30 Best Places To Visit on a British Isles Cruise

It was late spring in the British Isles and after poring over the many cruise destinations offered by Swan Hellenic, I did the thing that surprised even me. I decided to explore my own country. Britain. By sea. Until now, my most common view over the British Isles has been by air as I leave. And there were plenty of opportunities to repeat that pattern with Swan Hellenic. Yet something about their British itinerary called to me. It whispered to the parts of me that are lured in by folk tales and centuries of history. England. Ireland. Scotland. The Land of the Celts. It was time to explore the islands I call home.

In this guide I’ve focused on the places in the British Isles we visited on the cruise. Most were included day-trips. Otherwise, you can substitute excursions or explore independently; though timing inevitably means you’ll have to choose between some of the sights listed. Here is my full Swan Hellenic Cruise Review. At the end, I’ve included a map of the places featured in this article.

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ENGLAND

1. London

Big ben with westminster in London

Ah, London. The Big Smoke. The capital of England and the United Kingdom. And if you’re exploring the British Isles, it’s likely you’ll have time in the city. Yes, I know it’s inland but more often than not it’s the hub for getting to England’s south coast where so many cruises depart. I passed through on my way to Southampton, but I once called London home and have written many guides to the city. You might want to check out some of the top things to do in London, or explore the rejuvenated area of Kings Cross. You can make your own gin at the Ginstitute, enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel, day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Or, my personal favourite, take a cultural walk around some of the oldest sights in the city along London’s Southbank then visit the Tower of London. Whatever you do, don’t skip this thriving city. If you’re looking to spend a few nights, here’s my guide to Where to Stay in London (you can even spend a night in a prison cell).

2. Southampton

Dancing man brewery Southampton people outside

Southampton surprised me. I knew it was an historic sea port city with a rich maritime history but I didn’t realise so much of the city’s past was still evident. You can walk the Medieval City walls, step through the Bargate into the Old Town, visit the Tudor House & Gardens or simply stop for a pint at the Dancing Man Brewery, the 14th century wool house that served as a wool store and prison before becoming a microbrewery.

Jane Austin once lived in Southampton but the city is most famous as the sailing place of The Titanic (the subject of the SeaCity Museum) and the Mayflower. The Southampton City Art Gallery will drag you back to modern day with its contemporary art exhibitions while the Solent Sky Museum guides you through Southampton’s role in the development of the British air industry (you can see a Spitfire at the museum). And if you plan your time in Southampton, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery is just 40-minutes away by car. For dinner I ate at Bacarao which serves Italian-style tapas, near Ocean Village. A night at the wonderful 5-star Leonardo Royal Southampton Grand Harbour hotel was included in my cruise itinerary.

3. Penzance

Penzance Harbour with church in background

Step inside the 17th Century tavern, Admiral Benbow, in Penzance and it’s not hard to imagine a world of rum, smugglers and pirates. In fact, Admiral Benbow is thought to have been the inspiration for the pub in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous children’s book, Treasure Island. Beyond the tavern, Penzance is a pretty town of cobbled-streets with an attractive harbour. Jubilee Pool is one of the most popular attractions in Penzance. Opened in 1935 for King George V’s Silver Jubilee, this art deco site is both the UK’s largest seawater pool, and has the UK’s only geothermal pool.

4. Land’s End

Land's End sign showing New York and John O'Groats

The western-most point of England, on the tip of the Cornish peninsula, Land’s End has been drawing people to its point for centuries. Historically, it was a view that sailors welcomed, knowing they’d arrived home after a long journey at sea. Today, it’s a fun complex of cafes, ‘last’ opportunities (pub, hotel, phone box, etc.), entertainment for the kids, but most of all, stunning views out to sea. It’s a place where you can see the staggering granite cliffs that hold us so steadily on land.

Coastline view at land's end conrwall

As you can imagine, Land’s End is a start (or end) point for many great walks in the UK. The First & Last Trail will take you through local villages while the Southwest Coastal Path runs 630 miles across the south coast. For the super adventurous, there is the John O’Groats to Land’s End walk which takes you from the tip of Scotland to the tip of England. Personally, I was happy with a short stroll around Land’s End before heading around the coast to beautiful St Ives.

5. St Ives

Blue sea, boats and Porthgwidden beach in St Ives
Porthgwidden Beach

I’m embarrassed to admit that my trip to Cornwall with Swan Hellenic was the first time I’ve stepped foot in this county and I couldn’t believe I’d left it so long. I’d heard that St Ives has a microclimate but seeing the palm trees and Mediterranean looking beaches was mind bending. Even the light is different here, one of the reasons St Ives has become a magnet for the creative community.

Between the white sandy beaches, fisherman’s cottages, cute boutiques, cobbled streets and independent cafes, bars and restaurants, I didn’t want to leave. Of course, I visited in May and I understand the vibe is quite different in the peak of summer when the streets and shoreline heave with tourists. But that seems like a good excuse to find a patch of sand and eat another Cornish ice-cream. On that topic, Portmeor Beach and Porthgwidden Beach were my favourite beaches and are easy to reach.

The art highlights of St Ives include the Tate Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Museum but wandering around the many independent galleries is just as much fun. I bought a small picture to help me hold onto the memory of this special place when the dark winter nights draw in.

If you’re a fan of Virginia Woolfe, Godrevey lighthouse is just off the coast of St Ives, the lighhouse that inspired her book, To The Lighthouse. And don’t forget to try the Cornish Pasty from St Ives Bakery. Our driver recommended this bakery as ‘the best’ and he wasn’t wrong.

6. St Michael’s Mount

Distant view of St Michales Mount

Waking up to views of St Michael’s Mount was a magical moment onboard Swan Hellenic. A rocky island with a Medieval castle perched on top, St Michael’s Mount has a history that dates back centuries. Today, the castle is the private residence of the St Aubyn family. However, it is also a National Trust property, which means you can visit parts of the castle as well as the surrounding gardens with splendid views across the Cornish coast. One of the best ways to visit is from the village of Maeazion. In low tide, you can reach the mount by walking over the causeway. In high-tide, you can take a boat.

7. Tresco, Scilly Isles

View from Tresco Island across the sea

Perhaps my original fascination with the Scilly isles came when I first learned about these remote islands (with a silly name), when I was a small child. But the fasciation and urge to visit remained. So, it was an absolute delight to finally reach these otherwise hard to visit islands. With the ship docked not far off the coast, it was a short zodiac from the ship to shore. Once on the island, I made a beeline for the Tresco Abbey Gardens. Formerly a Benedictine Abbey, the gardens were created in 1834 when the land changed hands from the Duchy of Cornwall to a wealthy banker, Augustus Smith.

Tresco Abbey Gardens palm trees

Over time, the botanical gardens have grown to include flora and fauna from around the world. Having seen many tropical plants in places like Hawaii, Costa Rica and South Africa, it was a surprise to find so many of them thriving on British soil. Don’t miss the Valhalla Museum with its collection of mastheads from ship wrecks. Also keep an eye out for the golden pheasant and native red squirrels, both of which I spotted in the gardens.

Golden Pheasant Tresco Abbey Gardens

The Abbey gardens are also a beautiful and relaxed spot to enjoy the famous Cornish Cream tea.

8. Isle of Man

Grand pastel coloured houses douglas isle of man

The Isle of Man sits in the Irish sea between Liverpool and Ireland and despite having been born in Liverpool (home of The Beatles), it wasn’t until this trip that I finally visited. And what a surprise it was. The port area of Douglas is a Victorian era seaside town with grand buildings and a beautiful promenade. A street inland, you’ll find lines of shops, bars and cafes. But it’s the sights around this small island that most deserve exploration. From ruined castles to the world’s oldest democratic parliament to medieval Castletown, there’s a reason the Isle of Man attracts so many wealthy residents (or perhaps it’s the low-to-no tax rates). Don’t miss the Plains of Heaven, Peel Castle, Tynwald Hill and Castle Rushen. Time your visit well. Once a year, the Isle of Man is taken over by motorbike enthusiasts for the world-famous TT race. It’s a fun time to visit the island but many of the roads are closed.

The Isle of Man was the penultimate stop on the Swan Hellenic cruise but I’ve included it here, since it’s in England.


IRELAND

9. Bantry

Bantry House with red brick

Bantry has a harbour-front position in the midst of the Wild Atlantic Way, so, it’s no surprise it’s a popular stop for tourists. Yet, Bantry has done well to hold on to its local market-town feel. With an afternoon to spare, Swan Hellenic arranged a walk around the town with Noel, a charismatic tour guide. Noel shared stories about the business successes and failures during the industrial revolution, life without running water ‘back in the day’, the small local graveyard filled with tragedies, and the grandeur of the gardens of Bantry House (Graham Norton had his wedding reception here); it was an afternoon filled with characters and tales. Within town, there is a market on Fridays, Ma Murphys Grocery and Bar is a great place to stop for a pint, and Fish Kitchen is the place for fresh, local crab sandwiches.

10. Skibbereen Heritage Centre

Skibberean Hetiage centre sign

Skibbereen Heritage Centre is an important stop for understanding the history of Ireland. Skibbereen was the town that drew global attention during the Potato famine in the 1800s and until visiting the Heritage Centre, I hadn’t fully appreciated the extent of the famine and the long shadow is cast over the country. Our guide, Terri, was passionate about sharing the stories of the people of Skibbereen and their courage in such dark times. Her explanations, including the history and politics surrounding the famine, were captivating – quite an achievement with such a heavy topic.

11. Ballydehob

Levis pub with glasses, clover and murphys beer

Levis’ Cornerhouse is a traditional Irish pub in the quiet, colourful town of Ballydehob. Sip a pint of stout in this bright, bold drinking establishment that’s been in the family for over 100 years; time it right and there might be an Irish band playing when you visit. There was for me, but I suspect Swan Hellenic had kindly arranged it for our group. Don’t miss the ‘is that real‘ letter from the Queen on the wall, a rip-roaring read with your pint in hand. In fact, don’t stay seated. Levis’ is the kind of place that is part pub, but mostly a curiosity museum. Want something a little more wholesome than a pint of Murphy’s? Head over the road to Budd’s for excellent coffee and a nutritious menu.

Old Railway Bridge views of hour and lake in Ballydehob

A short stroll from the main street is Ballydehob Harbour and the Old Railway Bridge. Take a walk and don’t forget your camera – there are some stunning countryside views, and not a single tourist to crop out of your shot.

12. Whiddy Island

Green covered whiddy island with fishing traps infront

While you’re in Bantry, you can take a ferry to nearby Whiddy Island. Historically, the island was a naval base but today it’s a haven for wildflowers and wildlife. Tim’s pub is a highlight but don’t ask Tim to stop too long – he’s also the island’s postman and care taker of local royalty, Jeffrey, Whiddy Island’s cat.

13. Lough Hyne Nature Reserve

Close to Skibberean Heritage Centre sits Loch Hyne Nature Reserve. Designated a marine reserve in the 1980s, Loch Hyne was once freshwater but became a marine lake thanks to the tidal ebb and flow. Only a 15 minute drive from Skibberean, it’s possible to spend the day at the reserve exploring the rapids, western trough, sea caves, Barlow Creek and Whirlpool Creek. Nearby, there are hikes with splendid views, and the remains of a 15th century tower house.

14. Dingle

Bright red blue and green harbour front pubs of dingle

Dingle is another town that forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way and is the westernmost point of the mainland of Ireland. Complete with bright-coloured houses, a bustling harbour front and streets that wind uphill with churches, bars and boutiques on both sides, Dingle is a hit with visitors. My favourite spots were Murphy’s for quirky ice-cream flavours (Dingle Gin and Irish brown bread, anyone?), St Mary’s Church with its tranquil meditation gardens, and Juice for Thought. Try to make time to eat the local seafood in Dingle. Out of the Blue is the best eatery for fresh fish but requires a booking. I had a divine seafood chowder at Paudie’s Bar within the Dingle Bay Hotel.

Don’t miss the statue of Fungie the Dingle Dolphin, a baby dolphin who got lost in Dingle bay in the 1980s but decided to stay. He became a popular resident, frequently playing with the surfers and fishing boats. Sadly, he’s not been seen since 2019, at which point he was estimated to be the oldest solitary dolphin in the world. His loss made national news at the time and there are commemorative signs and street art all around Dingle in his honour. Why Fungie? Because he was a…fun guy. That’s the wonderful Irish sense of humour for you!

15. The Wild Atlantic Way

Green coast and blue sea of wild atlantic way in Ireland

The Wild Atlantic Way is an epic drive along the west coast of Ireland. Stretching 2,500 km, you need a lot of time to do the entire drive. Otherwise, pick a section and simply enjoy. The lanes are long, narrow and winding, often with coaches to navigate coming the other way so I really would plan in a slow and steady drive. But don’t worry, the views are as jaw-dropping as they are cliff-dropping. Green, granite, deep blue sea and oh-so-wonderfully wild. I had the luxury of sitting on a coach, letting somebody else do the driving as we cruised along the Dingle Peninsula, one of the two major highlights on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher being the other.

16. Blasket Island & Heritage Centre

Wall of paintings in Blasket Heritage Centre

Around 1290, the Ferriter Family took a lease of Great Blasket Island, a remote island off the coast of the Dingle peninsula. Over the centuries, the islanders maintained a very traditional existence with little outside influence and progress. However, in 1953, with only 22 residents remaining, and facing a future of hardship and threatened survival, the final few left the islands for good. Today, the islands have been preserved and the Blasket Heritage Centre on the mainland is a wonderful collection of living stories, videos and artefacts. You can visit the islands by boat from Dingle Harbour.

The Blasket Islands have produced a staggering number of Irish authors over the years, many of whom have documented life on the islands – Peig, Twenty Years A-Growing and Islandman are three books to start with if you’re interested.

17. Balleyferriter

Star wars figures in Ballyferriter

Ballyferriter is a great place to experience ‘real Ireland’ with 75% of the village speaking Irish. Located on the Dingle Peninsula Slea Head Loop, this small village has somehow packed in three pubs, one hotel and a couple of giant-sized Star Wars figures. Why Star Wars? Because the nearby island of Skellig Michael, with its steep sandstone rocks was used as the filming location of Ahch-To in The Force Awakens and The Last of the Jedi. If you want to visit Skellig Michael (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the island is best reached from Portmagee Harbour. Back within Ballyferriter, Ceann Sibéal Hotel is the most westerly hotel in Europe (and serves excellent coffee). There is also a small museum, Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne (West Kerry Museum) which covers the culture, history and heritage of the area.

18. Galway

Inside Galway cathedral lights and altar

Galway has a long, thick history which is evident in the wonderful medley of buildings and sights within the city. From Anglo Norma times through the Medieval period, the Victorian era and the Art Deco 20s, you can stroll through the ages in Galway. The don’t miss spots include Eyre Square, which was a gift to the city by the Southern Railway company in 1954, the Medieval city walls, Lynch’s Castle on Shop Street, the Spanish Arch, the River Corrib, the University of Galway and Medieval St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church. One of the most recent buildings was Galway Cathedral which, although built in a blend of Gothic Renaissance and Romanesque styles, was only consecrated in 1965.

Stop into Butlers Chocolate Cafe for coffee and chocolate. And if you’ve ever wanted to take the Orient Express but haven’t quite managed it, book a table at the Pullman Restaurant at the Glenlo Abbey Hotel to dine in a former Orient Express carriage.

19. Connemara Coast

Connemara lakes and countryside

Forming another stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way is the Connemara Coast in County Galway. A land of green mountains, black peat bogs, ancient glacier lakes, hawthorn, gorse and dry stone walls, Connemara is the essence of wild Ireland. Sheep roam free here and the roads wind, largely uncluttered. It’s a place to watch nature pass by. If you have time, head to the nearby Aran Islands, famous for Aran wool jumpers and their unique knitting patterns.

Connemara Coast Hotel in Maam Cross is a great stop for a bite to eat. Swan Hellenic had kindly arranged for scones, tea and coffee for us. There is a regular menu available if you’re visiting independently.

20. Portrush

Ferris Wheel Portrush

It was a bank holiday in Northern Ireland when we docked off the coast of Portrush and the holiday atmosphere of this Victorian seaside town was palpable. From the kitsch arcades to the brimming beaches and long, snaking line outside the fish and chip shop, this popular holiday haven on the Antrim Coast of Ireland was abuzz. Go for one of the three sandy beaches that make Portrush so appealing (White Rocks, West Strand and East Strand), or stroll the one mile long promenade with a ‘poke’ (local word for a cone) of ice-cream from the famous Morelli’s. Of course, many people use Portrush as a jumping off point for a visit to the nearby attractions of Dunluce Castle and Giant’s Causeway. There is also Bushmills Distillery, the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.

21. Dunluce Castle, Antrim Coast

Ruins of Dunluce castle northern ireland

Although Dunluce castle now sits in ruins, the Medieval structure still stands and the views out to sea are simply staggering. Perched on a rocky outcrop, with steep drops all around, Dunluce castle has a dramatic history of feuding clans with the McQuillan and MacDonnell families both former residents. The castle sits at the edge of what was once the 17th century town of Dunluce, a town which was burned to the ground by Irish rebels. You can wander about the ruins, explore the small exhibits or just take in the views.

22. Giant’s Causeway

people climbing on the columns of giant's causeway ireland

Irish folklore is at its finest at Giant’s Causeway, a curious interlocking mass of over 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns that have stood strong for over 60 million years despite the constant thrashing of the Atlantic Ocean. The geologists will have you believe that the stepping stones of the Giant’s causeway are the result of dramatic volcanic activity, from shrinking and cooling lava. But legend tells a different story, that of the giant Finn McCool who built a causeway between Northern Ireland and Scotland so that he could face rival giant, Benandonner. Having tricked his rival into thinking Finn McCool was much taller than he was, Benandonner fled, ripping up the causeway, leaving behind the columns we see today. Interestingly, Scotland has its own basalt columns in Staffa, enhancing the myth of Finn McCool. Myth and science aside, stepping across these 60 million year old rocks is to take a step across history.

There are four walking trails around the coastal area, ranging from easy to challenging, but most people head straight to the rocks to walk over them. Do wear closed toe shoes with good grip and beware – the rocks are especially slippery when wet, and even on a dry day you need to take care.

There is a bus that will take you from the visitor’s centre down the road to the rocks, and back up again. It costs £1 or €1.20 each way, cash only. If you’re able, it’s better to walk as there are audio stops along the way as well as great views. If you want to take the bus one-way, take it back, uphill.

23. Dublin

Entrance to Guinness Storehouse Dublin with adverts

As the capital of the Republic of Ireland, it’s almost a sin to visit the island of Ireland and not stop in Dublin. But be prepared to get your walking shoes on because there’s a lot to see. From the 13th century Dublin Castle to Ireland’s largest cathedral (St Patrick’s) to St Stephen’s Green park, and the library at Trinity College (for the famous Book of Kells), there’s plenty to keep you busy. If you want a more boozy…I mean relaxing visit to Dublin, you can bounce between the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery before enjoying a pub crawl through the (touristy but fun) Temple Bar area. Otherwise, head to The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in the Dublin (since 1198), where history hangs from the rafters.

Although the Swan Hellenic cruise ended in Dublin, after sailing through Scotland, I’ve included it here, in the Ireland section.


SCOTLAND

24. Sound of Mull

Craignure Inn on Isle of Mull

Sailing through the peaceful waters of the Sound of Mull, skirting between the west coast of Scotland and the Isle of Mull, was like immersing myself in a well of calm. Without roads, surrounded by the smooth, protected waters, this part of the Swan Hellenic cruise was unbeatable. And with the summer solstice just a few weeks away, the evening light on the water was truly magical.

25. Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

Path leading to Duart castle Isle of Mull

Conceived in the 13th century, Duart Castle is an enchanting Scottish castle that overlooks the Sound of Mull and is occupied even today. The castle has been within the hands of Clan McClean for over 700 years, after a tumultuous history of ownership. Today, large parts of Duart Castle are open for the public to explore. The 14th century Keep is intact with walls as thick as 10 feet (3 metres) in parts but my favourite rooms were the dungeons (morbid fascination) as well as the Great Hall with its huge dining tables fit for hosting a feast. Upstairs, you’re treated to the State Bedroom and Dressing Room, kept in traditional style, as well as the Clan Exhibition room. The castle was restored in 1911 after a period of ruin.

Make sure to save enough time for a wander around the wild grounds. Situated at the tip of the peninsula on a high crag, the views towards the Sound of Mull are magnificent. We were greeted by the current owner, Sir Lachlan Maclean who was proudly sporting his clan’s tartan.

26. Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

Stornoway harbour houses in Isle of Lewis

I’ve wanted to visit the Isle of Lewis ever since I read the Peter May Lewis trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides. So, I was excited to finally step ashore. Stornoway is the main and only town on the island as well as the transport hub for ferries to Ullapool and flights to mainland Scotland.

Lews castle, completed in 1851, is the main attraction in Stornoway. It was build by Sir James Matheson, who owned the island at the time, and, scandalously, was constructed using profits from the Opium trade. The castle passed hands to Lord Leverhulme in 1891, the man who went on to found a company that morphed into Unilver. After renovations that left the castle structurally unsound, the castle is now back in the hands of the public with a restored ballroom, cafe and luxury vacation apartments. The castle grounds are expansive and stunning. Other sights in Stornoway include the Art Centre, Town Hall and the Star Inn, the oldest pub in the town.

27. Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis

Circle of Calanais standing stones in Isle of Lewis

Dubbed the Stonehenge of Scotland, the Calanais standing stones on the Isle of Lewis is a collection of 32 stones erected in the shape of a cross with a circle at its heart. Unlike Stonehenge, you can wander throughout the stones which were placed high on the hillside around 2,900 BC. There are many theories, myths and stories surrounding the purpose of the stones. One theory is that the stones, the tallest of which is 3.5 metres high, are linked to the moon phases. If nothing else, there is a sacred feeling to this ancient site.

The small but packed visitor’s centre has some great photos and a short video. The stones are also known as the Callanish standing stones (Calanais is the Gaelic word). You might also see them referred to as Calanais I since there are two further sites, Calanais II and Calanais III, nearby.

28. Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis

Traditional blackhouse exterior at Gearrannan Blackhouse village

To better understand the Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis, it serves to explore the history of the blackhouses, and there is no better place to do that than at the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village. Comprising nine buildings, this reconstructed traditional crofting village provides a great insight into what life was once like on this remote island when the people lived from and worked on the land. The buildings are in the traditional drystone style with a thatched roof and will transport you back to the 1950s, complete with the authentic scent of a peat fire and Harris Tweed demonstration on an old loom. There is also a short, pretty walk down to the shore.

29. Inverewe Gardens, Loch Ewe

Ornate gate with loch ewe views in Inverewe gardens

Inverewe Gardens on Loch Ewe are home to rare, international species that thrive in this corner of the highlands thanks to the Gulf Stream climate. The gardens have been created so you can meander through different sections including a perfectly tended walled garden, a thicket of bamboo, past Japanese, South African and American species including redwoods, all while offering glimpses of the Loch and mountains as a backdrop. The gardens are run by the National Trust for Scotland. I highly recommend visiting in spring, the time I visited, when the garden is in bloom.

Keep an eye out for red squirrels, otters, seals, red deer and golden eagles. I was rewarded with the sight of a small family of seals.

30. Isle of Skye

Highland cow with long hair and big horns isle of skye
Highland cow on the Isle of Skye

Despite being connected to the Scottish mainland by a bridge, the Isle of Skye felt totally remote. While being just 50 miles long, it’s still the largest island in the Inner Hebrides. And with its wild, rugged landscape, it’s an island to get lost in nature and time. If you’re on a bit of a squeeze for time, Dunvegan Castle from the 13th century is a must-see as are Kilt Rock with its basalt column striations that resemble kilt pleats and Mealt Waterfalls. But perhaps the most popular sight is the Old Man of Storr, a pinnacle of spiky rocks jutting towards the sky on the Trotternish peninsula. Either visit it as a photo stop or, if you have more time, it’s the island’s most popular hike.

My favourite experience was Sky Museum of Island life (Kilmuir), another opportunity to explore life in the crofting and blackhouse communities. Across seven different houses you can explore 100 years of history on the Isle of Skye. Just up the path from the village is a cemetery where Flora MacDonald is buried (she is famous because she helped Bonny Prince Charles escape after his failed attempt to take the throne of Great Britain). There is also a headstone for British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

And with final stops in the Isle of Man and Dublin, my cruise around the British Isles was over. As English writer, Sir Terry Pratchett once said,

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving”. 

I returned from this cruise feeling like I’d both left and not left, but returning nonetheless with a new depth of appreciation for the islands I’ve long called home.

Map

Map of places to visit in the british isles

You can find the interactive map of the best places to visit in the British Isles here.

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Collage - highland cow, british isles coast and bright houses
Author - Jo Fitzsimons

Hi, I'm Jo, the writer behind Indiana Jo. In 2010 I quit my job as a lawyer and booked an around the world ticket. As a solo female traveller, I hopped from South America to Central America, across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It was supposed to be a one-year trip but over a decade later, it's yet to end. I've lived in a cave, climbed down a volcano barefoot, spent years as a digital nomad, worked as a freelance travel writer, and eaten deadly Fugu. Now I'm home, back in the UK, but still travelling far and wide. You can find out more About Me.

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