UK Cruises With A Royal Connection
More than 100 cruise ships visit UK ports most years, which is fortunate as there's never a bad time to explore the Queen's country. A wealth of attractions with royal connections are within striking distance of British ports, whether you choose to visit them on excursions or during pre or post-cruise stays. Here are some of our favourites.
The sight of porpoises and seals frolicking in the harbour is just one of many potential pleasures awaiting cruise passengers to proud, prosperous Aberdeen on Scotland’s northeast coast. Shore visits include trips out of town, where castles are scattered like freckles across the land known as Royal Deeside.
Driving through the 20,235-hectare Balmoral Estate – with its heather-clad hills, ancient Caledonian woodland, lochs, glens and the silvery River Dee – is a joy. Visit Balmoral Castle, built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and still the private home of the royal family, who spend summers here. Prince Charles has described it as his “favourite place on earth”.
The excursion also takes in the town of Ballater, with its stirring Highland backdrops and By Appointment shop signs, signifying royal patronage.
Holyhead, Isle Of Anglesey
After docking at Holyhead with Holland America Line, opt for an excursion that takes you across the Isle of Anglesey – which is proud of its royal residents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – then over the imposing Britannia Bridge to the Welsh mainland, and the walled town of Caernarfon. The impressive castle here was built in the late 13th Century by Edward I, who intended it not only as a fortress and royal palace but also as the seat of government from which his descendants would rule Wales.
His son, the future King Edward II, was born within the castle precincts and became the first English Prince of Wales in 1301. Since then, most sovereigns have given their eldest son the same title and in 1969 Caernarfon Castle was the setting for the Investiture of Prince Charles.
Back on Anglesey, the excursion visits the village with the longest name in Britain: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogery-chwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. The local, abbreviated title, Llanfair PG, is much less of a tongue-twister.
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Since the 14th Century, Cornwall has enjoyed a special relationship with the Crown through the Duchy of Cornwall, the estate held by the monarch’s eldest son. The present Duke, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall pay regular visits to this Celtic stomping ground.
On an Oceania Cruises excursion from Fowey, a coach whisks passengers through the Cornish countryside to Pencarrow House, a 50-room Georgian mansion tucked away in woodland. This has been the home of the Molesworth family for more than 400 years, since John Molesworth was appointed by Queen Elizabeth I as auditor to the Duchy of Cornwall.
Take a guided tour of the house and (subject to availability) meet the current owner, Lady St Aubyn. Surrounding the mansion are hectares of parkland and formal gardens, including a Victorian rock garden created with blocks of granite from Bodmin Moor, an Italian sunken garden and a grotto.
South Queensferry, Edinburgh, Scotland
At the decommissioning of her beloved private yacht in 1997, the Queen famously shed a public tear. Cunard’s excursion to Leith docks, where Britannia is moored, includes a tour of the state apartments and living quarters, where monarchs and world leaders were entertained and important national business was conducted.
Interesting facts abound: in her 44-year life as royal yacht, Britannia sailed more than a million kilometres. Shouting was forbidden on board and the crew’s orders were given by hand signals to preserve tranquillity.
The Queen described the vessel, which she launched in 1953, as “the one place I can truly relax”, while Princess Anne remarked that standing on deck and sailing on a sunny day was “the nearest thing to heaven anyone will ever get on this earth”.
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This article was from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.