The British Isles make a great anniversary cruise! We did this one for our 40th wedding anniversary (and there were several other couples onboard celebrating as well). Here’s our review of the Princess Cruise British Isles getaway, including our itinerary and notes on each destination visited. Enjoy!
The cruise line port is in Southhampton, England. My wife and I actually wish we had stayed here for longer before the ship departed. There was a lot to see and do, and we left feeling like we wanted more.
Before arriving at the port, we took a tour bus to Stonehenge. We rode through several small villages in the English countryside on the way.
Stonehenge was a thrill to visit. A new visitors center was recently built, and it was very nice. We stayed for one hour before getting back on the tour bus for the short trip down to Southhampton port.
Guernsey was one of our favorite stops! From the dock, walk to the left for the main street which has a tourist information office with WiFI. Make sure you try some of their cheese and ice cream! Stopped by a local bakery for some treats. It’s a nice little town that is hilly with cobblestone streets, but walkable.
We loved the little village of Cork. We visited some pubs, tried the Guinness, walked around town, and then up to the top of the hill to Saint Colman’s Church. There was a festival going on in the middle of town. The whole town came out to the pier to wave goodbye as we sailed away.
Excursions: We took the tour to Kinsale Village & Charles Fort which was enjoyable. Some on our ship took the train to Cork which is 24 Km away. The price for a round ticket for two was 15 Euros and took thirty minutes. Free Wifi on the train.
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Berth in Alexandra Quay, located 1.2 miles from the city center.
Sites we saw: Dublin Castle was beautiful. We walked through Trinity College but there were tons of people so we kept moving then stopped for a coffee. Then we found the Temple Bar area close by and had a great time walking the area and seeing the decorative shops and pubs. We settled into one pub and listened to music. Back on the ship later, we saw a local group, “Gaels Afloat,” that did Irish Music and dancing. You do not want to miss this presentation, so check the schedule.
Another favorite stop! Do you see a pattern here? My wife is a huge Beatles fan and we had to go to the Cavern in Liverpool. She was in heaven. A great idea is to the Hop On Hop Off bus. It takes about an hour if you stay on or catch another bus every 15 minutes. We had lunch and a beer at “The Phil,” John Lennon’s favorite pub. Liverpool is a beautiful city; clean and easy to get around in. The city center was only five minutes from the ship. I think we may have liked this city the best of everywhere we visited on our trip. You will need to take an excursion to see the part of Liverpool where the Beatles came from.
Glasgow is two hours from Greenock. A Princess bus for a round trip from Greenock to Glasgow was $150 for two. Taking a train from Greenock to Glasgow was 13 pounds for two, round trip. You can also take the train or an independent bus that leaves from the pier also. For our excursion, we took a bus tour along beautiful Loch Lomond to the Inveraray Castle and then had lunch at the Inveraray hotel dining room then walked the quaint town of Inveraray, Scotland. Back on the ship, a must-see is the local talent Scottish Music Show.
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The city center was one and a half miles from the ship. We saw the main attractions of the town but would have enjoyed getting out into the countryside. We took a taxi to City Hall and walked around. Victoria Square is a big shopping mall.
In South Queensferry, we recommend taking a tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse which is right down at the end of the Royal Mile.
The Hop On Hop Off Bus tour is a good deal and a way to get around that we quite enjoyed. We were able to get a table in the small pub, The World’s End, and shared a delicious fish sandwich and sipped on our pints of ale.
We had the best time with our personal tour guide from the Highlands of Scotland Tour Guide Association.
We drove along the shores of the Cromarty Firth, through the small town of Tain to Dornoch. We had time for a stop in Dornoch and then it was on to Dunrobin Castle.
We didn’t know if it would be worth it to take the tour over to Paris, but yes, it was worth it! The tour was the Paris City Drive & Seine River Cruise. The 1.5-hour ride over to Paris did not seem long because our great tour guide entertained us for about half of the trip and for the rest we were eagerly looking to see what Paris looked like. We saw the Eiffel Tower on the skyline and the bus took us over for a short visit and photo op. Next, we did a driving tour of Paris where, again, the tour director did a great job. On to the amazing boat ride down the Seine River through the heart of Paris while enjoying lunch and wine of course. Then we visited the Arc de Triomphe.
When we returned to England, we stayed at The Darlington Hyde Park hotel which was near Hyde Park off Sussex Gardens, a lovely area with many restaurants and pubs. We could easily walk to Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Paddington Station where you can take trains to anywhere in England or the express tube to Heathrow.
We did the Hop On Hop Off bus tour, but it was a little too much to do on a busy day. These take a long time and we felt we were lucky to get back to our hotel after having to change buses three times. This could be nice, but not to be rushed.
We had a very nice English Breakfast at our hotel. We met our friends and did a tour of Kensington Palace and the free cart shuttle actually gave us a free tour of Hyde Park, including the playground where the Royal kids played.
Next, we went to Buckingham Place for the Changing of the Guard. Then we walked towards the Thames River and stopped by the famous Sherlock Holmes Bar where I got a Cheddar Cheese sandwich and their local beer.
Walked quite a bit while sightseeing. Toured the Churchill Bunkers which was amazing. This night was special as we had great seats to see the musical “Billy Elliot” at the historic Victoria Palace Theater which we really enjoyed.
Originally published October 20, 2022