Summary : The windswept shores of England and Wales showcase stunning and rugged landscapes teeming with diverse wildlife and scattered with charming villages. Journey aboard the National Geographic Orion from Portsmouth—once one of the world’s most important seaports—to the nearly forgotten isles of the English Channel and the Celtic Sea. Explore remote waters and coastlines by kayak and Zodiac, immersing yourself in a world of marine animals and migratory seabirds. In the seaside towns of Dartmouth and Fishguard, experience maritime culture amid festive marinas.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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$7,990 to $16,610
Arrive in London, and embark National Geographic Orion, docked on the Thames. Set sail, take in views of the city’s iconic landmarks and hear a presentation from a maritime expert on the importance of Portsmouth as a seaport. (L,D)
Your first anchoring is England’s maritime capital of Portsmouth. Delve into Great Britain’s nautical history with a behind-the scenes look at the perfectly preserved historic ships docked in the harbor, including the HMS Victory. Wander the city’s atmospheric waterfront, and perhaps stop for a pint at a traditional pub.
Opt to venture through the English countryside to Southwick House, the Allied headquarters during the D-Day landings. You have exclusive permission to enter the fascinating D-Day Map room.
Anchor at Alderney and take a walking tour of the island to learn about its important role in World War II under German occupation. Then, weather permitting, kayak across surrounding waters in search of migratory seabirds: puffins, gannets, and lesser black-backed gulls. After lunch, sail to nearby Sark. Take in the colorful sights and intoxicating scents of La Seigneurie Gardens.
The coastal paths of Alderney are perfect for heading off on your own to cycle or hike with stops at must see viewpoints. On Sark, you may wish to explore the blooming headland of the Gouliot Caves.
Enjoy breakfast on deck as your vessel navigates the River Dart en route to Dartmouth, a colorful town that cascades across a steep riverside hill. In small groups, discover the guardrooms, battlements, and winding passages of the 14th-century Dartmouth Castle. Spend the rest of the day exploring Dartmouth’s lively lanes on your own.
If you’re a mystery book fan, don’t miss a visit to Greenway House for a curator-led look at Agatha Christie’s house and gardens.
According to Arthurian legend, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of Lyonnesse, a lost land off Cornwall’s coast that is said to have vanished into the Atlantic. Discover Tresco Island and the world-class Tresco Abbey Gardens, where a surprising variety of tropical plants flourishes. Then stroll the village of Tresco, or join your naturalists for a nature walk, spotting the flora and fauna of these mythical islands.
Beautiful Skomer Island overflows with wildlife. Hop on a Zodiac to spot whales, dolphins, seals, and nesting seabirds. This afternoon stretch your legs along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which winds along the cliffs and pristine beaches surrounding Fishguard. Or, discover the prehistoric archaeology of Pembrokeshire, the area that yielded the stones for Stonehenge. Or, venture to St. David’s Cathedral for a guided walk of the lovely little town, before dinner ashore in Fishguard. This evening your guides have arranged a special dinner in a 13th century castle in the incredible Pembrokeshire countryside, complete with a private musical performance.
Dock at Holyhead and take a scenic drive to Snowdonia National Park. There are river gorges, waterfalls, lakes, and valleys to explore, whether you are coming for pulse-raising activities or for simply standing and admiring the Snowdonia Mountains. Or, visit Angelsey, a recognized GeoPark, to hike or cycle past intriguing rock formations. Enjoy a festive musical celebration before setting sail to Dublin.
Wake up in Dublin, disembark after breakfast and head to the airport for your flight home, or remain in Dublin for an added stay. (B)
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Departure (Dublin to London): 9/2/2017
Travel with a National Geographic photographer and certified photo instructor—at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. And, take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the expert photographers and instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; excursions; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of kayaks; services of expedition leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guide; services of a ship physician; gratuities; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; extensions; passport and visa fees; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.