The World has changed massively for everyone over the last 6 months. Covid19 has changed so much. Tragically many people have died, many people have been unwell, many people have lost their jobs, many trades have been severely affected by the devastation Covid has brought. Over the next few months, hopefully times will improve for those of us lucky to still be around.Industries such as the travel industry will start to recover. The Travel industry is such an important industry to more or less everyone. Our mental health and well being, resilience to weather the harder times of life is usually due to the ability to turn off, have a break, often away from your home! Be your coping strategy a trip away to Bognor or a trip away to the Maldives, it is just that, a break from your normal life. A time to relax, refresh and recoup.The British Governments rules on travel appear to change on a daily basis, you need to be aware of how your employer ( if you’re lucky enough to still have one) interprets those rules. Perhaps a sensible way to re introduce cruising to the British Market could be by Cruises around the United Kingdom. No need to leave the country. An opportunity to experience areas of our beautiful country, which you may not be familiar with.Here I introduce a selection of five fabulous ports in the UK. Two Scottish, one Northern Irish, one English and one Welsh. Possible ports you may visit on a future British Isles cruise!
- Lerwick, Shetland Isles.
Lying around 120 miles off the North Coast of the Scottish Mainline and on the East Coast of the Shetland Mainland, lies Lerwick. Its a busy, beautiful sea port, home to around 7,500 people. Lerwick is well placed as a base to explore the Shetlands Isles. Lerwick hosts around 100 cruise ships during its season. It’s location between Scotland, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Isles, make it a popular port of call. If you ship is less than 230m long they you may berth on Mair’s pier. If you’re visiting on a larger Ship, Lerwick will be a tender port, your tender will drop you off in the town centre. On setting foot on Lerwick look out for the experience meet and greet team, you will receive a warm welcome and ideas about how you could spend your day. Do try to plan in some time to explore Lerwick itself. Potter around town, admire the historical lodberries, 18ths Century Warehouses, with sturdy foundations in the Sea. Whilst walking along the front do make sure you pop in and support the local shops, the shetland fudge shop, with their famous ‘puffin poo’ was a particular favourite of mine! Take a walk up to Fort Charlotte, learn about its history, depending on where your ship is berthed you may be rewarded with a fabulous view from the top of the hill!
2.HolyHead, North Wales.
Holyhead is infamous as the major Irish Sea port serving Ireland. It is a town in North Wales (my homeland!) on the island of Anglesey. No disrespect , but as a local to the area for many years Holyhead is not somewhere to visit itself. However, Holyhead is a perfect port to explore beautiful North Wales. I do think I will write a whole post on what to do in North Wales one day, as I really won’t do it justice here! top suggestions are to see if your ship does an excursion to Caernarfon, admire the fabulous castle and walled streets. Conwy, another fabulous Castle, one close to my heart as it made up the backdrop to my Wedding. Beaumaris, another Castle in a beautiful coastal town on Anglesey. Can you tell us Welsh like Castles… Head to Snowdonia , admire the breath taking scenery and maybe take a tea in Betwys Y Coed. You must pronounce it properly , the locals will be impressed, Bet- tus – er – coy-d , please don’t say the typical English Betsea Co-ed . You might not be welcomed quite so much… Then there is the famous Victoria Sea side resort of Llandudno, or the fabulous Ffestiniog Railway, or the Snowdonia Railway, or Bangor and its beautiful Cathedral and of course the world famous Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Oh I definitely will write a blog post on what to do if your ship stops in Holyhead , watch this space!
3. Invergordon, Scotland.
Invergordon is a small town in Scotland with a population of about 4000, located in Ross and Cromarty in Highland area of Scotland. Invergordon is famous for being a repair area for Oil rigs which line up in the Cromarty Firth. These are indeed quite a sight to behold on the sail in or out along the Cromarty Firth. The Scots, too, love their Castles, so take a cruise excursion to visit a few! Or visit the famous Loch Ness, maybe you will spot Nessie, so don’t forget your camera! Theres bound to be a Whiskey Distillery tour going from your ship, you may even get to visit 2-3 different Distilleries in one day! There could also be the opportunity to visit the beautiful City of Inverness for the day! A local coach company Invergorden-bustours.com will drive you to Inverness, you’ll have time in the City, a scenic drive and the local knowledge and experience of a local driver, beats a public bus, you’re on your holidays so treat yourself! If you decided to stay in port and go for wander, pottered along the coast line to Saltburn and beyond and admire the marvels of engineering standing in the Cromarty Firth. Do stay out on deck whilst you sail out from Invergordon, it is the only place in the UK that I have seen dolphins swim alongside the ship!
4.Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Capital of Northern Island does not disappoint! Famous for so many things! The Home of Harland and Wolff, attractions such as Titanic Belfast, The History of the troubles and more recently many locations used by the popular HBO TV series, Game of Thrones. When I visit a city for the first time I do like to do some sort of open top bus tour, they can be expensive, but I find they give a great basic knowledge of the city, a brief look at the main attractions of the city and the ability to find your bearings being aware of the distance between places. The Belfast city tour will take you around all the City’s main attractions, it will stop near your ship and will take in the Titanic Quarter, past Stormont, through the political areas of the Shanklin Road, to see the infamous political murals and the Peace Lines and also around the city centre. A definite must if you want to learn about Belfast’s vast and varied history. Visiting Belfast there is of course also the opportunity to visit a striking UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Giant’s Causeway. Your ship is bound to have a trip to visit! Don’t forget your camera to capture images of the fascinating interlocking basalt columns, legend has it these remains from a Causeway built by a Giant. Geologists feel it’s as a result of volcanic fissure eruptions. Either way it is a fabulous day out!
5. Liverpool, England.
Last but not at all least, Liverpool. I love Liverpool. It was my local large city to go shopping in as a child from the North Wales Coast. The people of Liverpool are so friendly and so funny. They are probably most famous for their Scouse accents and fabulous sense of humour. You’ll dock at Cruise Liverpool near the historic docks, look out for the Liver birds and the Cunard building, an area seeped in Maritime History. Another good City to take a City Sightseeing tour, Take in the Albert Docks, explore the two famous football clubs, The China Arch, and explore both of Liverpools Cathedrals. I can not mention Liverpool without a mention to one of the most influential music groups in history, The Beatles! If you are a fan, you can take many a Beatles themed tour, take in a magical mystery tour, exploring numerous Beatles themed landmarks, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, even visit the Cavern. Alternatively you might fancy a good old shopping spree in the fantastic Liverpool One. Whatever you decide to do in Liverpool, you’ll definitely have an enjoyable day!
If you decide to go on a British Isles Cruise, have a fabulous time!