Cruising is a very special way to get to know the British Isles.
It’s also the most convenient and effortless way possible to visit the British Isles — no long car or train rides or time wasted waiting. Instead, you can enjoy gorgeous views of the coastline, eat, drink and take part in various activities while your ship whisks you from one destination to another.
Although the British Isles are rather compact, each port boasts a distinctive flavor and culture. So whether you’re pub hopping in Dublin or sampling haggis in Edinburgh, you’ll definitely feel as if you’ve traveled many more miles than you actually have while cruising the British Isles with Princess Cruise Lines.
Curious about what you might see on a cruise of the isles? Here are three of our favorite ports and what to enjoy at each:
Located on the south coast of England, Southampton is considered the cruise capital of the United Kingdom. In fact, a staggering 1.7 million passengers passed through this port city in 2015.
In historic Old Town, you can walk on the same streets where Jane Austen and William Shakespeare once strolled. This town also boasts some of the longest-remaining and best-preserved medieval walls in all of the UK.
If you’re into the paranormal, you’ll want to check out Southampton’s Tudor House and Garden Museum, which is reportedly haunted. Another popular draw with visitors? The SeaCity Museum, which will give you a look into this city’s past and its ties to the Titanic — many of those who worked on the ill-fated ship were actually residents of Southampton.
Of course, you’ll also find numerous restaurants and pubs in Southampton, especially around Ocean Village and WestQuay Southampton to indulge your need for a pint or slow-braised Hampshire beef.
Edinburgh also boasts more restaurants per person than any other city in the United Kingdom except for London
Located on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th Century. Its medieval Old Town area is built on top of Castle Rock, the remains of an extinct volcano.
This perch high above the plains made it easier to defend Edinburgh from marauders. Old Town’s most popular attractions is the Edinburgh Castle, which was built in the 12th Century and once served as the royal palace.
From the castle, you’ll want to stroll the Royal Mile, where you’ll find loads of shops and restaurants as well as numerous attractions, including St. Giles Cathedral, the Museum of Edinburgh and the Scottish Parliament. Edinburgh is also home to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen when she is in Scotland.
Edinburgh also boasts more restaurants per person than any other city in the United Kingdom except for London. And if you love shopping, make sure to check out Princes Street, which is New Town’s main thoroughfare. You’ll find a great mix of shops on this road, including the oldest independent department store in the world, Jenners of Edinburgh.
Although Dublin is Ireland’s biggest city and also its capital, it somehow manages to maintain a smaller, almost village-like atmosphere, thanks in large part to its famously friendly residents.
Dublin is also a very walkable city. In fact, for many visitors, a perfect day — or night — in Dublin consists mainly of strolling from one authentic pub to another for “craic” — or a good time — and a pint or two.
Lonely Planet listed visiting pubs as the number one thing to do while in Ireland. Want to check out the oldest pub in Dublin? Then make sure to stop by The Brazen Head.
Of course, there’s more to Dublin than just pubs. For many, a trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral — the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland — is a must. Built between 1191 and 1270, this magnificent building is the largest cathedral in Ireland.
Then there’s the Guinness Storehouse, which was named Europe’s top tourist attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards in 2015. The Guinness Storehouse is a showcase for the popular beer company and its seven-story building boasts awesome views of the city. And if you have time, consider taking a tour of Malahide Castle, which is one of the oldest castles in Ireland.