British Isles Explorer
|Resort:||British Isles Explorer|
|Operator:||Viking Ocean Cruises|
Explore the entirety of the British Isles, calling on its major ports in Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England.
Immerse yourself in the British Isles during a 15-day cruise, with overnight stays in Bergen, Norway, and Greenwich, England. Discover Scotland’s legendary Highlands and Western Isles and the capital of Edinburgh. Visit the Shetland and Orkney Islands and contrast modern Belfast with traditional Dublin. Witness Welsh culture in Snowdonia. In England, visit maritime Liverpool, see historic Dover and enjoy a tour of London.
All This Is Included
When you arrive in Bergen, encircled by majestic mountains, fjords and glaciers, you’ll quickly understand how its setting inspired the Viking sagas. With your ship berthed next to Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can easily stroll along its waterfront once you’ve settled in to your veranda stateroom. This evening mingle with the locals and dine ashore, as we will be spending the night in port.
Take in more of Bergen’s Norwegian charms this morning. You’ll see the beautiful 18th-century wooden houses and visit the Hanseatic Museum on your included tour. Or, take an excursion to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s famous composer Edvard Grieg, or a trip to the peak of Mt. Ulriken to savor an Ulriken bun, a cinnamon pastry, at the mountaintop restaurant.
Shetland Islands (Lerwick), Scotland
Admire the rugged beauty of one of Scotland’s remote island outposts today. You’ll set out to explore the main island’s southern reaches on an included tour. After a panoramic drive through charming Lerwick, the Shetlands’ only burgh, stop at the limestone hamlet of Fladdabister, the crofting town of Aithsetter and a 2,000-year-old castle. Or, visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof instead, stunning evidence of a thriving Viking presence.
The Highlands (Invergordon), Scotland
Call today on Invergordon, on the doorstep of the mountainous, heather-covered Scottish Highlands. One of Europe’s most sparsely populated regions, the famed Highlands provide a fascinating glimpse into the days of warring clans. Enjoy a scenic drive into their splendor, stopping to view Loch Ness, legendary home of the elusive monster, and the historic ruins of Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland’s largest, perched on a ledge overlooking the famous lake.
Edinburgh (Rosyth), Scotland
Today, you’ll take in the medieval and neoclassical beauty of Scotland’s capital, gracefully set among rocky hills and gracious green ribbons of park. On an included tour, browse the National Museum of Scotland and drive the Royal Mile, the famed avenue connecting the hilltop Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You might elect to explore Edinburgh Castle more closely, including a visit to the Crown Jewels. Or, venture to medieval St. Andrews, birthplace of golf.
Orkney Islands (Kirkwall), Scotland
Today, immerse yourself in the rich history of the Orkney Islands, ruled by the Vikings from the 9th to 13th century. Explore recent history on an included Kirkwall walking tour of 17th- and 18th-century houses, the Bishop’s Palace, the French Renaissance Earl’s Palace and St. Magnus Cathedral. Or, opt to explore “Scottish Pompeii,” a remarkable Neolithic site.
The Highlands (Ullapool), Scotland
Cruise through the stunningly scenic Western Isles and anchor in the pristine waters of Loch Broom to explore Ullapool, situated in a spectacularly remote area of the United Kingdom. Dramatic mountain peaks pierce the sky here, dwarfing this former herring port village. You will disembark for a panoramic tour that takes you deep into the village-dotted Wester Ross landscape, passing pristine lakes, craggy massifs and tranquil castles.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Explore Belfast, a hidden gem of the British Isles and capital of Northern Ireland. This historic city has undergone a renaissance that has bolstered its economy and its culture. During a tour, witness a unique blend of British-influenced Victorian flair in its stately public buildings and an authentic Irish charm in its pubs and shops. See the quaint Cathedral Quarter, the majestic City Hall, bustling St. George’s Market and the poignant murals recalling its past turbulence. If you wish, you may visit the nearby Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular seaside formation of 40,000 conjoined basalt columns.
Discover Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles and a stunning cultural center of soaring churches and impressive architecture. You will see the neoclassical St. George’s Hall and the cone-shaped Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. On the storied waterfront, part of the city’s Maritime Mercantile UNESCO World Heritage Site, marvel at the “Three Graces,” a trio of magnificent buildings. You might also follow in the footsteps of the Beatles, Liverpool’s most famous sons.
Soak up the Welsh ambiance of Holyhead, a cozy coastal enclave on the northwestern tip of Wales. This fascinating town is contained within one of the few three-walled Roman forts in Europe, protected on the fourth side by the sea. You will see the historic St. Cybi’s Church at the fortress’s center and visit the Holyhead Maritime Museum, chronicling local seafaring history. You will also have time to explore the bustling waterfront.
Discover Dublin, the Republic of Ireland’s charismatic capital on the Liffey River. Founded as a Viking settlement, today it is one of Europe’s most significant cultural hubs. A panoramic tour takes you to Trinity College; its library is the city’s repository of some five million volumes. You will also see the soaring St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, two major centers of the country’s religion, and pass by neoclassical City Hall and the sprawling Dublin Castle.
Cruise the English Channel
Cruise the Irish Sea into the Celtic Sea. Along with a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean to the west of the British Isles, these waters were once known simply as “Western Approaches” as recently as the mid-20th century. You will round the southern shores of Wales and England and enter the English Channel, making your way to the Strait of Dover. Enjoy your ship’s many amenities as you cruise, perhaps indulging in a massage at The Spa, taking high tea in the Wintergarden and closing your day with fine cuisine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant.
Call on Dover today, where you can explore the streets of this ancient port, said to have been set ablaze when William the Conqueror came through on his way to London after his Battle of Hastings victory. A panoramic tour leads you to the impressive walls of hilltop Dover Castle, the largest fortification in England, and to a scenic overlook for striking views of the dramatic White Cliffs of Dover.
London (Greenwich), England
Discover the celebrated Royal Borough of Greenwich—part of which, Maritime Greenwich, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. London is just a short drive away, so you can take in the regal city and all its splendor. See the Tower of London, Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Or venture into the countryside to visit Windsor Castle, one of the royal residences. Alternately, step off the ship to tour Greenwich, its excellent National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory from where the world’s clocks are set.
London (Greenwich), England
Disembark your ship this morning as your journey comes to a close, or extend your stay in London. You may continue your journey with an extension opportunity in Scotland or Iceland.