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Enjoy a unique 13-day coastal exploration along the length of the British Isles and beyond, discovering the wildlife, nature, and distinct heritage of these diverse destinations.
From Dover, your ship the MS Maud will sail along the south coast of England and up the west coast of the British Isles to the Hebrides before returning to Dover via different ports. This expedition is crammed full of discovery, taking in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and the Hebridean islands. See how nature and heritage have distinctly shaped the culture of each destination, alongside picturesque towns and historical landmarks. You’ll encounter wild landscapes, scenic coastal paths and impressive natural landforms. Bird enthusiasts will be in awe of the birdlife on Rathlin Island and the largest seabird colony in Europe on the UNESCO-listed archipelago of St Kilda. You’ll learn about the ancient history of the Isle of Man and Ireland’s Waterford, and marvel at the scenic beauty of Devon. Drink in the views on the whisky island of Islay, and be impressed by the natural acoustics of Fingal’s Cave on Staffa.
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: Islay, Scotland
Day 9: Douglas, Isle of Man
Day 10: Waterford, Ireland
Day 11: Isles of Scilly, England
Day 12: Dartmouth, England
Day 13: 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
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.
The picturesque banks of the River Dart mark your arrival into the delightful waterfront town of Dartmouth, steeped in maritime history and culture. The area is blessed with a multitude of castles, forts, stately homes, lush countryside and incredible nature.
Your ship will anchor a short tender ride from shore. You can explore this enchanting town on your own or join one of the optional excursions to learn more about this fascinating town and its surroundings.
Stroll through the lanes and cobbled streets, browsing in quaint shops, many filled with arts and crafts, no doubt inspired by the beautiful setting. Down by the pastel houses and Tudor buildings around the busy harbour, you can watch the boats come in. Dartmouth has a long naval history. Sitting proudly in a commanding position above the town are the magnificent buildings of the Britannia Royal Naval College. Set in 126 acres of landscaped gardens, you can take a tour of this fascinating military college, which continues to train some of the finest naval officers in the world.
At the entrance to the Dart Estuary is Dartmouth Castle, a Grade 1 listed artillery fort, that’s well worth a visit. At low tide, you can enjoy the views from the secluded Sugary Cove, just 100m from the castle.
There are plenty of walking trails along the South West Coast Path, from easy to more challenging, where you can enjoy the stunning scenery around the Dart Estuary or head inland for glorious countryside. Or follow the Mayflower Heritage Trail around town, tracing the history of the Pilgrims.
Your visit isn’t complete without sampling Devon’s edible treats. Seafood lovers should try the crab, while those with a sweet tooth can indulge in the local fudge or the famous Devonshire cream tea. Just remember, in Devon, it’s cream first!
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
MS Maud is named in honour of the Queen of Norway and is designed to take you to the mesmerising sights of the Norwegian coast. The ship accommodates up to 530 passengers.
The vessel is equipped for a sustainable and unforgettable experience. It is an ice-class 1Cship equipped with advanced technology well-suited for expedition cruises in Norway. She is equipped with a battery pack to support the ship’s engines and significantly cut emissions. The engines have also been upgraded to lower emissions, making the ship even more sustainable.
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