Spirit of the Celts

SH Vega
11 Nights
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Join us on a journey of discovery as we embark on a cultural exploration cruise through the heart of the British Isles. From Portsmouth's historic port to the Scottish Highlands' rugged beauty, you'll visit some of the most fascinating and enchanting destinations in the world. Along the way, immerse yourself in local cultures and traditions, and explore this remarkable region's rich history and heritage.


Portsmouth, England
Day 1
Portsmouth, the UK's sole island city and home to the world's oldest dry dock, has a rich naval history tied to figures like Admiral Nelson and Henry VIII. The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard offers a captivating journey through maritime history, housing a remarkable collection of historic ships, including Lord Nelson's HMS Victory, Queen Victoria's HMS Warrior, and the sole surviving ship from WWI's Gallipoli campaign, the HMS M.33.
Fowey, England
Day 2
The picturesque Cornish town of Fowey overlooks its natural harbour, which is flanked by 14th-century blockhouses and overlooked by the ruins of St Catherine’s Castle, built on the orders of Henry VIII. The local museum displays works and items from novelist Daphne du Maurier who was born here. The scenic South West Coast Path passes through, while nearby attractions include the world-famous Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Tresco, Isles of Scilly, England
Day 3
Tresco, one of the five inhabited islands of the Isles of Scilly, is a subtropical paradise located 45 km off the coast of Cornwall. The Gulf Stream provides a mild climate, allowing flowers and other flora to thrive, including the 20,000 global species found in Tresco Abbey Garden. This world-renowned botanical garden is divided into themed areas, including the Valhalla Collection of succulents, the New Zealand Garden, and the Italian Garden.
Day 4
The charming harbour town of Bantry lies amid headlands and islands in Ireland's southwest on Bantry Bay. Ancient sites like the Kealkil stone circle, Kilnaruane Pillar Stone and 16th-century Carriganass Castle surround the town, prime for walking. More recent is the grand 18th-century Bantry House with Italianate gardens by the water. Nearby, Seal Island bustles with friendly seals, and the garden paradise Garinish Island graces the bay.
Day 5
Dingle, a historic Irish fishing village on the Dingle Peninsula's western edge, features craggy cliffs, dramatic waves and hidden beaches. It's guarded by a Victorian lighthouse, reached via a 6 km coastal walk. The surroundings offer diverse hikes, from mountain ridges to secluded shores. The area's rich history encompasses the medieval Garfinny Bridge, 15th-century Gallarus Castle and the ancient Reask monastic site.
Day 6
A harbour city on Ireland’s west coast, Galway has a little of the air of Dublin, centred on 18th-century Eyre Square. Its architecture ranges across the centuries from widespread medieval creations, to the elegant university and the playful design of the 1960s cathedral. Ireland's national aquarium, the Galway Atlantaquaria, sits on the waterfront with more than 1,000 species from the Atlantic, its lakes and rivers on show.
Day 7
Killybegs, a quaint coastal town in County Donegal, is famed for its vibrant fishing industry and holds a rich maritime history. Surrounded by Donegal's natural wonders—mountains, forests, and remote beaches—the Atlantic coastline, adorned with sea stacks, adds to its allure. The Slieve League Cliffs, Europe's tallest sea cliffs at 600m, dominate the skyline. Killybegs also offers Celtic gems like Donegal Castle and the ruins of Donegal Abbey.
Iona Island, Scotland
Day 8
Iona, in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland, holds over a thousand years of spiritual history. With a population of barely 100, the island remains mostly untouched. Iona is renowned for its abbey, established by St. Columba and his Irish followers in 563 CE. In these serene cloisters, the priceless Book of Kells was created, which was later taken to Ireland in 807 CE to safeguard it from Viking raids.
Stornoway, Scotland
Day 9
The capital of the most populous island in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis, is a windswept, rugged place famed for its weavers who make world-famous Harris Tweed. The spellbinding Callanish Stones on the west coast, are standing stones in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. This circle is thought to have been built some 500 years before Stonehenge, in 3,000 BC, making it (along with one on Orkney) the UK’s oldest.
Loch Ewe, Scotland
Day 9
A sheltered deep water loch, Loch Ewe in the Scottish Highlands has a big Naval history. During WWII the Home Fleet stayed here, it was a base for Arctic convoys and a post-war depot for captured German U-boats. NATO still uses the loch as a base for submarine servicing. The loch is a beauty spot , with low-lying Ewe Island in the middle. Sitting on the banks is Inverewe, a Victorian garden rich in exotic plants.
Oban, Scotland
Day 10
Oban, a beautiful seaside town on the west coast of Scotland, is the "Seafood Capital of Scotland." Its picturesque harbour, brimming with life, serves as the gateway to the enchanting Hebridean islands. The city is surrounded by miles of dramatic shores and beautiful countryside, and is home to the Oban Distillery, which produces some of Scotland’s finest whisky.
Portrush, Northern Ireland
Day 11
This small town is the gateway to one of Northern Ireland’s most popular destinations - the Causeway Coast with clifftop walks and beaches. Top of the bill is UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway with its 40,000 basalt formations. The crashing Atlantic on one side, towering cliffs the other, it is Northern Ireland’s number-one attraction, leaving the question: is this prehistoric volcanic activity or the handiwork of two legendary Celtic giants?
Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
Day 11
Rathlin Island, a mountainous and sparsely populated island off the Northern Irish coast, is a treasure trove of natural beauty and historic intrigue. Attractions include the harbour with fishing boats and a lighthouse, which has stood guard for over 150 years. Robert the Bruce took refuge at Bruce's Cave, after his defeat at the Battle of Methven in 1307. A neolithic settlement site and a puffin-packed RSPB seabird centre add to the allure.
Day 12
Your cruise comes to an end today in Dublin, the Republic of Ireland’s capital. It’s at times gritty and in places, gorgeous – Georgian squares, hidden parks and tree-lined canals. It’s lively, complex, cosmopolitan and eminently walkable. So bid farewell to Vega and start exploring, if time allows before your flight home. Come full circle and visit The Long Room in the Old Library in stately Trinity College to inspect the Book of Kells, which was produced on Iona. The Long Room itself is much lauded for its beauty – it’s a stunning, two-storey, barrel-vaulted space that houses 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books and manuscripts. Elsewhere the new Museum of Literature Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedrals, the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, Glasnevin Cemetery entice visitors – just be sure to stop into a snug somewhere for a pint.