After more than a year with limited travel, this is the summer when you fall back in love with the journey. A voyage by ferry is the opportunity to rediscover the sense of adventure and joy that holidays can bring, and to relax and kick back in a way that comes only when travelling by water.
For ferry passengers, the journey is always part of the adventure. From the anticipation of arrival and catching first glimpse of your destination to the elation of spotting marine life and the gentle motion of the waves, travelling by water is always a delight. Enjoy views over the water, a bite to eat or stretch your legs and, on larger ferries, catch a film, shop or relax in a private en suite cabin. Robust hygiene practices are in place and well-practised, while social distancing comes as standard. Flexible booking options offer peace of mind in case plans change and operators are always on hand to help you enjoy your trip. On many services, passengers can board in their own vehicle, skipping a visit to the terminal. We even take the stress out of packing with generous (or non-existent) luggage allowances, including the option to bring your bike and your pets too.
But the journey is just one step of your holiday, a host of great destinations await upon arrival. To help you choose your next holiday we’ve released our top picks of must-book destinations, as it becomes safe to travel again, featuring itineraries brimming with adventure. It really is Ready Ferry, GO!
Ferry big adventures for a momentous holiday
Kids and adults alike will jump at the opportunity to spend the night in a converted helicopter on the Isle of Wight, enhance the trip further and board a private helicopter to see the island from the skies. A short ferry crossing – or an even speedier trip on a hovercraft – will help travellers feel they are embarking on a true adventure. Travel to the Isle of Wight with Hovertravel, Red Funnel or Wightlink.
Experience London like James Bond. Uber Boat by Thames Clippers runs services along the river, so sightseers can take in the capital’s sights in style, feeling the wind in their hair and away from the traffic. Up at The O2 experience affords climbers Instagram-able views across the city, and the added thrill of scaling one of London’s iconic attractions. Zip along the Thames past Whitehall before ending the day like 007 and enjoying a Vespa Martini at one of the city’s rooftop bars. With River Roamer day passes, gift vouchers and carnet tickets available, there are tickets to suit all needs.
Escape to luxury
After a year at home, switch lives with royalty and stay in a Chateau in France’s Champagne region. Slightly quieter than during the autumn harvest, tour some of the world’s most famous cellars and quaff fine vintages. Even better, take your car across the Channel with DFDS, Irish Ferries or P&O Ferries and fill the boot with bottles, so the taste of luxury continues at home.
San Sebastián is one of the most exciting gourmet destinations in the world. Boasting 11 Michelin-starred restaurants, the city’s chefs are pushing the boundaries of gastronomic innovation. Foodies can even go behind the curtain, with a Michelin Secrets cooking class before embarking on a tapas tour for traditional fare with a twist. Sail to Bilbao with Brittany Ferries and bring back Basque country treats, new kitchen skills and tales your taste buds will dine on for years to come.
Trips for petrolheads
Famed for its annual TT race, visitors to the Isle of Man can drive part of the almost 38-mile-long course. Heralded as a motorcyclists’ nirvana, leave the speed to the racers and enjoy the twisting roads and sweeping views of the island. Travel with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, travel to the island is expected to reopen to visitors from the UK at the end of June.
Put driving skills and nerves to the test with motorsports experiences in Northern Ireland. Hop into a Lamborghini or Ferrari to take a spin along the breath-taking Causeway Coast in a supercar or choose between rally driving and 4×4 off-roading lessons to experience undulating tracks, muddy fields and coastal conditions from the driver’s seat. Travel to Northern Ireland with Stena Line or P&O Ferries.
If you’ve missed the ski slopes this winter, visit Europe’s largest sand dunes, in western France, and take on sandboarding. Participants will marvel at the thrill and challenge this unusual sport offers and leave with memories of a day spent at the beach like no other. Travel with Brittany Ferries or on DFDS’ Newhaven to Dieppe service and head south.
Famed for its windmills, visitors to the Netherlands can not only stay in these iconic buildings but can spot the blades from above with paragliding tours. This addictive sport affords views of the countryside and waterways, while gliders experience the exhilarating rush of cool fresh air. Travel to the land of windmills with DFDS, P&O Ferries and Stena Line.
On a clear day, the sandy shores and crystal waters of the Hebrides could be mistaken for a tropical paradise, but these islands are blessed with strong winds, which guarantees good kite surfing conditions. Newbies will revel in the thrill of being lifted off the water. Visit the islands with Caledonian MacBrayne.
Close encounters with nature
A night beneath the stars should be experienced at least once in a lifetime and with Dark Sky sights across the UK and British Islands, use this summer to tick this off the bucket list. Bask in the glow of the Milky Way in the Channel Islands or on the Isle of Coll in Scotland. Alternatively head to the Isle of Man, which has the largest concentration of Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the British Isles, with 26 sites dotted across the island. Journey to the Channel Islands with Condor Ferries or board a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Coll. Travel to the Isle of Man is expected to reopen to visitors from the UK at the end of June, sail with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Snorkel with seals off the Isles of Scilly to get up close and personal with these friendly marine mammals in their natural habitat. These playful creatures love to sneak up on swimmers and nibble at their fins. Sail to St Mary’s with Isles of Scilly Travel.
Learn to survive in the wild with a bushcraft course in west Cork. Learn how to forage, fish and build an overnight shelter in Ireland’s great outdoors. Cut yourself off from modern technology and get back to nature, adults can emulate Ray Mears and children will return with envious tales for their friends. Ferry services to Ireland are operated by Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries or Stena Line.