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The windswept shores of England and Wales showcase stunning and rugged landscapes teeming with diverse wildlife and scattered with charming villages. Journey aboard the National Geographic Orion from Portsmouth—once one of the world’s most important seaports—to the nearly forgotten isles of the English Channel and the Celtic Sea. Explore remote waters and coastlines by kayak and Zodiac, immersing yourself in a world of marine animals and migratory seabirds. In the seaside towns of Dartmouth and Fishguard, experience maritime culture amid festive marinas.
Discover the exceptional Tresco Abbey Gardens and explore Wales’ Snowdonia National Park.
Visit the historic dockyards at Portsmouth and see the HMS Victory, an 18th-century warship that played a role in the American and French revolutions and most notably, Britain’s great naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Kayak through the waters surrounding Alderney Island as you seek out puffins and other nesting migratory birds along the English Channel.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Dublin, Ireland
Arrive in Dublin, Ireland, and embark the National Geographic Orion. (L,D)
Day 2 — Snowdonia, Wales/Angelsey Island
Dock at Holyhead and take a scenic drive to Snowdonia National Park. There are river gorges, waterfalls, lakes, and valleys to explore whether you are coming for pulse-raising activities or for simply standing and admiring the Snowdonia Mountains. Alternatively you can visit Wales’ famed Bodnant Gardens, backed by the Snowdonia range. Continue to Angelsey, a recognized GeoPark, to hike or cycle past intriguing rock formations. Enjoy a festive musical celebration. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Skomer Islands, Wales/Fishguard
Hop on a Zodiac to spot whales, dolphins, seals, and nesting seabirds in beautiful Skomer Island. This afternoon stretch your legs along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which winds along the cliffs and pristine beaches surrounding Fishguard. You may choose to discover the prehistoric archaeology of Pembrokeshire, the area that yielded the stones for Stonehenge, or venture to St. David’s Cathedral for a guided walk in town before dinner ashore in Fishguard.
Day 4 — Isles of Scilly/Tresco
According to Arthurian legend, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of Lyonnesse, a lost land off Cornwall’s coast that is said to have vanished into the Atlantic. Join a naturalist in spotting the flora and fauna of these mythical islands as we cruise their waters in Zodiacs. Or choose to visit the island of Tresco and meander the Abbey Gardens, where a variety of tropical plants flourishes. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Dartmouth, England
Enjoy breakfast on deck as our vessel navigates the River Dart en route to Dartmouth, a colorful town that cascades across a steep riverside hill. In small groups, discover the guardrooms, battlements, and winding passages of the 14th-century Dartmouth Castle. Spend the rest of the day exploring Dartmouth’s lively lanes on your own. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Alderney/Sark, Channel Islands
Anchor off the coast of Alderney and walk
around the island with a naturalist to discover
local wildlife. Or head off on your own by
bike. Weather permitting, you may kayak
in search of seabirds: puffins, gannets, and
lesser black-backed gulls. After lunch, we sail
to nearby Sark. Take in the colorful sights and
intoxicating scents of La Seigneurie Gardens,
or traverse La Coupée—an isthmus joining
Great Sark and Little Sark, for incredible views
over the island. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Portsmouth
Today, dock at England’s maritime capital of Portsmouth. Delve into Great Britain’s nautical history by touring the perfectly preserved historic ships docked in the harbor, including the HMS Victory. Wander the city’s atmospheric cobbled lanes and stop for a pint at a traditional pub. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — London, England
Take in views of London's iconic landmarks from the ship deck as we sail into London via the Thames. Disembark and head to the airport for an overnight flight home. (B)
Book now and receive complimentary round-trip international airfare from New York, or choose to apply the savings as a credit to your expedition cost. We'll also cover your bar tab on board and all tips for the crew.
Book More and Save
Book two or more European expeditions aboard the National Geographic Orion and save 10% off the expedition cost.
Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert has photographed more than 20 feature stories for National Geographic Traveler since joining the magazine as a contributor in 2004. Her subjects range from Canada to the Caribbean and Texas to Thailand. Her work has been recognized by the department of journalism at Columbia University with an Alfred Eisenstadt Award and most recently by the North American Travel Journalists Association for excellence in photography. In addition to being widely published and exhibited, she also lectures regularly about her work at such institutions as Harvard University and the Portland Art Museum. Based in Portland, Oregon and Maui, Hawaii, Susan travels throughout the world shooting a variety of subjects and specializes in capturing a sense of place through her wide ranging imagery. Susan's in-depth knowledge of digital technologies and her multimedia skills keep her at the cutting edge of visual storytelling. Born and raised in Indiana, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and hasn't set down her camera since.
"When on an expedition with National Geographic Expeditions," says Susan, "you are completely immersed in the experience of the place. Everything having to do with the itineraries is focused toward education, illumination and exploration, which takes you further than the destination itself."
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.