When Princess Cruises offered to show us the British Isles, I immediately accepted. Cruise…British…enough said, right?! But truthfully, I had no idea what countries or territories actually made up the British Isles. I just knew I wanted to go!
As I quickly learned, the British Isles are an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, that consists of Great Britain, Ireland, and Isle of Man (plus over 6,000 other smaller islands). Our adventure started in London, and looped around the United Kingdom, through Ireland and Scotland, and then a final stop in Northern France. (See our full travel diary here and here.)
The 12-day cruise was the perfect mix of bustling European cities, sheep-dotted countryside, and quant seaside villages. The quiet, charming towns are what always seem to capture my heart, and these were my favorite three of the trip.
Guernsey, United Kingdom
Guernsey was our first, and shortest, stop on the trip…which was perfect since we were all battling some pretty heavy jet lag! Our original plan was to ferry to Sark (a neighboring island with no cars!), but the weather didn’t cooperate, so we just wandered Guernsey on our own.
Off the coast of Normandy, Guernsey is part of the Channel Islands, with a mild climate and beautiful views to water from all over the island. There’s a small pier and a cluster of colorful shops in port, and up the hill is a beautiful English garden and tearoom that fed my obsession with warm scones and cream.
And as it turns out, there’s a book based in this tiny island town, and tons of you recommended it! But oddly enough, the movie from the same book wasn’t filmed in Guernsey.
Cobh & Kinsale, Ireland
Despite the gray and rainy day, there was lots of color to be found in Cobh, and nearby Kinsale. We explored the hilly seaside town of Cobh by foot, then joined our excursion for the 45-minute bus ride to Kinsale.
There we feasted on the freshest fish-and-chips and Guinness (it really does taste different in Ireland!), and wandered the colorful, cobblestone streets.
Our final stop on the cruise was the industrial port of LeHavre, in Northern France. Many in our group traveled to Paris for the day (5-hour drive round-trip!), but we opted to stay closer to the ship, and explored the coastline with excursions to Honfleur and Benedictine.
We absolutely fell in love with the rolling hills and thatched roofs of the Normandie region! We wandered both, stopping in a seaside cafe for crepes and cafe.
I adore charming little towns with no ‘must see’ spots, where the only agenda is to wander and experience. These seaside villages were exactly that, and part of what made the British Isles Cruise with Princess so special.
What type of places are your favorites for travel? What is your favorite off-the-beaten-path village you’ve explored while on vacation?
*I am proud to be an ambassador for Princess Cruise and collaborate on this post.*