♥ Valentine's Special: Up to 35% off on selected polar cruises ➞

Poseidon Expeditions - your polar cruise operator

Arctic / British Isles

Witnessing the captivating beauty of the British Isles on our cruises, even seasoned polar travelers were left in awe. Undoubtedly, these cruises stand out as a remarkable gem in Poseidon's collection.

The British Isles and beyond

Experience the beauty and history of the British Isles on our dedicated voyages that exclusively explore these enchanting lands. Alternatively, set sail on adventures that combine the British Isles with the stunning Faroe Islands, offering a unique blend of cultures and landscapes. For the ultimate exploration, join our extraordinary expeditions that commence from the British Isles and journey even further to the Arctic wonders of Svalbard, via the remote island of Jan Mayen. Regardless of the chosen cruise, you will enjoy a memorable voyage aboard our intimate yet cozy vessel, the Sea Spirit.

Why travel to the British Isles with Poseidon?

Poseidon Expeditions is one of the leading operators of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. Since 1999, we’ve offered voyages that combine the spirit of adventure with a generous measure of onboard comfort and well-being, along with educational enrichment.

Why travel with us?
M/V Sea Spirit – Tiny but Mighty

M/V Sea Spirit – Tiny but Mighty

With a maximum capacity of just 114 passengers, we usually operate with 100 guests off the ship. It maximizes our travelers' time ashore because there is no need for splitting passengers into groups for landing rotations as required on larger ships.

Expedition-style voyage

Expedition-style voyage

Prepare for a voyage that combines thrilling wild landings and zodiac cruising with captivating port excursions. Our cruises to the British Isles promise an unforgettable journey, where you'll encounter stunning nature and immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of this remarkable region.

25 years of experience

25 years of experience

Cruising is our passion and expertise and over the past 25 years, we’ve gained tremendous experience building a strong team of enthusiastic polar professionals who are all experts in their field. Each cruise is a thoughtfully crafted expedition voyage.

Thank you for choosing poseidon expeditions

Highlights

HISTORY

HISTORY

The British Isles were mostly accessible by sea to early human settlers. This is why an expedition cruise nowadays is the perfect way to follow in their footsteps and discover the region’s gems. Explore Iona Abbey, Conwy Castle, Neolithic village sites, ancient stone circles and the historic settlement Burgh of Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands. 

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BIRDWATCHING

BIRDWATCHING

The British Isles stand out as a premier destination in Europe for birdwatching enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of these islands, where you can witness the serene tranquility of nature and observe nesting birds in their natural habitats.

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THE FAROES

THE FAROES

Step into a fairytale as you arrive on the remote Faroe Islands. With their charming turf houses and lush green fields, these islands will leave you spellbound at every turn. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of this picturesque archipelago, where Viking heritage is deeply rooted. Lose yourself in the mystical beauty of this untouched paradise, where time seems to stand still.

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British Isles & Faroes
British Isles & Faroes British Isles & Faroes map route

US$ 4 586

12

Photography

Best of British Isles
Best of British Isles Best of British Isles map route

US$ 5 266

13

Photography Sea Kayaking

British Isles, Jan Mayen & Svalbard
British Isles, Jan Mayen & Svalbard British Isles, Jan Mayen & Svalbard map route

US$ 4 482

13

Photography

Departures

Itinerary Dates Days Activities Special Offer Rates from
Best of British Isles
Best of British Isles
08 May - 20 May 2024 13 Photography
US$ 5 995
per person
British Isles & Faroes
Wild Islands & Lands of Legends
19 May - 30 May 2024 12 Photography Valentine's Special 15% OFF
US$ 5 395
US$ 4 586
per person
British Isles, Jan Mayen & Svalbard
Crossing the Arctic Circle
29 May - 10 Jun 2024 13 Photography Valentine's Special 35% OFF FLIGHT TO OSLO INCLUDED
US$ 6 895
US$ 4 482
per person
Best of British Isles
Best of British Isles
06 May - 18 May 2025 13 Photography Sea Kayaking SUPER EARLY BIRD SAVINGS UP TO 20% OFF*
US$ 6 195
US$ 5 266
per person
British Isles & Faroes
Wild Islands & Lands of Legends
17 May - 28 May 2025 12 Photography SUPER EARLY BIRD SAVINGS UP TO 20% OFF*
US$ 5 595
US$ 4 756
per person
British Isles, Jan Mayen & Svalbard
Crossing the Arctic Circle
27 May - 08 Jun 2025 13 Photography SUPER EARLY BIRD SAVINGS UP TO 20% OFF*
US$ 6 795
US$ 5 776
per person

Escape tourist crowds and explore the British Isles off the beaten path with an authentic expedition cruise. You’ll journey aboard the Sea Spirit from Portsmouth to Edinburgh, visiting the tucked away gems of the British Isles, with their historic heritage, magnificent landscapes and unique wildlife. Explore hidden bays and hard-to-reach cliffs with rare seabirds in our small Zodiac boats and land on pristine beaches. For those who want to explore at their own speed, we recommend joining our kayak club.

Enjoy magnificent views from deck, engage in our citizen science projects, join lectures by our onboard specialists and perfect your photography skills in our expert workshops.

British Isles Expeditions

Discover the region’s history, unique nature and wildlife off the beaten path on this 13 day cruise! Start your expedition aboard the small expedition ship, the Sea Spirit, in Portsmouth and cruise to your first stop: the beautiful flora and fauna of Tresco (Isles of Scilly). Enjoy stunning views of the scenery and wildlife from aboard your comfortable ship. Continue to Dunmore East on the southeastern coast of Ireland and further to Christian historic sites on Iona, Scotland. Discover magnificent archeological sites on the Orkney Islands and an abundance of rare seabirds on Fair Isle (Shetland Islands). You can enjoy this cruise with an average level of physical fitness! You can choose to explore the beautiful scenery on foot and in our small Zodiac boats or join the kayaking club if you’re look for a more active adventure.

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About the British Isles

Geography

The British Isles consist of 315,159km2 of landmass in the North Atlantic Ocean and make up Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Shetland Islands, Isles of Scilly and more than 6,000 smaller islands. While most of the islands are uninhabited (only 136 are permanently inhabited), the total population of the islands amounts to around 72 million people. The isles feature predominantly low altitudes, with the highest point being Ben Nevis at 1,345m in the Scottish Highlands.

Climate

With their mild climate, the British Isles lack extreme temperatures. It’s around 20 °C in the summertime. Rain is abundant in the region due to the North Atlantic Drift.

Early History

The discovery of Paleolithic tools suggest that the first inhabitants reached the British Isles some 750 thousand years ago. The modern humans arrived around 30 thousand years ago according to skeleton remains found in Wales (The Red Lady of Paviland cave). Neolithic sites are predominant throughout the islands, including early stone houses on the Orkney Islands and ancient stone circles. Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Celts shaped the region’s history, as well as the Vikings (who arrived around 790 AD).

Ports

Portsmouth, England

This beautiful port city, located in the south, is home to a large British naval base. It’s the perfect place to soak in the local history. Visit Portsmouth Cathedral, a Romanesque building dating back to 1182, with a fascinating history intertwined with the Royal Navy. Visit the local D-Day Story Museum, stroll through historic cobblestone streets or see the famous dockyard (home to the National Museum of the Royal Navy). Want to get a look from above? Get great views from Spinnaker Tower, a modern 170-meter-tall (558 ft) construction and interesting contrast to the historic city architecture.

Llandudno, Wales

This picturesque Victorian-Era harbor with its 700-meter-long (2,295 ft) pier is the perfect place to spend a day ashore during your British Isles cruise. It features a beautiful promenade with restaurants and cafes running along North Shore Beach. Board the iconic Great Orme tramway from the 1900s and enjoy the quaint landscape of Great Orme Country Park and Nature Reserve. For medieval castle connoisseurs, Conwy Castle (constructed 1277-1307) is a must with its stunning views of the Welsh countryside.

Portrush, Northern Ireland

This small seaside resort town with beautiful beaches and white rock cliffs will charm any traveler on our British Isles cruises! The fantastic coastline is perfect for scenic walks and photography and one of the most beautiful in Western Europe. Take the Causeway Coastal Route from Portrush and visit Dunluce Castle, just a 10-minute drive out of town. And if the weather gets rainy, seek shelter in one of the pubs and gourmet restaurants in town.

Kirkwall, Orkney (Scotland)

Located on the Orkney Islands, this quaint port town was founded around 1000 years ago at the site of an ancient Norse town. This historic place combines Scottish and Norse heritage. Be sure to remember that while you stroll through the city: you may stumble over artifacts and buildings dating back to Viking times! Want to learn more about its history? Visit the Orkney Museum with its extensive collection of Viking artifacts and remains from the Iron Age and the Picts. Don’t skip a visit to the St. Magnus Cathedral, one of the most famous places in Kirkwall.

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What to see on the British Isles

Top Things to see

Tresco, Scilly Isles (England)

Visit this quaint family-owned island 28 miles off the Cornish coast with its secluded beaches, enchanting wildlife and nature. Discover Bronze Age burial sites and 17th century castle ruins, as well as the Tresco Abbey Garden with its collection of over 20,000 exotic plants from all over the world. Relax in the quaint cafes and local shops on the island or visit the Valhalla Museum (known its collection of colorful figureheads salvaged from the islands’ shipwrecks).

Dunmore East (Ireland)

Take a stroll through this popular fishing village on the southeastern coast of Ireland. Take a guided tour of the House of Waterford Crystal and see the beautiful crafts of the factory. Visit Mount Congreve with its botanical gardens and woodlands.

Saltee Islands (Ireland)

The islands are a birder’s paradise! See gannets, gulls, puffins and manx shearwaters.

Llandudno (Wales)

Explore northern Wales and scenic Snowdonia National Park. See waterfalls, mountains and crystal-clear lakes boasting wildlife such as otters, wild ponies and rare birds such as dotterels and peregrine falcons. Visit the quaint Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed, Gwydyr Forest and the 13th century Conwy Castle.

Portrush and Rathlin Island (Northern Ireland)

Visit the famous Giant’s Causeway and discover the hexagonal basalt columns descending into the sea. Look out for seabirds such as fulmars, petrels, cormorants, redshanks, guillemots and razorbills.

Inner Hebrides (Scotland)

Explore the uninhabited island of Staffa with its volcanic origin hexagonal basalt pillars and Fingal’s Cave. Off the Isle of Mull, we’ll discover Iona, a small beautiful island with the gorgeous Iona Abbey founded in 563 AD, historic sites of early Christianity and resting place to numerous medieval kings.

Outer Hebrides (Scotland)

These isolated and rugged islands feature ancient stone buildings nestled in dramatic landscapes and wild nature. Home to an abundance of seabirds, two ancient species of sheep and 130 species of flowers, it’s a photographer’s paradise!

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (Scotland)

Explore the 5000 year old village at Skara Brae and the ancient Neolithic Ring of Brodgar stone circle. Visit Kirkwall’s 12th century Romanesque landmark, Saint Magnus Cathedral.

Shetland Islands (Scotland)

The isolated and rugged coastline of Fair Isle is famous among avid birders for an abundance of rare species. You can also see beautiful wildflowers in bloom on our May cruises.

Isle of May and Bass Rock (Scotland)

Spot grey seals along the shores as well as puffins and other seabirds. Visit historical sites such as St. Ardin’s Chapel, the lighthouse and the Low and Light Cottages.

Plan you British Isles Tour

How to get to the British Isles

Our travelers organize airfare to London by themselves. We recommend flying into London Heathrow, where we’ll arrange one night at the Hilton Garden Inn Terminal 2 before the cruise starts (included in your cruise cost). The next morning you’ll be transferred by bus to the departure port, Portsmouth (England), where you’ll board our cruise ship, the Sea Spirit, to begin your British Isles cruise. When booking airfare, please note that we complete the cruise in Edinburgh (Scotland). We’ll transfer you from there to the airport or any central location in the city.

Visa requirements

Please check ahead of time if you require a visa to visit the UK. You’ll have to obtain the visa by yourself. If you need assistance, please contact us and we can help contacting the necessary consulates for further information.

British Isles Ships

We cruise aboard our small expedition ship, the Sea Spirit, which is suited for a maximum of 114 travelers. Choose your personal level of comfort from various cabin categories. The ship features a restaurant, bar, outdoor bistro, 24-hour tea and coffee station, library, lecture hall and gym.

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When to visit British Isles

The best time to visit is during early summer when temperatures are mild at around 20°C (68°F). Winter can be windy, rainy and cold. The weather in the northern parts is usually much colder than in the south of the isles. Precipitation ranges from 800 mm (31 inches) to about 1,400 mm (55 inches) per year. Summer is also the best time for birdwatching and spotting British wildlife. During their spring migration, you’ll see an abundance of iconic bird species! It’s also an incredible time to see the mesmerizing landscapes in bloom.

Facts about the British Isles

· The British Isles are a group of islands off the north-western coast of continental Europe and encompass England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

·The largest lake of the British Isles, Lough Neagh, is located in Northern Ireland.

·Native languages spoken on the British Isles apart from English are Cornish, Gaelic and Shelta.

·The highest peak is Ben Nevis in Scotland (in the Scottish highlands).

· The Orkney Islands consist of more than 70 islands and only 20 of them are inhabited.

· Iona Abbey is regarded as the birthplace of Christianity on the British Isles.

Important to know

On all of our British Isles cruises there is free Wi-Fi aboard, which is included in the cost of the cruise.

Like with all our trips to Northern Europe, we recommend you bring water- and wind-proof outerwear in case of rain and wind during excursions, as well as lighter summer wear for warmer days. Don’t forget sunglasses and sun hats.

You’ll get our signature Poseidon Expeditions windbreaker jacket, which is yours to keep. We also provide rubber boots throughout the duration of our luxury cruises for landings.

We allow 2 pieces of luggage per person (standard size). We also provide onboard laundry service.

You will need an emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 per traveler for your expedition. We also highly recommend cancellation insurance.

We cruise during the early summer season when temperatures are fairly mild. Expect average temperatures of 6-14°C during your cruise.


FAQ

All meals and accommodation aboard, as well as excursions during the trip are included. The first night in a hotel upon arrival, transfer to port and transfer to the airport in Edinburgh on disembarkation day are also included in the cruise price. Souvenirs, alcoholic beverages aboard, tips, any meals on shore, as well as additional hotel costs in case you plan to stay longer in the departure or arrival port are not included.

For our British Isles cruise, we use our comfortable 114 passenger expedition ship, the Sea Spirit. It features cabins of different categories, a restaurant, bar, outdoor bistro, 24-hour tea and coffee lounge, library, lecture hall and a gym.

Our cruises to the British Isles are suitable for travelers of any age. We offer lots of different activities. For people seeking an active vacation, we offer kayaking and hiking; for our passengers who would like to take a more relaxed approach, we offer lectures, Zodiac cruising, photography workshops and wildlife watching from aboard our comfortable expedition ship, the Sea Spirit.

Accommodation and all meals aboard, excursions during the cruise, Zodiac cruising, airport transfer to the hotel/departure port and the first night in a hotel before the cruise starts are included in your package. For alcoholic beverages, tips to the expedition team and staff, souvenirs, additional nights in a hotel, city tours before and after the cruise, airfare to and from the departure port and any other expenses not mentioned in the cruise package, we recommend you calculate your budget based on your personal needs.

We maintain the required distance to ensure safety for our passengers and the protection of wildlife. Our expedition ship, the Sea Spirit, is equipped with an open deck, from which you will have magnificent opportunities to watch wildlife (and we will get even closer in Zodiac boats). In these small, inflatable boats we are able to cruise up close to wildlife, without disturbing the animals. If you want to explore at your own speed, you can also join our kayaking club.

When you consider booking a cruise to the British Isles, ensure that your tour operator has extensive experience in the region. This is important for making the most of your trip, as you will see the prime spots, learn everything there is to know about local history, wildlife and biology. Familiarize yourself with the itineraries offered and reach out to your tour agent to book the best cruise package matching your needs. Choose your level of comfort and cabin category and consider signing up for extras like kayaking well in advance, as spaces usually fill up quickly.

In order to make the most of your trip, we recommend a general level of fitness and the ability to walk without assistance. If you require medications, ensure that you bring them along with you and consult your physician if you have a chronic condition. Note that there are always options to choose a slower pace when exploring, as well as a more active approach.

Yes, we offer sea kayaking at an extra charge, but be sure to book in advance. Our kayaking guides will ensure your safety and comfort during this exciting adventure. We offer this activity only to a small group of travelers and spots fill up quickly.

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