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Expeditions

British Isles

Explore the beautiful and scenic British Isles, from rugged English cliffs and remote Scottish islands to historic Irish cities packed with culture.

See all expedition cruises

British Isles

Explore the beautiful and scenic British Isles, from rugged English cliffs and remote Scottish islands to historic Irish cities packed with culture.

See all expedition cruises
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Cruising the British Isles with Hurtigruten

The wild beauty of the British Isles makes for a truly exciting and fascinating expedition cruise destination. There’s enough to satisfy the curiosity of everyone, with an abundance of cultural drawcards and historical sites, as well as awe-inspiring wildlife havens to explore.

Our expedition ships and fleet of expedition boats make it possible to venture to places that are off the beaten track, from remote beaches in the rugged Scottish Hebrides to the sandy coves and small fishing villages of England’s Cornwall.

What’s more, your knowledgeable onboard Expedition Team will help you get the most out of your voyage. So, whether it’s visiting a traditional Scottish island distillery, a historical English seaport, or a colony of seabirds you’ll be in for an experience like no other.

Travel guide
  • MS Fram, London, England
  • Isle of Iona, Scotland
  • Belfast, Ireland
  • Red deer in the British Isles
  • Island of Staffa, Scotland

Photo: Getty Images

Reasons to Cruise the British Isles

From the chalk cliffs of England’s Dover to Scotland’s windswept Shetland Islands, there’s a wealth of nature, culture and history to be unearthed at every turn. Our expedition ships allow you to really explore the coastline and isles, dropping anchor at little-visited natural harbours and beaches, or pulling up alongside historic Welsh ports and Irish cities.

Reasons to Cruise the British Isles

From the chalk cliffs of England’s Dover to Scotland’s windswept Shetland Islands, there’s a wealth of nature, culture and history to be unearthed at every turn. Our expedition ships allow you to really explore the coastline and isles, dropping anchor at little-visited natural harbours and beaches, or pulling up alongside historic Welsh ports and Irish cities.

Wild beauty

From the chalk cliffs of England’s Dover to Scotland’s windswept Shetland Islands, there’s a wealth of nature, culture and history to be unearthed at every turn. Our expedition ships allow you to really explore the coastline and isles, dropping anchor at little-visited natural harbours and beaches, or pulling up alongside historic Welsh ports and Irish cities.

Distinct Countries and Cultures

The British Isles are shared by several nations, each with their own intriguing differences in culture, customs, history, governance and even language. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland collectively make up the United Kingdom, while the Republic of Ireland is a separate country on its own. Along with hundreds of smaller islands, such as the Isle of Man, they are often referred to as the British Isles.

Rich History

With a cast of Romans, Vikings and Normans having inhabited the region, you’ll learn about the islands’ complex past as you explore age-old monasteries or walk among the ruins of age-old settlements. The legacy of the ancients remains too, and few places conjure a mystical sense of antiquity as powerfully as the stone circles, standing stones and other monuments erected by Neolithic cultures.

Coastal Nature and Wildlife

The seas and coasts around the British Isles are rich with wildlife, including everything from humpback whales and basking sharks to dolphins and seals. What’s more, islands including St. Kilda and the Treshnish Isles, are home to immense colonies of seabirds, including Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Northern Gannets.

Cruises

Wildlife in the British Isles

With complex geology, diverse natural habitats and a mild climate, the British Isles are home to a huge array of wildlife. Multitudes of seabirds nest on craggy islands amidst seas that support 16 types of cetacean, while shores and beaches are havens for crustaceans, rockpool life, and shorebirds.

Wildlife in the British Isles

With complex geology, diverse natural habitats and a mild climate, the British Isles are home to a huge array of wildlife. Multitudes of seabirds nest on craggy islands amidst seas that support 16 types of cetacean, while shores and beaches are havens for crustaceans, rockpool life, and shorebirds.

Dolphins

Several varieties of dolphin inhabit the waters of the British Isles. Known to be naturally playful and inquisitive, dolphins seem to enjoy following in the wake of the ship, jumping acrobatically with the waves. Bottlenose, short-beaked, common and Risso's dolphins are all frequently spotted, as well as harbour porpoises. Pods of dolphins can be several hundred strong, with the common dolphin forming the largest groups.

Seals

One of the larger animals you’re likely to spot is the seal. There are two varieties of seal in the British Isles, the common seal and the grey seal. Common, or harbour, seals are the smaller, and you’re likely to see them – as the name suggests – around harbours or on beaches. Grey seals can be much bigger – up to 300kg – and will sometimes congregate in groups of several hundred.

Seabirds

To say that the British Isles are rich in seabird life would be an understatement. Aside from the iconic puffins and gulls, the coasts and islands of the British Isles are internationally important breeding grounds for many different types of seabird. For example, 90 percent of the world’s Manx Shearwaters can be found here, along with 68 percent of Northern Gannets and 60 percent of Great Skuas.

Activities in the British Isles

Explore the beautiful and scenic British Isles, from rugged cliffs and remote islands that are havens for wildlife to historic cities packed with culture. We voyage to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

You can get close to the action with shore landings, guided walks and nature treks along sandy shorelines and coastal footpaths, as well as on rocky islands and around remote lochs. What’s more, there are a number of captivating ports and cities to explore, including Liverpool, Portsmouth, Glasgow, Waterford and Belfast.

Activities in the British Isles

Explore the beautiful and scenic British Isles, from rugged cliffs and remote islands that are havens for wildlife to historic cities packed with culture. We voyage to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

You can get close to the action with shore landings, guided walks and nature treks along sandy shorelines and coastal footpaths, as well as on rocky islands and around remote lochs. What’s more, there are a number of captivating ports and cities to explore, including Liverpool, Portsmouth, Glasgow, Waterford and Belfast.

Nature Walks

Together with the Expedition Team or local guides, join walks to viewpoints and sites of interest, such as Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and the fabulous Tresco Gardens on the Isles of Scilly. Wherever you go, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the scenery on foot, and they’ll be sure to pick some of the most scenic spots for you to enjoy. 

* Please note that some of these are optional activities at an additional cost

Town and City Walks

There are many fascinating villages, ports and cities around the British Isles to explore on foot. From the picturesque Viking-founded city of Waterford in Ireland to small fishing villages on the coast of Cornwall, there are many trails and nature walks within a short distance from wherever you touch dry land.

Wildlife Watching

While we’re cruising the British Isles there’ll be an abundance of wildlife to look out for. St Kilda and the Treshnish Isles are home to colonies of thousands of seabirds, while otters, seals and shorebirds can be observed around the coasts. From the observation deck see if you can spot any of the 16 types of whale and dolphin that inhabit these waters.

Shore Excursions

Optional excursions offer special experiences that bring you closer to the places we visit. This could be a visit to one of the nine whisky distilleries on the isle of Islay, experiencing the world’s largest captive tropical rainforest at Cornwall’s Eden Project, or something else.

* Please note that some of these are optional activities at an additional cost

Photo Programme

This included programme is designed for photographers of any ability, giving you tips that will help you better capture the spectacular photo opportunities around the British Isles. You may also have a chance to join a more intensive one to two-hour Photo Adventures session. 

* Please note that some of these are optional activities at an additional cost

Science Center

The microscopes and other high-tech equipment in our onboard Science Center allow for hands-on demonstrations and workshops, deepening your understanding of the places you visit. We also invite you to participate in Citizen Science projects, which in turn contribute to important research.

Lectures and Talks

Onboard and ashore, members of our Expedition Team give in-depth lectures on a variety of topics to enhance your voyage. The subjects chosen are specific to your destination and will cover the unique history, culture and wildlife of the British Isles.

Here are a few suggestions:

Alaska

Explore the last frontier

Antarctica

Explore this wild and wonderful frozen continent and see penguins, whales, and seals in their natural habitat

Caribbean & Central America

Tropical paradise off the beaten track

Europe

Wander among historical cities

Greenland

Gaze in awe at immense icebergs

Iceland

The mythical land of volcanoes and glaciers

North America

Historic towns and national treasures

The Northwest Passage

In the footsteps of legendary explorers

Norway

Cruise under the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights

Norway Expedition

Norway’s wild and dramatic coastline is tailor-made for an expedition-style adventure. Sailing here for almost 130 years, we’re the experts, showing you its highlights and hidden gems.

South America

Search for rich, cultural treasures

Svalbard

Discover the crown of Arctic Norway

Transoceanic

Explore our Transoceanic-themed cruises