If you follow me on Instagram then you know I was recently adventuring in the U.K. (England, Scotland, N. Ireland), Ireland and France with Princess Cruises. And you guys, we had the BEST time! Ben had never gotten the chance to visit and it had been a very long time for me, so it was so amazing to have the chance to get back and visit this gorgeous European countryside together.
From the picturesque, lush green rolling hillsides to the many beautiful castle ruins, our cruise was such a great way to see the countryside and feed our wanderlust spirits. Each morning we would wake up in a new destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore. We wandered through historic architecture, we hiked through natural wonders, we laughed with the locals and we soaked up the rich history and culture of each destination. And after we had exhausted ourselves (and our feet), we were able to come back aboard Caribbean Princess and relax, load our hundreds of images and head to the dining room or one of their specialty restaurants for some much needed yummy fuel (and tea, of course). After we refueled, we loved wandering the expansive ship hand-in-hand, catching a flick poolside on Movies Under the Stars, practicing our putting or seeing one of their many broadway-style production shows!
It was the perfect way to see the breathtaking British Isles as we sailed into five countries in twelve sensational days: England, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland and France. And we loved every minute of it.
To give you a taste of the feast our nomadic senses experienced each day, I am excited to share with you each stop along our cruise. So get your pinning fingers ready because I promise, you'll want to add all of these to your bucket list!
Leaving from Southhampton, England, we sailed full steam ahead to the darling island of Guernsey in Channel Islands, just eight miles off the coast of France. Castles and forts dotted the Guernsey coastline as we rode along towards The Little Chapel. Set in the unspoiled countryside along a tree-lined path sits the most colorful miniature church. Decorated with pebbles, shells and pieces of broken china, this little church truly is a work of art (and labor of love built by a determined Brother Déodat in 1914). It was really cool to see and I felt like I had stepped into a Disney fairytale.
We then made our way to the 'Bluebell Woods.' Again, fairytale. The woods were carpeted with beautiful blue flowers. What better way to indulge in island life than to take a quiet, awe-inspiring walk through the woods?!
The next morning we awoke in Cobh, Ireland (formerly known as Queenstown), just a short train ride from Cork. Queenstown is famously the final port of call for the RMS Titanic before she sailed out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage. Not particularly a fun thought, but it was a significant transatlantic Irish port and saw millions of Irish depart their homeland for North America for over one-hundred years.
We hopped on a bus and headed straight for Blarney Castle, a romantic medieval castle ruin. You can kiss the Blarney Stone, which is said to bring you eloquence, but we chose to avoid the line and wandered through the beautiful gardens full of flowers, sheep and waterfalls for a few hours before heading into Cork and making our way back to our Princess Cruises ship.
Next up on our adventure? The capital of Ireland: Dublin. We strolled past St. Steven's Green and wandered the grey stones of Trinity College before heading to St. Patrick's Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland. Because our Dublin visit wouldn't be complete without a little Guinness, we decided to visit the famous storehouse and take in the scenic city views from the top floor.
After all that exploring we were a bit famished, so we headed over to the Westbury Hotel for a glamorous lunch at WILDE. I highly recommend the onion rings by the way!
We then headed back to the ship to watch the sun set as we sailed off for our next destination.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
After visiting the capital Ireland, we sailed north to the capital of Northern Ireland: Belfast, which is part of the United Kingdom. It serves as the gateway to the rich, Irish countryside that houses fifty shades of green (and the beautiful scenic Antrim Coast). We chose to visit Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and what is considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World.
It's a breathtaking area of about 40,000 interlocking joints from cooled lava, which, truth be told looks more like God was playing a game of tetris. However, according to legend, the columns are the remains of a road built by a fabled Irish giant.
We hiked along the ridge to take in the views and then made our way down towards the water. It truly was an epic day and one I will never forget.
Next up on our incredible itinerary was Glasgow. We chose to head just outside the city to the most storybook castle (because, I am all about those castles, you guys): Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.
This castle was lived in and owned by the Kennedy family until 1945 (no, not that Kennedy family haha). But it has a rich and interesting history. And not to mention the views seen from and around cliffside this castle were unreal.
Ever heard of the Loch Ness Monster? I thought so! Invergordon serves as the gateway to Loch Ness and the legend of Nessie goes back as far as the sixth century, insisting the fabled creature lives within the waters. I couldn't resist visiting the picturesque lake that sits beneath the jagged ruins of Urquhart Castle in the highlands.
One of my favorite destinations, we visited the cultural heart of Scotland: Edinburgh. We loved just strolling the streets of this great city. We had our taxi first drop us at the Royal Mile near Edinburgh Castle. We shopped along the way, found some coffee and visited the famous fortress before making our way down the hill towards Princess Street.
We then headed over to The Refinery in St. Andrew Square for lunch (we loved the Napoli flatbread). Next, we did some shopping at Time and Tide (I got myself a wool Scottish blanket) before heading to The Elephant House (made famous by J.K Rowling who sat writing Harry Potter in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle).
While our Princess Cruises ship docked at Le Havre, we boarded a bus to head to Versailles to visit the gorgeous palace and gardens. It had been a very long time since I had the opportunity to visit the royal Chateau and I couldn't wait to step into a time machine back to the seventeenth century.
As our epic cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess came to a close, we were saddened to leave the beautiful British Isles and our Princess family. But one things for sure, we left with full hearts and happy memories, looking forward to our next adventure.
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