Archives: Ferry Destinations

Ferry Destinations

Skye, Raasay & the Small Isles

Immortalised in the Skye Boat Song, the crossing to the Isle of Skye by ferry follows in the wake of visitors to the island for centuries past. The Isle of Skye is one of the most visited islands on the West Coast of Scotland and is well-known for its rugged scenery ideal for walkers, the Black Cuillin mountains, whisky distilleries and its culinary scene which includes a Michelin star for Loch Bay at Stein. Get the ferry over to Raasay to hike up Dun Caan, with its exceptional views of Skye, or for outdoor adventure sports such as coasteering, kayaking, climbing and abseiling.

The Small Isles include Eigg, which is looking to be the first self-sufficient island in the world through its investment in renewable energy,  Muck, with its local crafts from wool and willow, the National Nature Reserve of Rum where sea eagle can be seen and National Trust owned Canna.

Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides, or Western Isles, are some of the most remote and untouched natural habitats in Europe, with sweeping white sandy beaches and the clear blue Atlantic waters. A wildlife haven with a fascinating history and heritage, the islands each have their own appeal. Caledonian MacBrayne operates regular ferry services to the islands and in the summer season (Apr-Sept) offers Mini-cruises with marine conservation charity ORCA in search of the sea life that lives in these waters.

For wildlife enthusiasts Barra has some of the rarest birds in Scotland, including the corncrake. On Benbecula you may see owls and eagles and Harris has a puffin colony. South Uist‘s nature reserve is one of the most important breeding areas for waders such as redshank, dunlin, lapwing, and ringed plover. Seals can be found be found basking on the rocks in Berneray and be seen from the ferry to North Uist, which has Europe’s largest breeding colony, with 9,000 pups born each year. Boat trips can be arranged from a number of the islands including Barra and Harris in search of common and grey seals, dolphins, basking sharks, mink and the occasional killer whale.

Some of the finest examples of the islands’ Neolithic heritage can be found on Lewis and North Uist in the Callanish Stones and Barpa Langass, a 5,000-year-old burial chamber.


Southern Hebrides

The Southern Hebrides has been an epicentre for single malt whisky since the late 16th century, with Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula recording its first reference to whisky in 1591 and, a few years later, becoming a whisky smuggling centre with a thriving illegal production of the ‘water of life’. Three distilleries still exist in Campbeltown but today Islay is the undisputed whisky capital. There are currently nine distilleries on Islay including well-known brands: Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Bowmore and Laphroaig.

Caledonian MacBrayne operates frequent ferry services to Colonsay, Gigha, Islay & Jura and the Kintyre peninsula which are also known for their walking routes, golf, and wildlife. Highlights include hiking the Paps of Jura, the 3-mile 3-distillery path connecting Port Ellen with Laphroaig, Lagavulin & Ardbeg on Islay and the long-distance Kintyre Way – a 100-mile walk (or cycle) along the unexplored Atlantic coast of the Kintyre peninsula. Also, in Kintyre you’ll find the famous Machrihanish Golf Course, and the Machrihanish Seabird and Wildlife Observatory.


Inner Hebrides

Base yourself in Oban or the Isle of Mull to explore the Inner Hebrides. Caledonian MacBrayne operates frequent ferry services to the islands which are known for their wildlife and turquoise waters. In the summer season (Apr-Sept) Caledonian MacBrayne has partnered with marine conservation charity ORCA to offer an Ocean Conservationist Experience or ORCA Mini Cruise on the ferry in search of the sea life that lives in these waters.

Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull, is a picturesque village with colourful houses lining the waterfront, a whisky distillery and excellent seafood restaurants. From there it’s easy to discover the island’s stunning coastline including the beautiful Calgary Bay. Iona Abbey is well worth a trip, being one of Scotland’s most sacred sites, and the burial place of ancient Scottish Kings, including MacBeth.

The island of Coll is famous for its dark skies, being one of the best places in the UK to see the night sky without light pollution. It has a RSPB reserve on the west coast and is one of the best places to see basking sharks. Lismore has 300 species of wildflower and 130 species of bird and the wildlife in Ardnamurchan includes seals, dolphins, whales, otters, golden and white-tailed eagles, red deer, pine marten and wildcats so keep an eye out for them as you walk around or from the ferry.

Firth of Clyde

Great for a short break, day trip, or part of a ferry island hopping experience, Caledonian MacBrayne operates frequent ferry services around the islands and peninsulas in the Firth of Clyde.  Discover the isles of Arran, Bute and Cumbrae and the peninsulas of Cowal and Rosneath. Enjoy walking, cycling, stunning scenery and the fascinating history of this area which became a popular tourist destination in Victorian times, particularly with Glaswegians, who travelled “doon the watter” on Clyde steamers to holiday in the picturesque seaside towns and villages.

Highlights include the hike up to Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran, a pedal around the 10-mile Cumbrae cycle tour and a visit to Benmore Botanic Garden on the Cowal Peninsula and Linn Botanic Garden on Rosneath Peninsula. If you are visiting at the end of August don’t miss the fun of biggest Highland Games in the world – the Cowal Highland Gathering. Historic attractions include Brodick Castle and the ancient Machrie Moor Standing Stones on Arran and Mount Stuart on Bute and for those wanting to try the local tipple Lochranza Distillery on the Isle of Arran produces a number of Single Malt whiskies.


Wightlink’s car ferry arrives at Fishbourne, their flagship Victoria of Wight is a hybrid vessel, running partly on electricity for a more sustainable journey. The Isle of Wight is a small island, so everything is easily accessible by public transport and bicycle. Nearby Fishbourne you can visit Monkey Haven, Butterfly World and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Haverstreet.


The ferry to Cairnryan is ideal for a road-and-ferry-trip exploring the west coast of Scotland, its islands and peninsulas. For a weekend away, Glasgow is just over a couple of hours away by bus or train. Glasgow has a vibrant art and cultural scene, and has been designated as a UNESCO City of Music. Families will enjoy the Glasgow Science Centre and the Riverside Museum as well as the cities green spaces including the Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and Pollock Country Park, home to the Burrell Collection. From neo-Gothic to Art Nouveau architecture, great shopping districts and an evolving food scene Glasgow is one of the UK’s best cities to visit.

River Thames

Whether you’re heading to a particular spot or just coming along for the ride, make travel time part of your London adventure with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. You’ll have the best views of the capital’s major sights like Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, London Eye, Battersea Power Station and so many more. A café bar is available on board with a range of refreshments and snacks. The River Bus service stops at world-famous London landmarks every 10-20 minutes.


As you sail into Santander, past golden beaches, and royal palaces, you’ll quickly realise this is no ordinary ferry port. Cosmopolitan Santander offers a memorable first taste of Spain. It’s a seaside city of enormous style, designed for strolling. Many of the shopping streets are pedestrian only, and the promenades are long, and tree lined.

The city is brimming with culture, with museums and concert halls, as well as a casino, terrace cafes, and elegant tree-lined street and shops. And the latest jewel in Santander’s crown is its cutting modern art museum perched over the waterfront, the Centro Botín.

Santander is the perfect gateway to Spain’s north with the snowy peaks of Picos de Europa, La Rioja wine region and the world famous St James’ Way (El camino de Santiago) all within easy reach. For those going on to the major holiday areas of Spain including Madrid, Segovia, Barcelona, the Mediterranean Coast, as well as to Portugal the excellent road and rail networks will take you there.


Bilbao’s a captivating juxtaposition of old and new. Modern buildings like the striking Guggenheim Museum jostle with the stunning Gothic architecture of Casco Viejo (the ‘Old Town’) with its narrow streets packed with tapas bars.

Explore the different quarters of the city by strolling alongside the river Nervión on its beautiful walkways and footbridges. With a strong shipbuilding past, Bilbao was once the second biggest industrial power in Spain, after Barcelona, and the city is undergoing a major regeneration process with dazzling new buildings including the Isozaki Atea skyscraper.

Bilbao makes the ideal gateway not only to the Basque country, but also to the Spanish costas as well as the holiday regions of southwest and Mediterranean France.