Our humble little island is nothing to be shrugged at. It’s filled with history, incredible natural beauty, and amazing people. A cruise around the British Isles is one that we should all embark upon. It’s time we spent some time exploring shores a little closer to home and seeing just what our fabulous nation has to offer. Plus, we can all do it without having to set foot in an airport! Bonus! We’re looking at some of the UK’s best cruise ports – and a few of our personal favourites!

Southampton

As the busiest cruise port in the UK and a major embarkation port for thousands of passengers every year, it felt only right that we start off with a visit to Southampton. It was from here that the RMS Titanic departed on her fateful maiden voyage and the city is steeped in maritime traditions and customs. For those looking for shopping, then West Quay shopping centre is the place to go. You’ll also find numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes in the surrounding. One little gem can be found just across the Solent in Hythe, and it’s the longest-operating public pier railway in the world – check out the Hythe Ferry. Southampton is also home to Horizon Cruise Terminal, one of the newest terminals in the world.

Newcastle upon-Tyne

Your gateway to Northumberland. If you’re embarking here, why not arrive the day before and explore some of the stunning north-east and its coastline. Just an hour from the port will bring you to Seahouses and a mile from there takes you to Bamburgh, home to one of the most impressive and historical castles in England. You can also enjoy stately homes and gardens, including Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Gardens. Drive up to Berwick upon-Tweed which sits just 2 miles south of the Scottish border. If you’d rather explore the immediate area, then you’re just a short Metro ride away from the likes of Whitley Bay, Tynemouth and Cullercoats, where it would be rude not to stop for fish and chips or ice cream. If you venture into Newcastle city centre, be sure to check out the Grainger Market, which has been in operation for almost 200 years.

Liverpool

Liverpool is one of those city’s that has quite literally everything to offer – one day is not enough. Whether you’re visiting as a transit passenger or embarking in this iconic city, you’ll be faced with a never-ending list of exciting things to do, see, and explore. For fans of The Beatles, The Beatles Story Exhibition is an absolute must for you, and don’t forget to also stop at Penny Lane and the Cavern Club. For those interested in maritime history, a walk along Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage waterfront is just for you. This area extends from Albert Dock, through the Pier Head and up to Stanley Dock. Albert Dock is also where you’ll find Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, which is free to enjoy. You could always end your time in the city with a crossing on the world-famous Mersey ferry.

Portland

The small island of Portland sits on England’s south coast and is connected to the mainland by Chesil Beach, in the county of Dorset. It’s the most southern point of what is known as the ‘Jurassic Coast’. The Jurassic Coast stretches from Exmouth in Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset and was enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2001. More than 185 million years of geological history can be found here, and this is one of the main reasons many people visit. The area provides incredibly dramatic scenery and cliff faces with hundreds of fossilised creatures. In fact, fossil hunting is often a popular shore excursion choice. It’s a naturally beautiful and hugely intriguing part of the UK and the main focus is on outdoor exploration. Beaches such as Lyme Regis are frequented by locals and tourists and each one offers its own species of ammonite. The area around Lulwoth Cove contains an ancient submerged fossil forest.

Edinburgh

The port of Rosyth is the gateway for day visits to Edinburgh. Some ships do embark guests at this port, but it is primarily a transit stop. One day isn’t enough time to see and do everything that Edinburgh has to offer, so plan your time here wisely. Edinburgh Castle is an absolute must, as well as a walk along The Royal Mile. You may not know this, but Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since 1437 and it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1995 – the second you step foot inside the city you’ll see why. The history here is incredible. There are also several FREE options to enjoy in the city, including St Giles’ Cathedral, Museum of Edinburgh, and National Museum of Scotland.

Of course, there are so many other amazing destinations to visit across the British Isles, but we couldn’t possibly list them all in one place. Check out our port guide for more inspiration on your next cruise, whether it be on your own soil or further afield.

 

 

 

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