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Viking Oceans Cruises – British Isles Explorer (England, Ireland, Norway, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales) 15 Days

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  • 15 Days
  • River Cruise
  • 6 Countries

Map of British Isles Explorer itinerary

Traverse the isles, north to south

Immerse yourself in the British Isles, with overnight stays in Bergen, Norway, and Greenwich, England. Discover Scotland’s legendary Highlands and Western Isles and the capital of Edinburgh. Visit the Shetland and Orkney Islands and contrast modern Belfast with traditional Dublin. Witness Welsh culture in Snowdonia. In England, visit maritime Liverpool, see historic Dover and enjoy a tour of London.

British Isles Explorer

Departure & Return Location

Bergen, Norway / London, England

Departure Dates/Times

2023 Sailings from August to September

2024 Sailings from April to September

2025 Sailings from March to September

* Please check with us for dates & pricing

Rates

Cruise fare from $8,399.0 per person

* Please check with us for dates & pricing

What's Included

Itinerary

Day 1Bergen, Norway

When you arrive in Bergen, encircled by majestic mountains, fjords and glaciers, you’ll quickly understand how its setting inspired the Viking sagas. With your ship berthed next to Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can easily stroll along its waterfront once you’ve settled in to your veranda stateroom. This evening mingle with the locals and dine ashore, as we will be spending the night in port.

Day 2Bergen, Norway

Bergen is home to the Hanseatic League’s only kontor (trading enclave) still in existence. Bryggen wharf, a row of timbered Hanseatic warehouses along a quaint quay, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Narrow wooden walkways are flanked by parallel rows of small, vibrantly painted buildings overlooking the picturesque Vågen Harbor. This is perhaps the most charming district of Bergen and a delight to explore, from its tight-knit community of workshops where artisans sell their wares to its cafés where freshly prepared smørbrød, or open-faced sandwiches, are on the menu.

Day 3Shetland Islands (Lerwick), Scotland

The Shetland Islands may be remote, but history did not overlook them. At the excavation site of Jarlshof, tall, stone roundhouses date to the Iron Age and an ancient Norse longhouse tells of a Viking community. More recent history echoes through the streets of Lerwick, the islands’ sleepy capital founded by Dutch fishermen. The main island, Mainland, gets much of its beauty from its diversity. Farmlands and dreamy meadows unfold toward seal-dotted beaches, rocky cliffs take a beating from the surf, and medieval castles overlook valleys and lakes.

Day 4The Highlands (Invergordon), Scotland

Invergordon lies in the mountainous, heather-covered Scottish Highlands amid a patchwork of farmland. The small community celebrates itself with a series of stunning murals painted by local artists; a walking trail leads visitors to them all, passing colorful window flowerboxes along the way. Whisky is another mainstay here, produced in a local grain distillery. This charming port is the gateway to a breathtaking region that provides a fascinating glimpse into the days of warring clans, and into the legend of “Nessie,” the fabled monster of Loch Ness.

Day 5Edinburgh (New Haven Harbour), Scotland

Edinburgh has been Scotland’s capital since the 15th century, despite the fact that the Union of the Crowns moved it to London in 1603. There is no capital quite like Edinburgh, with its gorgeous setting on green rocky hillocks and splendid views of the sea. Edinburgh Castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and countless medieval treasures, overlooks the city from Castle Rock. The Royal Mile unfurls Edinburgh’s architectural gems in all their finery, from the Canongate to St. Giles’s Cathedral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish residence of British royalty.

Day 6Orkney Islands (Kirkwall), Scotland

The history of the Scottish Orkney Islands dates back millennia. Neolithic remains, including the ancient site of Brodgar, predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids. The 13th-century Norse Orkneyinga Saga told of Vikings who ruled here. Later, the earls took over, and the French Renaissance palace that remains is a legacy to their grandeur. Another castle, Balfour, stands regally in a stark landscape. While the northern Europeans greatly influenced this hauntingly beautiful archipelago, consider the Italian Chapel, built by the hands of Italian prisoners during wartime.

Day 7The Highlands (Ullapool), Scotland

Ullapool enjoys one of the most remote settings in the United Kingdom on the pristine shores of Loch Broom. This tiny town, dotted with distinctive New Zealand cabbage trees, is the largest community for miles surrounded by the stunningly scenic Western Isles, dramatic mountain peaks piercing the sky and unspoiled wilderness. Ullapool’s beauty lies in its tranquility. A launchpad for ferries to the stunning Western Isles, this former herring port village is also a popular gateway for walkers, adventurers and nature lovers.

Day 8Belfast, Northern Ireland

A major port heralded for its shipbuilding heritage, Belfast has undergone a cultural and architectural renaissance unrivaled in the rest of Europe. The influence of Britain is everywhere in this polished capital of Northern Ireland. Some of its most striking buildings exude Victorian flair and cosmopolitan elegance amid its famous Irish charm. Along the Golden Mile, high-end boutiques are reminiscent of those found in Paris, and the opulent Grand Opera House stands as a hub of Belfast culture.

Day 9Liverpool, England

Liverpool is celebrated as the “World Capital of Pop;” 56 musicians born and bred here have had #1 singles. Most notably, the legendary Beatles—John, Paul, George and Ringo—hailed from this port city. But it is more than music that has put Liverpool on England’s cultural map. Long an important center for maritime commerce, its storied waterfront is home to many buildings of historic, architectural and cultural significance, including a spectacular trio of palatial, early 20th-century buildings known as the “Three Graces,” and the revitalized Royal Albert Dock.

Day 10Holyhead, Wales

Holyhead is a cozy coastal enclave on the isle of Anglesey off the northwestern tip of Wales. This region boasts the greatest concentration of ancient burial chambers and standing stones in Britain. Holyhead is contained within one of the few three-walled Roman forts in Europe, protected on the fourth side by the sea. The historic St. Cybi’s Church lies at the fortress’s center and the excellent Maritime Museum chronicles local seafaring history. Locals are as likely to speak Welsh as English; almost two-thirds of the youth speak this fascinating tongue.

Day 11Dublin, Ireland

Discover Dublin, the Republic of Ireland’s charismatic capital on the Liffey River. Founded as a Viking settlement, today it is one of Europe’s most significant cultural hubs. A panoramic tour takes you to Trinity College; its library is the city’s repository of some five million volumes. You will also see the soaring St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, two major centers of the country’s religion, and pass by neoclassical City Hall and the sprawling Dublin Castle.

Day 12Scenic Sailing: English Channel

Cruise the Irish Sea into the Celtic Sea. Along with a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean to the west of the British Isles, these waters were once known simply as “Western Approaches” as recently as the mid-20th century. You will round the southern shores of Wales and England and enter the English Channel, making your way to the Strait of Dover. Enjoy your ship’s many amenities as you cruise, perhaps indulging in a massage at The Spa, taking high tea in the Wintergarden and closing your day with fine cuisine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant.

Day 13Dover, England

Most famously known for its dramatic white-chalk towering cliffs, Dover is the nearest city to France across the English Channel. Its strategic location as a doorway into England has earned it the moniker “Key to England.” As the port was under constant threat because of its location, the massive Dover Castle overlooking the channel grew over the centuries to become the nation’s largest edifice and remains so today. Dover also served as a bastion and command center during World War II.

Day 14London (Greenwich), England

Discover the celebrated Royal Borough of Greenwich—part of which, Maritime Greenwich, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. London is just a short drive away, so you can take in the regal city and all its splendor. See the Tower of London, Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Or venture into the countryside to visit Windsor Castle, one of the royal residences. Alternately, step off the ship to tour Greenwich, its excellent National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory from where the world’s clocks are set.

Day 15London, England

Disembark your ship this morning as your journey comes to a close, or extend your stay in London. Alternatively, you may continue your journey with an extension opportunity in Scotland.

Additional Info

* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.

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