By no means does staying locally mean that travellers need to miss out on exotic experiences, as there are plenty of extraordinary locations within reach of our shores. From daytrips and staycations to European getaways, ferry travel offers passengers the freedom to explore and a feeling of escape – quite literally the breath of fresh air we all need after staying home for so long. These destinations prove that there are some remarkable locations surprisingly close by.
Looks like Ha Long Bay, actually Guernsey
Boat trips on the turquoise waters off Guernsey’s rugged south coast are reminiscent of Vietnam’s spectacular Ha Long Bay – but with far less traffic. Condor Ferries operates routes from Poole and Portsmouth to Guernsey.
Looks like Tahiti, actually Western France
Brittany’s Ile Callot may look like a Polynesian paradise but is actually only a ferry trip across the Channel. Travellers can also enjoy the neighbouring Tahiti beach, the sandy shores, cocktail bars and happy vibe mean it shares more than just a name with the popular honeymoon destination.
Brittany Ferries operates routes from Plymouth to Roscoff and from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and Saint Malo, DFDS runs a service between Newhaven and Dieppe. DFDS and P&O Ferries also run crossings from Dover to France.
Looks like the Australian Outback, actually the Isle of Man
After a chance escape from a wildlife park several decades ago, the island has a thriving wild wallaby population. The winding footpath through the Ballaugh Curraghs is the best place to spot
the marsupials, which are native to Australia. Families can even download the “Where’s Wally the Wallaby?” trail map from Visit Isle of Man.
Travel to the Isle of Man with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Please check the latest Isle of Man Government guidance for travellers.
Looks like Iceland, actually the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is home to many breath-taking beaches but the rocky, rugged and wild landscape at Freshwater Bay makes it one of the most picturesque. At low tide, beachcombers are rewarded with rockpools teeming with life.
Looks like New Zealand, actually Northern Ireland
The Mourne Mountains have been crowned Best Walking Destination in Northern Ireland thanks to the spectacular scenery and diverse geography found within the range. With a third (32%) of the public taking up walking during lockdown2 and keen to continue this hobby in their holiday and leisure time, the mountains will make ramblers feel like intrepid explorers.
Looks like the Caribbean, actually Scotland
Visitors will be forgiven for mistaking the white sandy beaches of Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris for a far-flung destination. The island has been voted the best in Europe, blessed with crystal clear waters and fantastic seafood helping tourists to feel a million miles away.
Travel to Harris with Caledonian MacBrayne, which offers routes from Skye or can be incorporated in an island-hopping tour from Barra.
Looks like California, actually the Netherlands
California surfin’ dreams can be made on this stretch of beach in Vlieland, Holland. Our research shows a quarter of Brits are looking to be more active on their next trip2 and whether you’re a surfing pro’ or expecting to wipeout every time, you’ll certainly get a good workout while riding the waves.
Looks like Italy, actually Ireland
Located on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Bantry House boasts European-style terraced gardens. Inspired by the second Earl’s travels, visitors will feel transported to the Mediterranean and enjoying the tranquillity found amidst the estate’s impressive wisteria.
Irish Ferries runs daily sailings from Holyhead to Dublin and Pembroke to Rosslare, P&O Ferries operates crossings between Liverpool and Dublin and Stena Line offers services from Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare.
Looks like Hong Kong, actually Canary Wharf
While we might be familiar with the famous Westminster monuments dominating London’s skyline, the towering skyscrapers of Canary Wharf give a glimpse into slick modern metropolitan life. At night it almost looks futuristic!
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers enables Londoners and visitors to take in the city’s sights from the water, there’s even an on board bar to add sophistication to the moonlit river cruise experience.
Looks like the Maldives, actually the Scilly Isles
Privy to some of Britain’s warmest waters, the Cornish archipelago looks and feels like heaven. Sandy beaches, shipwrecks and sub-tropical flora and fauna give visitors a taste of the exotic, but it is the gentler pace of life that really sets a relaxed holiday vibe.
Isles of Scilly Travel transports sea passengers on The Scillonian departing from Penzance to St Mary’s Harbour.
Lack of holidays has certainly impacted mental health over the last year so its exciting to see travel could return in time for the summer. To give you peace of mind when booking. operators offer flexible ticket options, allowing travel details to be amended up to 48 hours prior to travel. All ferry companies have also operated with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place for over a year, so are ready to welcome holidaymakers as soon as people are able to travel.