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Tower bridge at dusk, London, England

Southampton to Reykjavik

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Silver Wind
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With highlights that include the crystal blue of the Vatnajökull Glacier, the quiet spirituality of Iona Abbey and the drama of the Cliffs of Moher, this journey is far more than ticking off bucket list staples. Underscored by stunning scenery, wonderful gastronomy and UNESCO sights worth seeing, weave your way south to Scotland’s lovely islands.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Southampton | Embark
Day 2 : St Peter Port
Day 3 : St Mary's, Isles Of Scilly | Tresco
Day 4 : Milford Haven, Wales | Skomer Island
Day 5 : Skellig Islands | Knightstown, Valentia Island
Day 6 : Cliffs Of Moher | Galway
Day 7 : Kilronan, Aaran Islands | Clare Island
Day 8 : Killybegs
Day 9 : Iona | Lunga
Day 10 : Lock Scavaig, Island Of Skye, Scotland | Isle Of Canna, Scotland
Day 11 : St. Kilda
Day 12 : At Sea
Day 13 : Djupivogur
Day 14 : Vestmannaeyjar
Day 15 : Reykjavik | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit the spectacular Tresco Abbey Gardens,
  • View the stone beehive huts, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Discover the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited attraction
  • Explore one of Scotland’s most architecturally significant monasteries

Ship

Silver Wind

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Tower bridge at dusk, London, England Tresco - part of the British Scilly Isles Seabirds flying over dramatic ocean island cliffs St Kilda Coastal village in the arctic Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik
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Day 1 Southampton | Embark

Home of the ill-fated Titanic departure, Southampton has a long maritime history. Henry V’s fleet bound for the battle of Agincourt left from here, as did the Mayflower (not from Plymouth as many believe) and the great British ocean liners, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary both departed on their maiden voyages from the port. So suffice to say, that Southampton is a seafaring place. Today Southampton is the cruise capital of Northern Europe, so expect a city that understands how to have fun. This comes in a variety of ways: a castellated old city that has lots of charm, some excellent museums (the most notable of which is the Sea City Museum) and extensive green spaces. Authentic Tudor remains to provide a fascinating insight to 15th-century living while other landmarks date back even further. A stroll around the city is generous in its attractions, so there is no better way to see Southampton than on foot.

Day 2 St Peter Port

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The picturesque capital of Guernsey proves that you don’t have to go to the Caribbean for white sand and crystal clear water. St Peter Port is both wonderfully pretty and atmospheric, full of blooming floral displays, tiny stone churches and brightly painted boats. What’s more, summers are mostly sunny and comfortable, making the weather something you don’t have to worry about. As the capital of Guernsey, St. Peter Port is where the “action” is found. This mainly takes the form of strolling the cobbled streets, stopping every now and then to admire, and perhaps photograph, the stunning views. Once French (original name: St. Pierre Port), the town is at least 800 years old, with the stone castle and maze-like streets to prove it.

Day 3 St Mary's, Isles Of Scilly | Tresco

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Scattered 30 miles offshore from England’s most south-westerly point – Land’s End – the Isles of Scilly are home to rich wildlife, and green land sloping to powdery white beaches. The Isles of Scilly’s biggest island harbors around 1,600 people – roughly three-quarters of the total population - and is one of five occupied islands. Isolated and serene, life here hums along at its own pace in this archipelago's bubble, which enjoys the UK’s mildest climate, and some of its most spectacular beaches. Hugh Town is the center of St Mary’s, and you’ll be warmly welcomed by the incredibly tight-knit local community. A peaceful place, watch out when the waters are suddenly parted by the competition of gig racing – the island’s sporting pride and joy - which sees teams competing in colorful rowboats. Elsewhere, catch sight of Atlantic seals and seabirds like puffins and fulmars, along nine miles of coastline.

For many visitors, Tresco is the most attractive of the Isles of Scilly. This is especially due to its Abbey Garden, which is home to thousands of exotic plant species from around 80 different countries. Plant collector Augustus Smith began the gardens in the 1830s on the site of an old Benedictine Abbey by channeling the weather up and over a network of walled enclosures built around the Priory ruins. He had three terraces carved from the rocky south slope and maximized Tresco’s mild Gulf Stream climate. Even in mid-winter there still are hundreds of plants flowering here. Another surprising attraction at the Abbey Garden is the collection of figureheads from ships that wrecked among the Isles of Scilly.

Day 4 Milford Haven, Wales | Skomer Island

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The estuary of the River Cleddau forms a natural harbor which had already been used by Vikings in the Middle Ages -as the Norse origin of the name Milford implies. The area surrounding Milford has been used as a staging ground and harbor for invasions coming from France or going to Ireland, but surprisingly it was Quaker families brought from Nantucket that were settled here and the town was founded in the late 18th century as an intended whaling center and navy dockyard. Whaling and shipbuilding declined, yet with the advent of the railway, the proximity to good fishing grounds, the sheltered harbor, and direct access to markets in London Milford Haven again prospered. Oil was important from the 1960s onward and the port rose to be one of the leading ports in the UK. Since 2009 it has one of the largest LNG plants in Europe.

Skomer Island has been designated a National Nature Reserve, Ancient Monument and Full Maritime Nature Reserve. The old name for Skomer Island is Skalmeye –the Isle of the Sword or Cleft/Cloven Isle, possibly referring to the island being nearly cut into two. Skomer is approximately one kilometer off the Pembrokeshire coast and part of a Marine Conservation Zone. There is evidence of human occupation going back some 2,000-5,000 years with a farming community of up to 250 residents. Rabbits were introduced in the late 1200s and Skomer became a rabbit warren. Today it is better known for the Skomer vole, its birdlife and the spring flowering of the bluebells -giving the whole island a blue touch. The island offers excellent habitats for seabirds nesting in the cliffs and ground-nesting birds.

Day 5 Skellig Islands | Knightstown, Valentia Island

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If you think that the Skellig Islands look familiar, that’s because they are. The Skelling Michal towers set the scene in episodes seven and eight of the Stars Wars franchise, and local tourism has been feeling the force ever since. Aside from being in a galaxy far, far, away, the magnificent Skellig Michael towers have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The two Islands were (Great Skellig and Little Skellig) were part of a Gaelic Christian Monastic settlement from the 6th to the 12th century and the towers on Skellig Michael (Great Skellig) are a “unique example of an early religious settlement” (as well as being a final resting place for Jedis). The towers are surely the main attraction of the area and are simply fascinating. Built-in a beehive shape to protect against the harsh elements, they use local stone and no mortar. Today, some 1,400 years later, they are still practically intact. There is also a graveyard on the island.

Knightstown is the largest settlement on Valentia Island, County Kerry, in Ireland and has a population of 156 people. Knightstown itself is one of the few ‘town-planned’ villages of Ireland. The village of Knightstown was laid out by Alexander Nimmo in 1830-31, but it wasn’t built until the early 1840s when the local quarry was greatly expanded and the works were moved to Knightstown. The local RNLI lifeboat station moved to Knightstown in 1869 from Reenard Point and has since been known as the Valentia Lifeboat Station. There is a selection of local coffee shops and bars in the town, as well as Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland churches.

Day 6 Cliffs Of Moher | Galway

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
“They go to the cliffs of Moher rising out of the mist” … these words, written by great American poet Wallace Stevens, immortalized the cliffs of Moher in the best way imaginable. Romantic, wild, mysterious and beautiful, the cliffs of Moher are to Ireland what poetry is to prose. Located at the southwestern edge of County Clare, the 300-million-year-old cliffs stretch for 14 km. They are by far the country’s most visited landmark, welcoming an astonishing 1.5 million visitors annually. The vistas are exceptional, and understandably the pride of Ireland. On a good day you can see for miles: all the way to the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the caves, O’Brien’s tower and of course the many miles of cliffs themselves. Birdwatchers will be doubly blessed, as Moher is designated as a UNESCO Geo Park and enjoys a Special Protection status.

Galway is a city in the West of Ireland in the province of Connacht. It lies on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay and is surrounded by County Galway. It is the fourth most populous urban area in the Republic of Ireland and the sixth most populous city on the island of Ireland. It is both a picturesque and lively city with a wonderful avant-garde culture and a fascinating mixture of locally-owned specialty shops, often featuring locally made crafts. Indeed local handcrafts are a feature of the entire region including hand knits, pottery, glass, jewelry and woodwork. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops, and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.

Day 7 Kilronan, Aaran Islands | Clare Island

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If you have ever wanted to imbibe in the Celtic legends of your past, then Kilronan is the answer to your prayers. Situated on the isle of Inishmore in the Aran Islands in County Galway, Cill Rónáin – the official Gaelic spelling – is all about history, spirituality and the kind of rejuvenation that can only be found on Irish soil. The first thing you should know about the Aran Isles is that they are exceptionally beautiful. National Geographic called them “one of the world’s top island destinations” and they are universally recognized as being the “islands of saints and scholars”. Windswept moors and craggy cliffs akin to a Victorian novel flank rolling seas that are Dantesque in their raw power. This is where nature comes home to roost (not to mention the 60,000 seabirds that call the islands their home). Inishmore (Inis Mor) is the biggest island of the archipelago, and as such has the most interesting Celtic history.

Wild, windy and quite often a bit wet, Clare Island is as close to the great escape as it comes. As the largest of the 365 islands in Clew Bay, and one of only six inhabited islands, Clare Island is an authentic slice of Irish country life. Located 6km off mainland County Mayo, the island guards the entrance to the archipelago. The island is a hiker’s dream. Stupendous views of the other, oddly shaped islands, are to be had for those hearty enough to walk up to the top of the 465-meter Mt. Knockmore. While there is a vibrant community on Clare Island, this is no urban paradise – moreover, the literal Elysian fields showcase Mother Nature at her finest. Pods of dolphins and seals play in the fertile waters, rare seabirds such as choughs come here to roost and rare arctic-alpine flora can be found in remarkable abundance.

Day 8 Killybegs

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
An all-encompassing, all-Irish, genuine warm welcome awaits those who visit Killybegs. Set in the Republic of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Killybegs is a hidden gem of a town that is often overshadowed by Dublin and Galway. But, as the privileged position on the northwest coast proves, Killybegs is worth discovering. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the area. The spectacular Slieve League Cliffs, around 45-minutes through the rolling Donegal countryside, are said to be much more dramatic than the Cliffs of Mohr, so those who want to see some of Mother Nature’s finest work will want to head straight for here. At a height of approximately 1,968 feet (about 600 meters) above sea level, the Cliffs are believed to be Europe’s highest sea cliffs and boast an unspoiled natural landscape. Admire the views from either above, looking down on the rolling waters beyond, or from below, gazing up at the folding cliffs towering before you. 

Day 9 Iona | Lunga

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If tiny islands that resonate with peace and tranquillity are your idea of travel heaven, then welcome to Iona. Almost 200 miles east of Edinburgh, set in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, this magical island has a spiritual reputation that precedes it. And luckily, more than lives up to. The island is minuscule. Just three miles long and only one and a half miles wide, this is not a place that hums with urban attractions. 120 people call Iona home (this number rises significantly if the gull, tern and Kittiwake population is added), although residential numbers do go up (to a whopping 175) in summer. The beautiful coastline is lapped by the gulf stream and gives the island a warm climate with sandy beaches that look more Mediterranean than Scottish! Add to that a greenfield landscape that is just beautiful, and you’ll find that Iona is a place that stays with you long after you leave. Iona’s main attraction is of course its abbey. 

The stunning Isle of Lunga is the largest island in the Treshnish archipelago. With volcanic origin, the isle was populated until the 19th Century, and remains of black houses can be seen around this magnificent coastal jewel. Abundant plant life and exotic birdlife are now the main inhabitants of the area. Fortunate visitors view the magnificent array of birds, especially the great puffins that breed on the islands plateau. One can sit within just a few feet away without disturbing the avian ambassador’s peace. The 81-hectare island is home to many rare and endangered plants such as, primroses and orchids. Views over the landscape and across the ocean can be seen from the 300 foot high cliffs.

Day 10 Lock Scavaig, Island Of Skye, Scotland | Isle Of Canna, Scotland

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Near the southern end of the Isle of Skye lies Loch Skarvaig. Open to the sea, the sheltered Loch penetrates the rounded granite hills of Skye. Heather moorlands grow on the hill slopes, with purple flowering heathers providing color, starting in Spring and climaxing later in summer. Common Seals, otherwise known as Harbour Seals, are frequently seen swimming in the coastal water at high tides. Only their heads are visible as they take breaths between diving for a meal of fish, crustaceans or mollusks. At low tides the seals are easier to see, resting on the foreshore rocks. When ashore, Common Seals often lie on one side with their hind flippers and heads raised in a shallow U shape like oversized spotted grey bananas. There are about 300 Common Seals living in and around Loch Coriusk. Skye also has a population of larger Grey Seals with long straight noses. 

Many different groups of people have lived on the small Canna Isle. Neolithic people settled thousands of years ago. Later, Christian Celtic monks, Norse settlers and various Scottish groups lived on Canna. Evidence of most are still present, notably stone churches. One unusual relic is a standing stone with a hole above people’s heads in which the thumb of a lawbreaker was jammed. The accused was left for a time to reflect on his or her deeds. Canna is one of the Little Isles group of the Inner Hebrides. A bridge connects it to the adjacent Sanday Island. Both islands are small, with a tiny resident population. Today, the island is managed by the National Trust of Scotland. Compass Hill, 139 meters (456 feet) high, is a prominent landmark. It is named after the high iron content of the tuff—consolidated volcanic ash—makes up the hill. This attracted the needles of compasses on nearby ships confusing pre-satellite navigators. 

Day 11 St. Kilda

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Gloriously remote, St. Kilda is an archipelago 50 miles off the Isle of Harris. Although the four islands are uninhabited by humans, thousands of seas birds call these craggy cliffs home, clinging to the sheer faces as if by magic. Not only is St. Kilda home to the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffin (almost 1 million), but also the world's largest colony Gannets nests on Boreray island and its sea stacks. The islands also home decedents of the world’s original Soay sheep as well as having a breed of eponymously named mice. The extremely rare St. Kilda wren unsurprisingly hails from St. Kilda, so birders should visit with notebook, binoculars and camera to hand. While endemic animal species is rife on the island, St. Kilda has not been peopled since 1930 after the last inhabitants voted that human life was unsustainable. 

Day 12 At Sea

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

Day 13 Djupivogur

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Slow the pace, and discover the refreshing approach to life that Djupivogur has made its trademark. You can leave your phone behind as you step out into this Icelandic town, which has won awards celebrating its leisurely outlook and stubborn rebellion against the frenetic pace of modern life. After all, who needs emails and notifications when you have some of the most humbling monochrome scenery and gashed fjords, waiting on your doorstep? Sitting on a peninsula to the south-east of Iceland, the glacial approach to life here wins many hearts. A place where hammers knock on metal in workshops, artists ladle paint onto canvases, and wild ponies roam across mountains, Djupivogur is an uninhibited artistic hub - full of makers and creatives. The most expansive project is the 34 egg sculptures that dot the coastline, created by the Icelandic artist, Sigurður Guðmundsson. Each egg represents a different native bird species.

Day 14 Vestmannaeyjar

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international limelight in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold seawater. Since the eruption, life on the small island outpost has returned to the natural ebb and flow of a small coastal fishing community on the edge of the chilly and wild North Atlantic.

Day 15 Reykjavik | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The capital of Iceland’s land of ice, fire and natural wonder, Reykjavik is a city like no other - blossoming among some of the world’s most vibrant and violent scenery. Home to two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik is the island’s only real city, and a welcoming and walkable place - full of bicycles gliding along boulevards or battling the wind when it rears up. Fresh licks of paint brighten the streets, and an artistic and creative atmosphere embraces studios and galleries - as well as the kitchens where an exciting culinary scene is burgeoning. Plot your adventures in the city's hip bars and cosy cafes, or waste no time in venturing out to Iceland’s outdoor adventures. Reykjavik’s buildings stand together in a low huddle - below the whip of winter’s winds - but the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church is a solid exception, with its bell tower rising resolutely over the city.
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Notes

INCLUDED IN THE CRUISE FARE
  •  Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team
  •  Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
  •  Spacious suites
  •  Butler service in every suite
  •  Unlimited Free Wifi
  •  Personalised service – nearly one crew member for every guest
  •  Choice of restaurants, diverse cuisine, open-seating dining
  •  Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship, including champagne, select wines and spirits
  •  In-suite dining and room service
  •  Onboard entertainment
  •  Onboard gratuities
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