3 DAYS FROM $699
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To really know the British Isles, you must explore them by sea. Join us on this enhanced small ship deluxe cruise and you’ll visit England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland — calling at remote islands, strolling in ancient fortified ports, and exploring London, Dublin, Belfast, and Edinburgh. The updated itinerary now visits Northern Ireland, as well as Scotland’s spectacularly scenic Isle of Skye, and includes an excursion through the rugged Scottish Highlands. You’ll enjoy at total of 12 guided tours and shore excursions, and visit up to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, depending upon whether you join us for extensions and optional tours.
On your European small ship cruise, you’ll enjoy an intimate, convivial cruising experience of just 72 travelers aboard the elegant my Variety Voyager, which has been exclusively chartered by Vantage. Along the way, tap your foot to traditional music, sip aged whiskeys, savor regional dishes, and visit castles and churches that have witnessed centuries rolling by. One thing you can count on: This voyage will forever change your perception of the British Isles!
Fly overnight to London, England
Your British Isles vacation begins with an overnight flight to London
Arrive in London in time to relax, and enjoy a Welcome Dinner
You’ll be greeted at the airport if you arranged your flights with Vantage, and transported to your hotel for a Welcome Briefing, reception, and Welcome Dinner.
Travel across Salisbury Plain to mystical Stonehenge, then be welcomed aboard ship
From the bustling heart of London we’ll head southwest to the open Salisbury Plain and the great circle of standing stones known as Stonehenge. The ancient ritual site, part of vast complex of prehistoric burial mounds, earthworks, and avenues, attracts modern-day druids for summer and winter solstice celebrations. You’ll enjoy a pub lunch in Salisbury, then continue to the port of Poole on the Dorset coast, which lies at the head of a large natural harbor. Many of the troopships involved in the D-Day landings launched from Poole for their rendezvous with history. After embarking the
Discover a garden paradise in Tresco in the Isles of Scilly
This morning, after a mouthwatering buffet on board ship, you’ll learn more about the U.K. during a lecture on immigration, as your ship sails toward Tresco, the second-largest of the Isles of Scilly. It’s sure to be a glorious day as you board a small vessel tendered by locals to be transferred onto shore.
You’ll be fascinated by the horticultural paradise of Abbey Gardens, home to more than 20,000 species of lush, colorful plants from 80 countries. The island is hospitable to subtropical species not native to the U.K. because of its mild winters and long hours of summer sunshine, as well as high walls and hedges that shield them from fierce Atlantic winds.
Make the pilgrimage to St. David’s, the spiritual heart of Wales
After a relaxing morning of sailing and breakfast, your ship arrives in Fishguard. Unforgettable Moment: You’ll then venture to St. David’s, the religious capital of Wales and smallest city in the country. There, you will enjoy a guided tour of the 12th century Cathedral of St. David, which has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years.
Step into medieval Wales at Holyhead and Caernarfon Castle
This morning, the Voyager arrives in Holyhead, where you’ll enjoy a short drive to Caernarfon Castle, built by King Edward I. Its impressive towers loom over the shoreline, and you can imagine why the monarch built this fortress centuries ago to control coastline supply routes and access to the agricultural resources of neighboring lands. Cultural Connections: Your local guide will tell you more about the castle’s fascinating history before you depart for a traditional pub lunch. Then visit the National Slate Museum, nestled into a mountainside, for a Victorian-era demonstration of this vanishing trade. Later this evening, enjoy a Captain's dinner.
Celebrate Dublin, Ireland, with a tour and toast!
One of Ireland’s national treasures and a true artistic masterpiece — the Book of Kells — is yours to admire today during your discoveries in Dublin. Cultural Connections: Your guide will tell you more about this ninth-century tome on an included tour at Trinity College, where you’ll view the illuminated Gospel.
Afterwards, learn all about a different sort of national treasure, on an entertaining and informative tour of the Irish Whiskey Museum, followed by a comparison tasting of several varieties of the smooth spirit. You’ll then return to the ship for lunch, or opt to stay in the city for free time before an included shuttle bus transports you back to the Variety Voyager this afternoon. This evening enjoy traditional Irish entertainment, including storytelling, music, and dancing.
See the best of Belfast, Northern Ireland, plus an optional tour to the Antrim Coast and Giant’s Causeway
Enjoy a morning tour of Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland. Enjoy an afternoon free to explore the city on your own, or see another side of Northern Ireland by joining our optional tour to the Antrim Coast and the eerie Giant’s Causeway, created when basaltic lava from an ancient eruption solidified into thousands of hexagonal columns. Cultural Connection: Learn about the Northern Ireland peace process, facilitated in part by former U.S. Secretary of State Ed Muskie, which brought the Troubles to an end.
Clan heritage and a Scotch whiskey experience in Oban
Located on the west coast of Scotland, Oban is known as the “Gateway to the Isles.” In the morning, you’ll be welcomed by kilted guides for your walking tour. Cultural Connection: Afterwards, visit the Oban Distillery — one of the oldest in Scotland — where you will learn all about whiskey and perhaps have a “wee dram.” In the afternoon, you may take time to explore Oban at your leisure, perhaps hearing locals speaking Gaelic, or opt for the optional tour of Inveraray Castle, ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell. This iconic Scottish castle, set on the banks of Lock Fyne, also has bonnie grounds and gardens for you to enjoy.
Discover the misty, magical Isle of Skye: the “cloud island”
Docking at the port of Kyle of Lochalsh, we’ll cross the Skye Bridge to spend the day touring the Isle of Skye, the rugged, mountainous island just off Scotland's west coast. During your tour, marvel at dramatic sea cliffs, sharply ridged mountain peaks, medieval castles, and fishing villages that nestle along the deeply indented coast. For lunch, we’ll stop in the picturesque town of Portree, set on a harbor fronted by pastel shops and houses. You’ll receive money for lunch on your own at a local pub or restaurant, and will have time to explore at your leisure. Returning to the ship in the late afternoon, you'll hear from a local naturalist before dinner. A folk performance will be the evening's entertainment.
Viking might and Celtic customs: the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
Enchanting thatched-roof cottages await you today when you arrive on the Isle of Lewis, first settled as a trade port by the Vikings. You’ll have free time to explore independently here, then your group will visit the prehistoric Callanish Stones — a hilltop, cross-shaped arrangement of standing stones even older than Stonehenge. Cultural Connections: Next, visit the thatched-roof cottages of Gearrannan Blackhouse Village for a demonstration of the region’s most time-honored craft: tweed-weaving. Discover the colorful patterns and eye-catching tartans of the clan of Lewis before enjoying a performance by a troupe of Scottish dancers.
Ancient seafarers and WWII heroism on Stromness in the Orkney Islands
Named for the strong tides that rip past the Point of Ness, it’s no surprise that Stromness was once a vital whaling port — in fact, it was used by the British for shipping in times of war in lieu of the English Channel. Cultural Connections: You’ll discover Stromness’ maritime heritage and fascinating archaeological history today after breakfast during an included visit to the Stromness Museum. Then visit a local farm to view some of the impressive fossil specimens that were discovered here and learn about the Churchill Barriers, a series of four causeways linking the Orkney Islands that were built as naval defenses in WWII. Today, they serve as vital roads. World War II left a spiritual mark as well, and you and your fellow travelers will visit the ornate Catholic chapel built by Italian POWs.
This afternoon, enjoy leisure time onboard or join an optional tour to Skara Brae, a 3,000-year-old village of stone dwelling that was discovered in 1850 when a coastal storm stripped away the earthen covering. The site is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A scenic ride through the Scottish Highlands to romantic Inverness and Edinburgh
Disembarking in picturesque port of Inverness, set off on a tour through the rugged Scottish Highlands. This land of high mountain valleys, rushing trout streams, and pastures dotted with sheep, was once the stronghold of Gaelic-speaking Scottish clans. Following the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, small farmers were largely driven from the land, and today this remote region is one of the least-populated areas in Europe. Our route today takes us through wildly scenic Cairngorms National Park, the largest in the U.K. We’ll stop for lunch in the town of Pitlochry, which blossomed as a tourist destination after Queen Victoria visited in 1842. Our destination is unforgettable Edinburgh. Check into your hotel and this evening, gather with your fellow travelers a final time for a Farewell Dinner.
Fly home from Edinburgh or stay a while longer with our optional post-trip extension
This morning you’ll be transferred to the airport for your return flight home if you purchased your airfare through Vantage. Or, opt to enrich your journey with our optional post-trip extension in Edinburgh.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or regional expert.
Please Note: Port-of-call orientation walking tours are subject to change based on port time and weather conditions