Coast to Coast
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Best of Britain
Join Saga Sapphire on her last circumnavigation of the British coast. From the Scottish Highlands to Jurassic Coast, and Orkney Islands to Channel Islands, this voyage is a showcase of the best of Britain. You can discover a host of historic cities, including Newcastle, Belfast and Liverpool, as well as lesser visited ports, such as Dorsets seaside town of Poole, a first for Saga Sapphire. Cruising highlights feature docking alongside Leiths lochs one last time for a Saga ship, a Highland feast on board in Fort William and a Beatles party as Saga Sapphire sails away from Liverpool. Memorable shore excursions will reveal some of Britains grandest country houses and royal estates that have historical ties to the places you visit. Insightful on-board talks will shed light on life in the British royal family and you can look forward to light-hearted performances inspired by everyones favourite bard, Shakespeare.
Your first port of call sits on the north bank of the River Tyne and is sure to delight you with its variety of sights and experiences. Within the city centre you’ll find the Grade I-listed Theatre Royal, regional home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, and one of the world’s oldest working Victorian theatres, the Tyne Theatre. Its Victorian city centre is home to the Castle Keep, one of Britain’s finest examples of surviving Norman keeps, and in the Grainger Town district you’ll find many quirky boutiques and galleries. The city’s Quayside houses several landmark buildings and is where you’ll see the impressive seven bridges, including Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Leith (for Edinburgh), Scotland.
Depart 1300 on April 25.Saga Sapphires visit to Leith will mark the last time a Saga ship will berth alongside here. From here you can visit Edinburgh to discover its myriad sights, such as the black spire of the Hub, the brown flanks of Arthurs Seat and the steely grey Firth of Forth. You may wish to visit Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish capital’s iconic fortress which is perched on an extinct volcano! Alternatively, you can visit Holyrood Palace, the Queens official residence when she is north of the border. The estate encompasses four hectares of immaculate gardens to stroll through.
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands.
Located on Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands, Kirkwall’s most striking feature is 12th-century St Magnus’ Cathedral. The islands are famed for their Neolithic and Iron Age archaeological sites, of which no fewer than four are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. During your visit, excursions are available to the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae, a stone village whose foundations were preserved beneath the sand until they were unearthed by a fierce storm in 1850.
Fort William, Scotland.
After cruising across the inky waters of Loch Linnhe, Saga Sapphire will reach Scotlands wild and rugged Highlands when you call at the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Fort William falls in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the UKs tallest mountain which is popular with walkers, hikers and mountain bikers keen to conquer it. Within the town lie early buildings, shops, cafes and churches, together with remnants of the Old Fort dating to 1654, built originally by Oliver Cromwell. From here you can visit 18th-century Inveraray Castle, the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of the Campbell Clan whose family have resided in Iveraray since the early 15th century.
Land by Launch or tender
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The past two decades have seen the capital of Northern Ireland undergo a quiet transformation. Belfast has embraced its proud seafaring history as reflected in the towering bright-yellow Samson and Goliath cranes, and the Titanic Belfast, a modern museum dedicated to the ill-fated liner built here. The revived city centre is packed with a superb selection of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as outstanding landmarks such as the grand City Hall in the centre of Donegall Square, the 19th-century Opera House and Queens University. Down on the quay you can study the Salmon of Knowledge, a 10-foot long mosaic fish which is imprinted with the citys history. Belfast also provides an excellent base for exploring the surrounding coast and the amazing Giants Causeway made of hexagonal basalt pillars.
The seaport city of Liverpool has an impressive waterfront dominated by the ‘Three Graces’: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. Renowned as the hometown of the Beatles, you can discover the history of the Fab Four at the Beatles Story walk-through exhibition or go in search of the sites associated with them, such as the Cavern Club, where they made their first live performance. Explore the city’s many other cultural attractions such as the Tate Liverpool or Merseyside Maritime Museum which will offer a glimpse into the city’s heyday as a centre for shipbuilding.
Ireland’s compact capital is famed for its spirited nature. Enjoy the ‘craic’ in the city’s bars and restaurant, discover the renowned Temple Bar district, or enjoy a peaceful cruise along the River Liffey which intersects the city. Alternatively, you may like to join a tour and see the citys highlights, from the handsome Georgian terraces of Merrion Square and walled Phoenix Park to busy OConnell Street and St Patricks Cathedral.
St Peter Port, Guernsey.
With its unique fusion of Gallic and British cultures, Guernsey makes a fascinating final port of call on your journey. Here you can explore quaint cobbled streets and steep lanes lined with neat rows of houses, investigate interesting museums and see relics from the German Occupation. Discover some of the ports museums during your morning ashore, or marvel at a mosaic of pebbles, seashells and glass in the Little Chapel on an optional excursion.
A new port, Poole is known for its lovely long sandy beaches and charming old town full of Georgian buildings. Its also well placed for exploring nearby Bournemouth, as well as Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic Coast where you can spy landmarks like the Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks. Plus, you can visit the delightful Isle of Purbeck which is actually a peninsula!