Enjoy a unique 15-day expedition cruise around the shores of the British Isles. Begin your journey in Dover and explore this coastal town famous for its white cliffs. Discover Fishguard in Wales, a charming, typical fishing village before cruising on to Northern Ireland, and key ports and isolated islands in Scotland. Your ship, the MS Maud will then voyage back down to visit Waterford the oldest city in Ireland, and on to the Isles of Scilly. You'll enjoy scenic cruising along the Jurassic Coast before returning to Dover.
Day 1: Dover, England - embarkation
Day 2: At sea
Day 3: Fishguard, Wales
Day 4: Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
Day 5: Isle of Iona, Scotland
Day 6: St. Kilda, Scotland
Day 7: Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Day 8: Fort William, Scotland
Day 9: Islay, Scotland
Day 10: Douglas, Isle of Man
Day 11: Waterford, Ireland
Day 12: Isles of Scilly, England
Day 13: Fowey, England
Day 14: Jurassic Coast & Portland, England
Day 15: Dover, England - disembarkation
Your expedition cruise begins as you set sail from Dover and your ship makes its 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 you 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 Centre, the Explorer lounge, or maybe your favourite spot out on deck.
Enjoy an idyllic day at sea with plenty to do. Meet your 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 ship’s cuisine that caught your eye on the menu, or settle into a good book while enjoying this day at sea.
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 “the last invasion of Britain”, by the French in 1797. The local library houses ‘The Last Invasion Tapestry’, a 100-foot long masterpiece that 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.
Explore the surrounding areas with walks through the ancient woodlands and the nearby Gwaun Valley which flows between Fishguard and the Preseli Mountains. With its unique atmosphere, there is plenty of wildlife and prehistoric sites to explore, the valley is listed as one of the most important meltwater channels in Britain and dates from the last Ice Age. At a more sedate pace, wander the gardens of Dyffryn Fernant or Penlan Uchaf, with lovely views across the valley.
Sitting just off the north coast, with its rugged cliffs, several lakes and vast, natural grasslands, Rathlin Island boasts Northern Ireland’s 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.
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 Scotland’s 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 Scotland’s kings are buried or take a short walk to the highest point on Iona offering spectacular 360 degree views.
Views from Iona’s beaches stretch west towards the Outer Hebrides, resulting in places bearing emotive names such as ‘The Bay at the Back of the Ocean’. Early afternoon, if conditions allow, we will spend time doing a ‘scenic sail by’ of the cave-riddled island of Staffa
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 stacks 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 Britain’s 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.
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 Scotland’s Stonehenge from around 3000BC, and the mysterious Carloway Broch - the best-preserved fort in Scotland dating back more than 2,000 years
Today, enjoy scenic sailing into the spectacular Loch Linnhe with mountains, islets, estuaries and lochs creating the ideal backdrop.
Dominated by the view of Ben Nevis, Fort William is our base for exploring this magnificent area. With its reputation as the “Outdoor Capital of the UK”, close proximity to Britain’s highest mountain and some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain this is an ideal location. There are plenty of local points of interest worth a visit – whether it's the excellent West Highland Museum in the centre of the town, St Andrew's Church, St Mary's Catholic Church, or the Old Fort. Nearby attractions include the town is Glenfinnan - best known for the stunning railway viaduct which featured in a Harry Potter movie, the 60-mile-long Caledonian Canal, Glencoe - one of Scotland's most spectacular places, and further afield is the Urquhart Castle - one of Scotland’s largest castles on the shores of Loch Ness.
Glen Nevis is also a short drive away where you can enjoy one of the best short walks in Scotland, through the dramatic and beautiful Nevis Gorge and the awesome Steall Falls. Or if you fancy a “wee dram” there’s the Ben Nevis Distillery located at the foot of the mountain.
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, around church housing no corners, and some say the locals are the friendliest in Britain.
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.
The location where your ship will dock in Douglas enables you 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.
The oldest city in Ireland, founded by the Vikings 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.
Visit the nearby 12th century Kilkenny Castle, one of the earliest Norman stone castles, stroll through quaint villages and charming hamlet towns nearby or take in the beautiful scenery with a cycle along the Waterford Greenway. A visit to the Copper Coast UNESCO Geopark offers spectacular scenery and sights of the Copper Coast
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.
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beautiful, historic harbour town of Fowey rests on the west side of the Fowey Estuary, a flooded valley cut by meltwater after the last Ice Age.
Explore this delightful location on foot and wander down to the panoramic Gribbin Head on the west side where the Gribbin Headland Daymark went up in 1832 as a navigation aid. There are many other walks available, including the “Hall Walk” along the Pont Pill creek or along the esplanade to Readymoney Cove and St Catherine’s Castle.
Located at the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, an area renowned for its natural beauty and historical heritage, Portland is a destination bursting with intrigue and history. With quiet coves, disused quarries, a rich and fascinating history with some of the best views in Britain as well as being a haven for wildlife.
A tied island, the Isle of Portland is situated on the southernmost point of the county of Dorset. A barrier beach called Chesil Beach joins Portland to the mainland and the resort town of Weymouth. With nearly 300 species of bird, over 30 species of butterfly and 720 species of moth, Chesil Beach and the Fleet lagoon are of international conservation importance. As a significant migrating point for birds, Portland provides bird watching enthusiasts with the prospect of glancing at rare species.
Your ship will pass the white cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbour. After breakfast, it’s time to leave your home for the past couple of weeks
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