Cruises around the U.K. and Republic of Ireland are incredibly popular, and not just with those visiting from distant shores. I recently embarked on a British Isles and Ireland cruise from Port of Tyne with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and I fell in love with each and every destination. Inspired by my recent cruise, I wanted to share with you some of the best UK cruise ports – and some of the ones that I just happened to visit on my recent cruise.
If you would like to know more about UK departures and sailings taking in the British Isles, then view our Cruises from the U.K. section – it contains everything you need to know.
Cruise Port Newcastle upon-Tyne
Port of Tyne is the gateway to north east England and the region welcomes you to Northumbrian Quay, the port’s purpose-built cruise berth, with a warm welcome and typical Geordie hospitality. From Port of Tyne you can explore many of the north’s best features, including beautiful coastlines, stunning cathedrals, floral gardens and even medieval castles. The region boasts several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Hadrian’s Roman Wall and Durham City, as well as Alnwick Castle, which is most recognised for its role as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. The castle also recently featured in Downton Abbey.
Cruise Port Falmouth
Falmouth is a little slice of Cornish seaside beauty and you don’t even need to leave the harbour to feel like you have really experienced it. Throughout the year there are various events going on – just recently they had the Oyster Festival which was a hive of activity. Aside from delicious, fresh seafood, there were also numerous sellers offering locally produced crafts, wines and even cakes. The beaches in Falmouth are also worth exploring during the summer months and you can’t visit Cornwall without having a traditional Cornish pastie! Points and places of interest include the Maritime Museum, Queen Mary Gardens and Pendennis Castle. I can also highly recommend a visit to Harbour Lights award-winning fish and chip shop, which you can find in the main town – look for the brass fishes embedded in the pavement!
Cruise Port Belfast
Belfast is a cruise port with a hundred and one things to do and I have to say that it was one of my favourite ports during my ‘Myths & Legends’ cruise. There is no cruise terminal at present, but they are working on it so don’t let that put you off. The city itself is a hub of activity and certainly worth exploring. There are still scars from the past, more so in west Belfast, but things are definitely looking up for this part of our world. Belfast city is incredibly friendly and full of trendy shops and bars, you could easily spend a day exploring, shopping and sightseeing, but my thought is that you can shop anywhere, so do something unique. I would recommend a visit to Titanic Belfast. The museum is absolutely fantastic and because of its location and size you could easily spend 4 or 5 hours there. The museum itself, Nomadic – Titanic’s first-class tender – and the slipway where both Titanic and Olympic were built and launched are all right next to one another. It is a remarkable look at history and an incredibly moving experience.
Cruise Port Invergordon
Invergordon is surrounded by mountains and farmland and is a real jewel within the Scottish Highlands. It also offers an incredible selection of things to see and do: Cawdor Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Brodie Castle, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, Dornoch Cathedral, Inverewe Gardens, Fort George, Culloden Battlefield, Falls of Shin, Glenmorangie Distillery and the Royal Dornoch Golf Course. During my time here, however, I opted to do a high-speed RIB ride with ecoventures and it was superb – we didn’t even make it out of the harbour before we were greeted with a playful dolphin, we went on to see Porpoise, a pod of Bottlenose dolphins and a variety of birds – we even spotted a few seals! After the tour I had a leisurely walk into town before returning to the ship for afternoon tea.
Cruise Port Kirkwall (Orkney Islands)
Kirkwall is situated on the northern coats of mainland Orkney and has to be one of the most beautiful destinations in all of the U.K. It really is incredibly picturesque. If you have never been before then you must go on an island tour, I would recommend you do this through your cruise line just to be on the safe side as there are a lot of different places to go and things to see – you don’t want to be late back to your ship! My island tour offered stunning views across Eynhallow Sound to the Island of Rousay; Birsay Bay; the cliffs of Yesnaby, which were breathtaking!; Ring of Brodgar; Standing Stones of Stennes; and a journey along the coast of the First and Second World War Naval Base of Scapa Flow – the resting place of HMS Royal Oak.
Book Your UK Cruise with The Cruise Line
If our blog today has inspired you to book a British Isles cruise, then please give one of our Cruise Experts a call on 0800 008 6677. Founded in 1993, The Cruise Line has established a reputation for offering clients outstanding customer service alongside highly competitive pricing and special offers.