Many interesting destinations and sites around the UK are easily accessible via a short ferryboat ride. When you're traveling around the coast of England, visiting the shores of Wales or venturing to the Scottish Isles, take advantage of some of the ferry services that make it easy to travel around the ports and coastal towns within a few hours.
Many ferries run from the mainland to islands off the coast of Britain: You can get to the Isle of Wight from the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth on the south coast, for example, or the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea from Liverpool and Heysham. In Scotland, you can travel to the Orkneys and the Shetland Islands to the north or to the many islands and isolated coastal areas of the west. Many rivers also have ferry services for tourists and locals.
Here are some tips for traveling on ferries throughout Britain:
1: Take your car or motorcycle. Most of the ferries around the country can accommodate motor vehicles. This makes it much easier to explore your final destination on your own and save on the costs of renting when you get there.
2: Explore scenic sites. Some of the inter-island ferry services are perfect for nature lovers and photographers. These ferry routes typically run around the natural landscapes and scenic shores of smaller islands and picturesque coastlines. For example, the Shetland Islands Council runs a network of inter-island ferries that give travelers the feel of a a nature cruise. These smaller boats are perfect for family vacations or day trips around the Shetland Islands.
3: Pack a lunch. If your ferry ride is going to be longer than three hours, pick up some food to go before you board so you don't have to purchase food on the ferry. While some ferry service providers do provide food and beverage services, items can be overpriced. Pick up a box lunch or light meal from a café or restaurant before you depart so you can enjoy your meal during your trip.
4: Explore London by river. If you're looking for a great sightseeing experience, hop aboard one of the ferries operated by the London River Services Limited. You can board from one of eight passenger piers located on the River Thames between Greenwich and Millbank. This is the perfect ferry riding experience for first-time visitors because you'll be able to see many of London's scenic sites, historic buildings and iconic landmarks on your route.
5: Consider buying travel insurance. If you are planning to take a multi-island tour around Scotland or your route will make stops at several coastal sites, consider purchasing travel insurance. Ferry companies typically don't reimburse passengers for trip costs associated with delays, cancellations, diversions or interruptions of service.
by Sabah Karimi
Top: A ferry brings visitors to the Island of Skye in Scotland. (Photo: Britain on View/Visit Britain)