British Isles – Remote Islands, Natural Wonders & Diverse Coastline
We set sail from the south of England to the most northerly region of Scotland covering a vast area in between. A true British Isles journey, visiting England, Wales, N. Ireland, the Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and the Hebrides. As we head for remote destinations which will challenge our seamanship, the true meaning of expedition cruising will become apparent as the ideal way to discover these often inaccessible places.
Day 1 – Your Voyage Begins
This expedition cruise begins as we set sail from Dover and make our way along the south coast of England.
Before joining your ship today, perhaps take time to explore the coastal town of Dover with the magnificent, medieval Castle.
As we head out to sea, passing the famous white cliffs of Dover, stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Maud. Find the amenities you like best the Science Center, the Explorer lounge, or maybe your favourite spot out on deck.
Day 2 – Relax and Learn
Enjoy an idyllic day at sea with plenty to do.
Meet our Expedition Team, who prepare you for exciting adventures ahead. Listen in on talks by these experienced explorers who share their extensive knowledge, or maybe you just want to kick back and relax.
Admire the views, try some of the ships cuisine that caught your eye on the menu, or settle into a good book while enjoying this day at sea.
Day 3 – Explore Fishguard
This small, typical fishing village, seems to have stood still in time. With its charming main street and lush green surroundings, Fishguard lies between the Preseli Hills and the coast of Pembrokeshire. Split in two by a steep, winding hill, the new town sits on a clifftop commanding spectacular views.
Steeped in history dating back as far as the 10th Century, Fishguards past includes Viking raids and Norse settlements, and has the dubious accolade as the site of last invasion of Britain, by the French in 1797. 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 town offers insight into this fascinating history as well as being charming with local shops, cafes and restaurants to enjoy.
Day 4 – Seabirds, Choughs and Corncrake
Sitting just off the north coast, with its rugged cliffs, several lakes and vast, natural grasslands, Rathlin Island boasts Northern Irelands largest seabird colony.
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 are waiting, or choose from many rambling cross-island trails. Visit the Seabird centre and lighthouse -a unique and fully operational upside-down lighthouse. Here, close-up views of the seabird colonies are enjoyed, as well as spectacular panoramic coastal views. Or stroll to Mill Bay where you can watch the frisky seals either at play or just relaxing in the sunshine.
Thousands of seabirds congregate on the island to breed from late April to July, including puffin, guillemot, kittiwake, razorbill and fulmar. Rathlin Island is also home to Northern Ireland’s only pair of breeding choughs, and, more recently, calls by the secretive corncrake have been heard here for the first time in 30 years. Located on the mainland, the World Heritage site of the Giants Causeway is just a short ferry ride and drive away.
Day 5 – Pilgrims and Puffins
World-famous for its religious connections, Iona was settled in 563 AD by the Irish missionary, St Colomba.
The much-restored Abbey is one of Scotlands most historic and sacred sites, and still remains a place of pilgrimage and peace. Spend time exploring the Abbey and learn about its fascinating history, visit the ancient graveyard where 48 of Scotlands kings are buried or take a short walk to the highest point on Iona offering spectacular 360 degree views.
Day 6 – Reclaimed by Nature
Any visit to this distant and wild archipelago, with its breathtaking sea cliffs, is totally weather-dependent. As a UNESCO double World Heritage Site and the jewel in the crown of the National Trust for Scotland, it is an unforgettable experience. The outlying stacs and islands, which are the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. Minke whales are frequently seen around the swirling waters of the archipelago.
Once home to Britains most remote island community, it was evacuated in 1930 at their own request after 5,000 years of continuous habitation. The tiny museum that remains is a record of how hard life was on this exposed island.
Spend time ashore exploring this remote, uninhabited island and take in the magnificent rugged scenery.
Day 7 – Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
Originally a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of the Isle of Lewis, which is the largest and most northerly of the Outer Hebrides. A bustling harbour and waterfront with museums and art galleries are overlooked by the handsome Lews Castle which we invite you to explore with us.
Further afield are mills and cottages where hard-wearing Harris Tweed is woven. There are tiny folk museums, the world-famous Callanish Standing Stones, described as Scotlands Stonehenge from around 3000BC, and the mysterious Carloway Broch – the best preserved fort in Scotland dating back more than 2,000 years.
Day 8 – Land of Whisky
Pronounced EYE-la was once the seat of the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles. This is whisky island, world famous for its peaty single-malt whiskies and its many local distilleries is one of the largest Hebridean islands.
Offering a diverse landscape, together with ancient Celtic ruins, Islay is a stop-off for migrating birds, making it ideal for seabird spotting along its many superb cliff-top walks.
In the charming little town of Bowmore, there are a handful of small shops, a round church housing no corners, and some say the locals are the friendliest in Britain.
Day 9 – Viking History on a Celtic Island
With a rural landscape and rugged coastline, the Isle of Man became a designated Biosphere Reserve in recognition of its marine and coastal ecosystems. With more than 100 miles of stunning coastline and rugged cliffs, the island has a spectacular landscape of rolling hills, moorland and heath, waterfalls, pebble-dash beaches and coastal paths an ideal destination for exploring.
Our location in Douglas enables us to explore the island which has a strong Celtic and Viking heritage. There are Viking museums to visit, or board a historic steam train, or discover the castles of the island, or just enjoy strolling through the town and local surrounds at your leisure.
On previous calls to the Isle of Man, we have joined the local community and taken part in a beach clean-up as well as engaging in a tree-planting ceremony along with the Department of Forestry who have identified a site where they intend planting 84,000 trees as a national forest.
The famous TT races are held on the island from late May to early June.
Day 10 – A Warm Irish Welcome
The oldest city in Ireland, founded by the Vikings in at the start of the 10th century, Waterford and its surrounding areas is a short drive away and make this the ideal destination to visit.
With its strong Norse roots, explore the Viking Triangle, so named for the 1,000 year old Viking walls once surrounding the area and is an integral part of the cultural and heritage of Waterford City.
Steeped in history and set amongst beautiful Irish countryside, the region is renowned for its excellent archaeological treasures, parts of the ancient walled core still remaining as well as Norman forts and majestic, medieval abbey ruins and ancient monasteries.
Day 11 – Beauty, history and brimming with wildlife
This enchanting archipelago off the coast of Cornwall is home to outstandingly beautiful, uncrowded and unspoilt islands and around 140 islets. Covered in heathland, with magnificent sandy beaches, these islands are surrounded by rocks and reefs and offer picturesque coastal walks.
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. 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.
Day 12 – Along the River Dart
A picturesque sail-in marks our arrival into the delightful waterfront town of Dartmouth. Set on the banks of the River Dart, this enchanting town is steeped in maritime history along with a rich cultural history.
With a commanding location above the town, dating back to 1863, 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.
Buckfast Abbey, historic castles, steam train rides and magnificent walking trails are just a few of the many compelling attractions waiting to be explored during our visit.
We will be anchored in the centre of the town with a short tender ride ashore, allowing you easy access to visit the town on your own to stroll through the lanes and enjoy the quaint shops. Or join one of our impressive excursions to learn more about this fascinating town and the scenic Devonshire surrounds.
Day 13 – Return to England
We pass the white cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the citys harbour. After breakfast, its time to leave your home for the past 13 days.