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Cruise Around the British Isles with Silversea and Silver Whisper

Our world-cruisers preferred ship, Silver Whisper sports a relaxing, sophisticated and genuinely elegant atmosphere. A multi-million dollar refit makes her one of the most technically up to the minute ships at sea.

According to Emily Dickenson, Edinburgh is to poetry what London is to prose. But lucky travellers on board this voyage will be able to enjoy both! Starting in the Big Smoke, weave your way along the coast of England, imbibing in Guernsey’s and Falmouth’s quintessential Britishness. Then hop over to Belfast and Dublin, back to Ullapool before arriving in the Land of the Brave. The Orkney Islands plus an overnight in Edinburgh will soon make you see what Ms. Dickenson meant.

Itinerary

Set your watches for Greenwich, a Royal borough of London, that is literally located at the centre of the world – dissected as it is by the Meridian Line. The line neatly splits the globe in half and marks zero degrees on the map. Enjoy a stroll past the glittering lake and sniffing deer of leafy Greenwich Park, or settle for a quiet drink in a charming riverside pub as you enjoy London’s quieter side, and the spiritual home of science and seafaring history. Britain has extraordinary heritage on the waves, and you can learn more of the era when Britannia ruled the waves at the National Maritime Museum. Another piece of maritime history has been raised out of the water, and proudly displayed here for all to enjoy in Greenwich. The Cutty Sark was one of the fastest clipper ships ever built, and you can climb aboard to steer the wheel of this spectacular, living piece of maritime history, which is now housed on the banks of the Thames. The celebrated Royal Observatory is a revered font of knowledge, which has been observing, studying and measuring the sea and stars since 1675. Divided by the Meridian Line, you can step between continents, as you explore this global centre of learning and science, which is the home of Greenwich Mean Time. The unmistakable white half-moon of the O2 Arena sits snuggly in a meander of the Thames River. Built to mark the arrival of the Millennium, the dome is now used as London and the UK’s biggest and busiest concert venue – hosting major entertainment acts on a nightly basis.

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.

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. Once you have made you way up to the ancient castle, make like a local and find refreshment with a cream tea, washed down perhaps with a glass of cider! If the weather is on your side, then surely there is no more invigorating pastime than hiking up to the spectacular Guernsey cliffs, taking in stunning views of wildflowers, sandy beaches and English Channel views. For those who want to spread their wings a little further, the tiny island of Herm is just a 20-minute boat ride away, and homes no cars, one pub, a few cows, some puffins and about 50 people. Don’t be fooled by St Peter Port’s nostalgic exterior. The seaside town has made a name for itself as a foodie heaven, with everything from beach huts to Michelin starred restaurants offering sumptuous, locally sourced fare.

England’s Cornish coast is often touted as being one of the loveliest on earth, and Falmouth is testament to that. A lovely jumble of traditional seaside charm, long stretches of sandy beach and quintessential Britishness, Falmouth offers much in the way of entertainment. Think bags of style, a community spirit and a modern, arty, edge, and you have just about summed Falmouth up. It was recently voted as the UK’s best town to live, so it must be doing something right! With Falmouth, appearances can be deceptive – while one might think it is a twee seaside village that owes its livelihood to tourism, it is actually a university town, full of art galleries, independent book shops and of course buzzing bars and restaurants. Get a taste of the student life by wandering the seafront and the Prince of Wales Pier, ice-cream in hand. While the town might have embraced its future, its past is still very relevant. A major port in the 18-century the National Maritime Museum has a great deal of history on offer. For those who want to stretch their legs further afield and really enjoy the glorious English countryside, why not indulge your senses with a coastal trek along the Lizard Peninsula. Beautifully bordered by sea and open landscapes, expect to see tiny fishing villages hidden in their coves, dramatic coastal landscapes and even the Lizard Lighthouse, one of Marconi’s experimental wireless stations. Don’t forget to get yourself a cream tea – a Cornish institution – to congratulate yourself at the end!

Atmospheric cobbled streets, with buskers scraping fiddles and characterful pubs inviting passersby inside, is Dublin in a snapshot. A city of irrepressible energy and lust for life, Ireland’s capital is as welcoming a place as you’ll find. Horse-drawn carriages plod along cobbled centuries-old streets, blending with an easy-going, cosmopolitan outlook. Known for its fun-filled gathering of pubs, any excuse works to enjoy a celebratory toast and chat among good company. Home to perhaps the world’s most famous beer – slurp perfect pourings of thick, dark Guinness – cranked out for the city’s thirsty punters. Learn more of the humble pint’s journey at the Guinness Storehouse. Dublin has come along way since the Vikings established a trading port here, back in the 9th Century. In the time since, the city became the British Empire’s defacto second city, and the Georgian imprint still adds oodles of historic character. Learn of 1916’s Easter Uprising, when the Irish rebelled and established their independence here, as you visit the infamous, haunting Kilmainham Gaol. The uprising’s leaders were tried and executed in these dark confines. Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral has immense history below its steep spire, which dates back to 1191. There’s rich literary heritage to leaf through too, and the city’s streets were rendered vividly in James Joyce’s classic Ullyses. The Museum of Literature celebrates the full scope of Dublin’s lyrical talents. Trinity College also has a prestigious roll-call of alumni – visit to see the Book of Kells, a beautifully illustrated bible of the medieval era.

Reborn as a cool, modern city, Belfast has successfully left its troubles behind, emerging as a hotbed of culture and architecture, where the comfort of a cosy pub is never far away. Take a voyage of discovery in its maritime quarter, home to a celebrated museum dedicated to the most famous ship ever built, which was constructed right here in the city’s shipyards. A walk across the Lagan Weir Footbridge brings you to Belfast’s fascinating Titanic District – an area of the city devoted to its rich ship-building heritage. The state-of-the-art Titanic Museum brings the story of the doomed vessel to life, and is the largest museum dedicated to the infamously ‘unsinkable’ ship. Wind up a nautical-themed ramble along the Maritime Mile with a visit to SS Nomadic, the smaller cousin of the Titanic, and a ship which serves as a fascinating time capsule back to the pomp and grandeur of the Titanic, while also telling its own stories of service in both World Wars. There’s just enough time to give the 10-metre long Salmon of Knowledge sculpture a quick peck for luck, before continuing to explore. A stark barbed wire and graffitied sheet metal barrier marks an abrupt scar through the city’s residential areas. The Peace Line was constructed during the height of the Troubles, when Belfast was plagued by sectarian divisions between Protestants and Catholics. Nowadays, you can jump in a black taxi tour to see the colourful murals and living history of the walls, which stand as a stark reminder of the fragility of peace. After exploring the city’s historic divisions, a reminder of Belfast’s uniting creativity can be found at the Metropolitan Arts Centre – a seven-storey tall building, which invites light to gloriously cascade inside. The Cathedral Quarter is a cobbled blend of flower-adorned pubs, restaurants and theatres, and venues where music spills out onto the streets at night, and many a pint is cheerily shared.

Sail into the heart of Scotland’s majestic Highlands. A welcoming wall of white cottages line the waters of Loch Broom – and while the quaint herring fishing village of Ullapool may be dwarfed by the scenery all around, it compensates for its small size with a huge cultural footprint – offering a full catalogue of festivals celebrating music, food and everything in between. Learn of the herring fishing heritage – you’ll still see the working boats coming and going from the harbour – at the museum. Or, sample the soft, tender seafood that they bring back to Ullapool’s restaurants. Meet the welcoming crews and villagers in the cosy confines of little pubs, to share hearty pints and tall-tales of ocean-faring exploits. Don’t forget your hiking boots. The quaint fishing village disappears almost instantly, as you crunch along hiking paths into the heart of the majestic landscapes, breathing in some of the freshest, pine-infused air in the United Kingdom. Lush greenery and forestry abound, as you roll up mountains and across swathes of prime Highlands scenery. Get to grips with the ups and downs of the green and gold terrain by challenging yourself on irresistibly picturesque rolling golf courses, or by hiking to spot bashful wildlife – including deer, white-tailed sea eagles and cormorants. Look out for more of the area’s animal life within the glassy sea loch’s waters. The waterway is often visited by curious dolphins and seals venturing inland from the Summer Isles nearby.

Scattered just off the northern tip of Scotland, Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Islands – a scenic archipelago of fascinating, dual heritage. The Viking influence is deep, while a prehistoric past and World War history adds to the endless stories that these dramatic islands have to tell. Sparse and beautiful, let the sweeping seascapes of frothing waves, and dance of the northern lights, enchant you as you explore. Windswept beaches are inhabited by whooping swans, while grassy cliffs hide puffins amid their wavy embrace. Sea caves and crumbling castles – and the dramatic meeting of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean add to the romantic beauty of these lands, which may be physically close to the UK, but feel an entire world away. The sandstone St. Magnus Cathedral is the centrepiece of Orkney’s main town – a place of winding lanes and atmospheric walks – and Britain’s northernmost cathedral is a masterpiece that took 300 years to complete. Started in 1137, the beautiful cathedral is adorned with mesmerising stain-glass windows and has been evocatively named as the Light of the North. Look down over the ruined Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces nearby from the tip of the cathedral’s tower. Or, test out the islands’ history-rich distilleries, which produce smokey single malts – said to be the best in the world. You can also venture out to Europe’s best-preserved Stone Age Village, at the extraordinary World Heritage Site of Skara Brae, which offers an unparalleled vision into prehistoric life.

Edinburgh is to London as poetry is to prose, as Charlotte Brontë once wrote. One of the world’s stateliest cities and proudest capitals, it’s built—like Rome—on seven hills, making it a striking backdrop for the ancient pageant of history. In a skyline of sheer drama, Edinburgh Castle watches over the capital city, frowning down on Princes Street’s glamour and glitz. But despite its rich past, the city’s famous festivals, excellent museums and galleries, as well as the modern Scottish Parliament, are reminders that Edinburgh has its feet firmly in the 21st century.Nearly everywhere in Edinburgh (the burgh is always pronounced burra in Scotland) there are spectacular buildings, whose Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian pillars add touches of neoclassical grandeur to the largely Presbyterian backdrop. Large gardens are a strong feature of central Edinburgh, where the city council is one of the most stridently conservationist in Europe. Arthur’s Seat, a mountain of bright green and yellow furze, rears up behind the spires of the Old Town. This child-size mountain jutting 822 feet above its surroundings has steep slopes and little crags, like a miniature Highlands set down in the middle of the busy city. Appropriately, these theatrical elements match Edinburgh’s character—after all, the city has been a stage that has seen its fair share of romance, violence, tragedy, and triumph.Modern Edinburgh has become a cultural capital, staging the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe Festival in every possible venue each August. The stunning Museum of Scotland complements the city’s wealth of galleries and artsy hangouts. Add Edinburgh’s growing reputation for food and nightlife and you have one of the world’s most beguiling cities.Today the city is the second most important financial center in the United Kingdom, and the fifth most important in Europe. The city regularly is ranked near the top in quality-of-life surveys. Accordingly, New Town apartments on fashionable streets sell for considerable sums. In some senses the city is showy and materialistic, but Edinburgh still supports learned societies, some of which have their roots in the Scottish Enlightenment. The Royal Society of Edinburgh, for example, established in 1783 “for the advancement of learning and useful knowledge,” remains an important forum for interdisciplinary activities.Even as Edinburgh moves through the 21st century, its tall guardian castle remains the focal point of the city and its venerable history. Take time to explore the streets—peopled by the spirits of Mary, Queen of Scots; Sir Walter Scott; and Robert Louis Stevenson—and pay your respects to the world’s best-loved terrier, Greyfriars Bobby. In the evenings you can enjoy candlelit restaurants or a folk ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee, a traditional Scottish dance with music), though you should remember that you haven’t earned your porridge until you’ve climbed Arthur’s Seat. Should you wander around a corner, say, on George Street, you might see not an endless cityscape, but blue sea and a patchwork of fields. This is the county of Fife, beyond the inlet of the North Sea called the Firth of Forth—a reminder, like the mountains to the northwest that can be glimpsed from Edinburgh’s highest points, that the rest of Scotland lies within easy reach.

Edinburgh is to London as poetry is to prose, as Charlotte Brontë once wrote. One of the world’s stateliest cities and proudest capitals, it’s built—like Rome—on seven hills, making it a striking backdrop for the ancient pageant of history. In a skyline of sheer drama, Edinburgh Castle watches over the capital city, frowning down on Princes Street’s glamour and glitz. But despite its rich past, the city’s famous festivals, excellent museums and galleries, as well as the modern Scottish Parliament, are reminders that Edinburgh has its feet firmly in the 21st century.Nearly everywhere in Edinburgh (the burgh is always pronounced burra in Scotland) there are spectacular buildings, whose Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian pillars add touches of neoclassical grandeur to the largely Presbyterian backdrop. Large gardens are a strong feature of central Edinburgh, where the city council is one of the most stridently conservationist in Europe. Arthur’s Seat, a mountain of bright green and yellow furze, rears up behind the spires of the Old Town. This child-size mountain jutting 822 feet above its surroundings has steep slopes and little crags, like a miniature Highlands set down in the middle of the busy city. Appropriately, these theatrical elements match Edinburgh’s character—after all, the city has been a stage that has seen its fair share of romance, violence, tragedy, and triumph.Modern Edinburgh has become a cultural capital, staging the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe Festival in every possible venue each August. The stunning Museum of Scotland complements the city’s wealth of galleries and artsy hangouts. Add Edinburgh’s growing reputation for food and nightlife and you have one of the world’s most beguiling cities.Today the city is the second most important financial center in the United Kingdom, and the fifth most important in Europe. The city regularly is ranked near the top in quality-of-life surveys. Accordingly, New Town apartments on fashionable streets sell for considerable sums. In some senses the city is showy and materialistic, but Edinburgh still supports learned societies, some of which have their roots in the Scottish Enlightenment. The Royal Society of Edinburgh, for example, established in 1783 “for the advancement of learning and useful knowledge,” remains an important forum for interdisciplinary activities.Even as Edinburgh moves through the 21st century, its tall guardian castle remains the focal point of the city and its venerable history. Take time to explore the streets—peopled by the spirits of Mary, Queen of Scots; Sir Walter Scott; and Robert Louis Stevenson—and pay your respects to the world’s best-loved terrier, Greyfriars Bobby. In the evenings you can enjoy candlelit restaurants or a folk ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee, a traditional Scottish dance with music), though you should remember that you haven’t earned your porridge until you’ve climbed Arthur’s Seat. Should you wander around a corner, say, on George Street, you might see not an endless cityscape, but blue sea and a patchwork of fields. This is the county of Fife, beyond the inlet of the North Sea called the Firth of Forth—a reminder, like the mountains to the northwest that can be glimpsed from Edinburgh’s highest points, that the rest of Scotland lies within easy reach.

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