The rural countryside of Northern Ireland, the ancient castles and mysterious lochs of Scotland, the icons and museums of England and the uncontaminated nature of the Hebrides and the Channel Islands.
A cruise to the British Isles lets you delve into an enchanted past while also delivering a modern experience in cities like London, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The nature of the islands means that many settlements sprung up along the coast; these have since flourished into bustling cities with a unique maritime backdrop. These cities are cornucopias of artistic and cultural delights where you can explore museums, do some shopping and take a guided tour as part of an informative shore excursion.
There are options leaving from Australia, usually setting sail in Brisbane or Sydney. These are, most likely, world cruises that include a visit to the British Isles. A once in a lifetime experience! If you have the time, don’t miss out on it.
The British Isles are great to visit any time of the year as the climate is mild and doesn’t get extreme either in the winter or the summer.
We would generally recommend visiting during the shoulder season months of:
The weather is mostly warm, dry and comfortable for exploring the outside. Visiting in spring or autumn also means you’ll avoid the high season, which is the summer and with it the tourist crowds. In addition, you will get to enjoy leaves changing colour in autumn or nature blooming in spring – a wonderful spectacle.
Southampton is located on the south coast of England and is one of the biggest port cities in the whole of the British Isles. The port itself is a tourist attraction, where you will discover the history behind building the famous Titanic, the QE2 royal yacht and the Mayflower and learn all about the future of shipbuilding.
If your cruise is departing from Southampton, get there a couple of days before embarkation and explore the city. Visit Guildhall Square to get to know the city’s cultural side, there are galleries, museums, live music venues, bars, cafés and much more. Take yourself out for a bottomless brunch that Southampton is famous for and enjoy a comedy show at the Stage Door in the evening.
The Shetland Island Archipelago is the UK’s northernmost region. Located between Norway, the Faroe Islands and Orkney in Scotland, the Shetlands are known for their blustery showers and strong winds. Despite that, the islands are extremely popular with cruisers.
White sand beaches that can feel almost tropical on warm sunny days, Northern Lights in Northern Hemisphere winter, orca sightings in June-July and otters all year round are just a few things that attract people to the archipelago. There are also the welcoming locals, numerous events, fresh seafood, wild camping and much more.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and the birthplace of the famous Titanic. Go on a self-guided tour around the Titanic Quarter and find out about the people who built the legendary ship, grab a bite to eat at the Titanic Hotel in the room where it was designed.
Explore the Belfast Castle, the botanic gardens around it and admire the stunning views of the city from 400 feet above sea level. A traditional Irish pub crawl is a must, check out the Cathedral Quarter for some of the best pubs in town.
When it comes to different kinds of landscapes, the British Isles have it all: hills, valleys, mountains, lakes, moors, beaches and flats, and that’s for a relatively small piece of land.
Scotland is dominated by mountains and hills, the highest of which is Ben Nevis (1345m). There are numerous trails for hiking, walking and climbing. Wales has the stunning lakes and woodlands of the Snowdonia National Park – make sure you check out the Llyn Idwal lake, which is a real treat for the hikers.
The coasts are rugged and steep like in Ireland or bright and idyllic like in Cornwall, England. Visit the caves of the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and go to the edge of the Giant Causeway in Northern Ireland.
The British Isles are home to more than 34000 castles. From the ruins of the Dunnottar Castle set on a cliff in Scotland to the Windsor Castle where you can still run into the members of the British royal family and the Trim Castle in Meath, Ireland where Braveheart was filmed – all of them have their own unique story to tell.
A lot of them are open to the public and gather thousands of visitors each year. Some even offer overnight stays so you can feel like you are sleeping on the set of a period drama.
The British Isles are home to some of the world’s greatest cities. London’s Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London are at the top of almost everyone’s bucket list. Dublin’s medieval architecture, pub culture and nightlife are a must-visit. Then there is Edinburgh, Bath, Cambridge and many more.
The region is also full of picturesque towns and quaint villages. Visit Polperro in Cornwall and explore the narrow little streets or go on a cliff top walk for spectacular views of the sea and land. Take a short drive south of Dublin and end up in Dalkey, arguably the prettiest seaside town in Ireland.
Sail to the verdant and dramatic shores of the British Isles – the lands of age-old forts and castles, boasting rich history and mythology. Visiting the British Isles in the summer is the best option by far – just remember the seasons here are the opposite to home! Princess offer great cruises to the British Isles, with some fantastic itineraries and Irish music and dance on board.