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Exploring the British & Irish Isles

British Isles Cruise

Summary : Joining an expedition to the Isles is an unparalleled experience—a fresh, revealing perspective on what might be ancestral lands for many Americans, and familiar to quite a few. Find the hidden treasures and most charming places to explore, and glimpsel the seldom-seen.  With the docent-quality guidance from rour expert staff, you will see and learn more than you thought possible, all while traveling in comfort and style. Begin your journey along the historic Thames, follow the maritime thread through the isles—wild and beautiful places where Celtic and Viking influences still thrive—and explore charming villages along the coast with opportunities to kayak, stroll nature walks, or hike into the hills for scenic perspectives. 

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography


Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!

Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1 – 2
U.S. / London, England / Embark

Depart on an overnight flight to London, and upon arrival, embark National Geographic Explorer along the Thames River, seeing the iconic Tower Bridge.

Day 3

Set along the south coast of England, Portsmouth plays a major role in British naval history. The rich heritage is evident at the Historical Dockyard which houses HMS Victory, the three-masted flagship in which Lord Nelson led the victorious Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the Mary Rose, a Tudor-era warship. Aside from its marine heritage, Portsmouth is also known for its literary history as the birthplace of Charles Dickens.

Day 4
Fowey Island / Eden Project

Steeped in maritime history, Drake, Raleigh and Cook have all passed through Fowey (pronounced “Foy” by the locals). Stroll the winding, medieval streets and browse unique shops, art galleries and pubs, before heading to the Cornwall countryside and the Eden Project, where your botanical journey continues. A celebration of nature, the Eden Project is more than a garden walk — with vast biomes (greenhouses), it emphasizes man’s connection to, and dependence on, the natural world. Or opt to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Lost for almost 75 years after WWI, the private gardens at Heligan were the seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years.

Day 5
Isles of Scilly

According to Arthurian legend, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of Lyonnesse, a land off Cornwall that vanished beneath the Atlantic. Meander through Tresco Abbey Gardens, where an astounding variety of subtropical plants flourish.

Day 6
The Skelligs and Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Rising abruptly from the sea, the rocky isle of Skellig Michael was once an important center of Celtic Christianity. From the ship gaze up, the beehive huts of its seventh-century monastery, clinging to the jagged peak 600 feet above the sea. After lunch, explore the ancient sites of beautiful Dingle Peninsula and wander through the village of Dingle.

Day 7
Cliffs Of Moher and Aran Islands

View the towering Cliffs of Moher as you sail by them this morning. Continue to the Aran Islands, known for their limestone moonscapes and strong Gaelic identity. Visit Dun Aengus, an enigmatic Celtic ring fort perched on the edge of a cliff.

Day 8
County Donegal, Ireland

Explore the fishing harbor of Killybegs, gateway to the Donegal's famous woolen mills, or discover some of the region’s ancient archaeological sites. Sail past the 2,000-foot cliffs of Slieve league.

Day 9
Iona and Staffa, Inner Hebrides, Scotland

On Iona, venture into an ancient nunnery and a 13th-century abbey. Examine the Celtic high crosses of kings such as Duncan and Macbeth. This afternoon, explore Staffa, an island famed for its geometric basalt columns and deep-sea caves. It was here that Felix Mendelssohn was inspired to write his "Hebrides Overture."

Day 10
Outer Hebrides: St. Kilda and Callanish

Visit the Outer Hebrides, where Scottish Gaelic is still spoken and artisans weave traditional woolen fabrics. Weather permitting, explore the cottages of remote St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site inhabited from the Bronze Age. Later, see the neolithic Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

Day 11

Stroll through Inverewe Gardens, where colorful subtropical flora thrives. Explore the charming fishing village of Ullapool in the afternoon.

Day 12
Orkney Islands

Encounter a sophisticated Stone Age culture on visits to the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step into the medieval St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.

Day 13
Fair Isle and Mousa

Visit the bird research station, located on the migration flyway. Hike to a nearby beach to look for puffins. Then, on the uninhabited island of Mousa, see one of the best examples of an Iron Age broch.

Day 14
Shetland Islands

Dock at the Shetland Islands, an archipelago of about 100 islands and islets. Drive through a rolling landscape with Shetland ponies. Explore the ruins at Jarlshof, which reveal 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement.

Day 15
Bergen, Norway / Disembark / Home

Arrive at Bergen, Norway, disembark, and transfer to the airport for your return flights home.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Photo Expedition:
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.

Optional Pre- / Post-Trip Extension: (6 Days)
Exploring Wales: Expore the distinct Welsh culture and a wealth of castles, gardens and abbeys, including Tintern Abbey, made famous by the poet Wordsworth, and so much more. From $4,890 per person. Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

All accommodations aboard ship; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship; meals on land as indicated; shore excursions; sightseeing and entrance fees; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of kayaks; port taxes and service taxes; services of a ship physician on most voyages; services of your expedition staff. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Air transportation; passport, visa, immigration fees; meals not indicated; baggage/accident/travel insurance; items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages; email; laundry; gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion; optional extensions; fuel surcharge may apply.

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