the island and to see what you want to see. You can find out all about its strong Viking history at the Viking museum, board an historic steam train, discover the castles of the island, or just simply stroll through the town and the surrounding area at your leisure.

Peel, with its impressive castle is just 16km from Douglas. This delightful harbour community was originally constructed by the Viking King of Mann and dates back to the 11th Century.

Day 10: Waterford, Ireland

Ireland’s Oldest City

Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, founded by the Vikings in the 10th Century, has strong Norse roots. The Viking Triangle, named for the 1,000-year-old Viking walls once surrounding the area is an integral part of the culture and heritage of Waterford City.

Nearby is the 12th Century Kilkenny Castle, one of the earliest Norman Castles. You can stroll through charming villages and hamlet towns nearby or take in the beautiful scenery with a cycle along the Waterford Greenway.  The Copper Coast UNESCO Geopark has amazing scenery and sights of the Copper Coast.  A visit to the House of Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, home to the famous and finest crystal since 1783, is a must.

Day 11: Isles of Scilly

Breathtaking Beauty

Made up of 140 islands and islets just off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are breathtakingly beautiful and completely unspoilt. Covered in heathland and stunning sandy beaches, the surrounding rocks and reefs provide some of the most picturesque coastal walks you will ever go on.

Ideal for exploring on foot, the small town of Tresco is home to the world famous Tresco Abbey Garden with its 20,000 plants from 80 different countries. If you fancy it, you can also explore the castle ruins, the Valhalla Museum or stroll along the tropical-like white beaches.  Should conditions allow, we aim to do a beach clean-up on this charming island.

You may choose to visit the largest of the islands, St. Mary’s. The highlights of this island are its rocky coves, archaeological sites and charming Hugh Town. For those that love tasting the best and freshest seafood dishes, Hugh Town is the place to do this.

Alternatively, you can join one of our optional excursions for a trip around the islands, visiting shipwreck sites, spotting seals basking on the rocks and cruising around the bird sanctuary of Annet to observe the puffins and numerous other breeding seabirds.

Day 12: Dartmouth

Naval History

The enchanting town of Dartmouth is full of British naval history. The magnificent building of Britannia Royal Naval College trains the finest officers in the world and is set in 126 acres of landscaped gardens offering views over the river, the town and out to sea.

There is plenty of other history and sites for you to enjoy as well. Buckfast Abbey, historic castles, steam train rides and magnificent walking trails are just a few of the many compelling attractions waiting to be explored.

We will be anchored in the centre of the town with a short tender ride ashore, giving you easy access to visit the town on your own. If you would like, you can join one of our excursions to learn more about this fascinating town and the scenic Devonshire surrounds.

Day 13: Dover

Goodby For Now

It is time to say goodbye as we will sail by the famous White Cliffs of Dover in the early morning. We’ll arrive in Dover just after breakfast. You may want to take a last look around this fascinating town one more time, before making your way home, after what we hope has been an unforgettable time away.

What’s included

Included in your voyage:

Expedition Cruise

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas and mineral water) in restaurant Aune and Fredheim
  • A la carte restaurant Lindstrom included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Please note that we sail in remote areas so the connection will be very limited and as a result streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included excursions

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Centre, its extensive library, biological and geological microscopes and samples
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer giving top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna and indoor and outdoor gyms.

Landing Activities

  • Landings using our fleet of small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographer to help with your camera settings before landings

What’s not included in your voyage:

  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
  • Spa treatments

Life On Board

MS Maud, previously MS Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsens “Maud” from 1917. Currently undergoing refurbishment, the ship will be completed in 2021 in time for this voyage. Fully equipped with advanced technology, the redesigned ship will be ideal for expedition cruises.

Featuring natural Scandinavian materials like granite, oak, birch and wool, the ship’s design has been kept in line with the Scandinavian look and feel that is associated with the classic Hurtigruten fleet, creating a relaxed and stylish atmosphere.

On board is the interactive Science Centre where you can get involved with the learning tools and state-of-the-art technology. You can see the work that the Hurtigruten team are doing to allow us to enjoy travel sustainably. For spectacular views, the outdoor Observation deck or the Explorer lounge and bar are the places to be.

Hurtigruten as a company focuses on sustainable travel. Their aim is to be completely emission free and they encourage travel without causing disruption to the wildlife and natural habitat of the areas. As the first cruise line in the world, Hurtigruten is permanently introducing biodiesel as fuel on a number of ships – including MS Maud.

Biodiesel reduces (CO2) emissions with up to 80 % (compared to regular marine diesel). Hurtigruten’s environmentally certified biodiesel is produced from waste from industries such as fisheries and agriculture – which means no palm oil is used in the biofuel production and there are no negative effects on rainforests. Hurtigruten will use biodiesel in combination with other low-emission fuels. Single use plastic is also banned on the Hurtigruten fleet. It is also equipped for shore power, completely eliminating emissions when docked in ports with shore power facilities.

Hurtigruten really does come into its own with its on-board Expedition team. Passionate and experienced about all things Expedition Cruising and seeinplaces off the beaten track, the team host lectures, presentation programmes and activities on a regular basis. 

Features at a glance:

  • Expedition Team
  • Three restaurants
  • Explorer bar lounge
  • Wi-Fi
  • Sauna
  • Hot tubs
  • Fitness room

Can’t see what you are looking for? Don’t worry, in all probability we can still do it.
Call us on 01582 349480.

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About Suitcase Travel

A family run boutique travel agency, we specialise in creating memorable travel experiences. Offering unique adventures, tailored to your specific requirements, we focus solely on you, helping you to understand the experience that your holiday will give you and equipping you with those all-important tips that will help to make your holiday that extra bit special. Oh, and the best part? Our service is free – it literally costs you no more than if you were to book direct. Come and talk to us and we’ll help you to create memories that really will last a lifetime.

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