Britain and Ireland offer a rich diversity of waterways; from the rugged wildness of the Great Glen in Scotland to the sedate villages of the Thames in England and the green fields and lakes of the Shannon Valley in Ireland.
Scotland’s Great Glen incorporates Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and the famous Loch Ness and is rich in history and legend, with waterside castles and heather-clad hills. Add whisky and a superb cuisine that is often overlooked, and you have an idyllic cruise.
England’s River Thames is still a much-travelled waterway, steeped in royal tradition and history (Runnymede, Hampton Court, Windsor and Oxford) and enhanced by picturesque villages and gentle countryside.
Ireland’s essence is compressed into the Shannon river valley with its lush fields, lakes, Celtic monasteries and wildlife, plus the warmth and hospitality of the local people.
- Scottish Highlander is a 35.5m barge with a crew of 4, accommodating 8 guests in 3 comfortable cabins and one large suite. It cruises the scenic Caledonian Canal between Inverness and Banavie, near Fort William, and guests can be fortified by a large selection of single malt whiskies. Cruise highlights include Glencoe, Cawdor Castle and its garden, Culloden Moor, Glen Ord whisky distillery, Eilean Donan and Urquhart castles and the prehistoric burial site Clava Cairns. Transfers from Inverness are included and the all-inclusive 6 night cruise is priced from 3490 euros per person. Whole boat charters for 2 (honeymoon) to 8 guests and shorter 3 night cruises are also possible.
- Spirit of Scotland is a 38m barge with a crew of 6, accommodating 12 passengers in six deluxe, air-conditioned cabins. It cruises the Caledonian Canal between Muirtown and Banavie in an area bristling with history, from Clava Cairns, a prehistoric burial site, to Culloden Moor, where the last battle on British soil was fought in 1746. The tour features several castle visits, loch cruises, a private tasting at a whisky distillery and on board, there’s a wide selection of single malts and French wines. Transfers from Inverness are included and the all-inclusive 6 night cruise is priced from 3690 euros per person.
- Magna Carta is a 35.5m barge with a crew of 4, accommodating 8 guests in 4 generous suites. It cruises between Hampton Court and Henley-on-Thames and highlights include Hampton Court Place, Windsor Castle, the Tudor manor house at Dorney Court, Cliveden House and Oxford’s Christ Church college. Transfers from central London are included and the all-inclusive 6 night cruise is priced from 3790 euros per person. Whole boat charters for 2 to 8 guests are also possible and can be themed to honeymoon, family activities, golf, tennis, walking and antiques.
- Shannon Princess is a 32.5m barge with a large roof-top sun-deck and a crew of 5, accommodating 10 guests in 5 comfortable suites. It cruises between Glasson, near Athlone, and Killaloe, with an excursion around Lough Ree and its many islands. Highlights include Kilbeggan whisky distillery, Leap Castle, the gardens of Birr Castle and Portumna Castle, Galway City and an Irish weaving workshop. Transfers to Dublin are included and the all-inclusive 6 night cruise is priced from 3950 euros per person.
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