Europe Northern Europe Cruise

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland

Explore the British and Irish Isles during this 12-day Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise. Meander through English gardens; steep in Irish maritime history and folklore; and visit sacred islands, ancient abbeys and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland.

From London, visit the countryside before embarking in Portsmouth, where King Henry VIII’s Tudor warship Mary Rose is on display, then to Fowey for a walk through the Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan. The Isles of Scilly are known for the Tresco Abbey Garden, filled with historic ruins and subtropical plants. In Ireland, explore the maritime history of Cobh; and sail by Skellig Michael, a Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a 7th-century monastery still stand (and the site of Luke Skywalker’s secret hideaway planet).

Scotland offers the sacred island of Iona and its 12th-century abbey, the incredible seabird colonies on Outer Hebrides,the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step into medieval St. Magnus Cathedral, possibly land on the uninhabited island of St. Kilda and Zodiac to the music-inspiring geometric basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave off Staffa Island. The Shetland Islands feature Shetland ponies, dramatic landscapes and 4,000 years of history and culture to discover. Aberdeen, Scotland offers a beautiful countryside to explore before disembarking in Edinburgh with nearly two weeks of unforgettable experiences locked in your memory bank. Select departures operate this itinerary in reverse, southbound from Edinburgh to London.

Departures are aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer, a home base that is perfect for exploring the best of the region, including well-known visitor spots and rarely visited, hard-to-reach gems. Equipped with National Geographic guides, historians, photographers and expert leaders, and built as a polar expedition vessel, the Nat Geo Explorer slices through the North Sea waters with speed, stability and grace, navigating easily to small, ancient islands as well as larger city ports.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises in Northern Europe and Northern European tours.