A unique expedition cruise with an itinerary tailored to extensive bird watching
For those who go off the beaten path, there are places in the British Isles where nature is still wild and history can be touched. Poseidon Expeditions invites you to experience an abundance of birdlife and an eventful 13-day program aboard 114-passenger expedition ship Sea Spirit visiting the best destinations for wildlife viewing.
08 May - 20 May 2022
Book your cruise today and get one step closer to your dream adventure!
Or scroll down to find out more details!
The birds you’ll be able to see in the cruise
Atlantic puffin
Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)
A beautiful black-and-white bird with a huge multicolored bill. Puffins cannot take off without a running start, but in the air, they can reach remarkable speeds of 55 miles per hour. Breeding is the only reason they go on land, preferring to burrow near cliff edges for quick access to the sea. They are excellent swimmers and use their wings to stroke underwater with a flying motion.
Northern gannet
Northern gannet (Morus bassanus)
Slender, easily recognizable by its long, sharp bill, and pointed tail. Adult species have a touch of gold at the crown. Known as relentless divers, with their eyes structurally adapted for plunges and spotting prey at the edge of the water. Large flocks of gannets nest on cliff edges, stalk the seas and plunge straight down, effortlessly avoiding collision with each other.
Northern fulmar
Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
A gull-like medium-sized bird with a short bill and a small rounded tail. Northern fulmars are know to have a surprisingly long lifespan of 30 and more years. They prefer resting on water and breed on steep sea cliffs. Can often be spotted from deck following the ship scavenging for easy prey – the discarded fish or offal.
Black-legged kittiwake
Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
A cliff-nesting gull with a small yellow bill, white tail with a black tip and black legs (hence the name). Feeds in flocks at the surface of the water, diving just below the water to catch prey. Spread wings show a dark “M” pattern. Spends most of its time at sea.
Razorbill (Alca torda)
A black seabird with a white underside, a blunt black bill and a thin white line in front of the eyes. An agile and nimble bird, commonly diving to escape predators. Chooses rocky islands, boulders and cliffs for breeding. Razorbills are monogamous, choosing one partner for life.
Arctic tern
Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)
A small grayish bird with angular wings, a breeding adult tern can be recognized by a red bill and legs, sporting a full black cap. This bird is well known for its yearly migration, traveling from pole to pole and covering a distance of about 25,000 miles each year. These social birds forage and nest in groups.
Common murreTake advantage of 15% early booking savings and join and an expedition cruise from Plymouth to Edinburgh.
Common murre (Uria aalge)
A penguin-like medium-sized bird with an entirely black head and white underside. Its egg is very pointed at one side, preventing it from rolling off the nesting shelf. Form colonies in shallow depressions cliffs, ledges and rocks. Dives underwater to capture prey, using its wings to swim.
European shag
European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Commonly referred to as shag, this medium-sized bird has a longish tail and yellow bill. The European shag is one of the deepest divers among the cormorant family. Adults have a small crest in the breeding season, choosing coastal areas of rocky cliffs or small caves to nest.
Download cruise guidebook
Let's go with us
Things to do on a British Isles cruise
Observe the pristine nature and abundant birdlife
Observe the pristine nature and abundant birdlife
Attend lectures from prominent scientists and invited experts
Attend lectures from prominent scientists and invited experts
Capture the best moments of the cruise on film
Capture the best moments of the cruise on film
Privately enjoy the intimate wildlife encounters
Privately enjoy the intimate wildlife encounters
Be among fellow like-minded travelers and bird enthusiasts
Be among fellow like-minded travelers and bird enthusiasts
Tick numerous bird species off your bucket list
Tick numerous bird species off your bucket list
Go on landings at some of the best birding destinations in Europe
Go on landings at some of the best birding destinations in Europe
Relax in your spacious and comfortable suite after a long day of activities
Relax in your spacious and comfortable suite after a long day of activities
Keep a voyage journal of all of your adventures
Keep a voyage journal of all of your adventures
Travel itinerary
British Isles Destination Map
Day 1:
Arrival in Heathrow Airport, London
Welcome to England and the start of your British Isles cruise! Our included pre-cruise hotel night at the Hilton Garden Inn, near Terminal 2, is designed to allow for a relaxing motorcoach transfer to Portsmouth the next morning. You’ll receive information about the time and place to meet the motorcoach at the hotel.
Day 2:
Embarkation in Portsmouth, England
Look for the Poseidon representative in the hotel’s lobby, who will direct you to our chartered motorcoach that will take us to Portsmouth. Considered the home of the Royal Navy, its rich maritime heritage sets the mood for the beginning of our exciting voyage. In the afternoon we welcome you aboard the deluxe expedition ship Sea Spirit.
Day 3:
Tresco, Scilly Isles, England
The Isles of Scilly is a group of small islands off the coast of Cornwall boasting mild weather, secluded beaches, enchanting wildlife and a relaxed lifestyle. On the lovely, sand-fringed island of Tresco, Bronze Age burial sites and romantic 17th-century castle ruins reveal a long and dramatic history. On the hallowed grounds of a Benedictine abbey we discover the exquisite Tresco Abbey Garden with its spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants from all corners of the world. Here we also find the Valhalla Museum, a collection of colorful figureheads salvaged from the islands’ shipwrecks. Delightful cafés and local shops enrich your experience even further.
Day 4:
Dunmore East, Republic of Ireland
Dunmore East is a popular tourist and fishing village in County Waterford on Ireland’s southeastern coast. From here it is a short journey through scenic countryside to the House of Waterford Crystal. Here you can take a guided tour of the factory to see the master craftsmen at work as well as the world’s largest collection of their wares. Also nearby is Mount Congreve, a magnificent 18th-century Georgian estate and botanical gardens containing thousands of plant species on 70 acres of intensively planted woodland and a four-acre walled garden.
Day 5:
Saltee Islands, Republic of Ireland
Our plan is to visit the the Saltee Islands. The larger island, Great Saltee, is the most famous bird sanctuary in Ireland. These Islands are privately owned and are one of the world's major bird sanctuaries. The Saltees are a haven for sea birds, nurturing an impressive array of Gannets and Gulls to Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. They also lie on an important migratory route and a popular stopping-off place for spring and autumn migrants.
Day 6:
Llandudno, Wales
Our port for today is the vibrant seaside town of Llandudno in the north of Wales. From here we embark on a scenic overland tour of Snowdonia National Park. We drive through some of the wildest and most dramatic landscapes in Britain as we discover craggy mountains, stunning waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, dense woodlands and flowering meadows. Snowdonia is also renowned for wildlife including otters, water voles, wild ponies and rare birds such as dotterel and peregrine falcon. We enjoy a delightful stop at the charming and distinctively Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed in the Gwydyr Forest.
Visit to the Conwy Castle is also on our list. UNESCO considers Conwy to be one of "the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe", and it is classed as a World Heritage site. Divided into an Inner and an Outer Ward, it is defended by eight large towers and two barbicans, with a postern gate leading down to the river, allowing the castle to be resupplied from the sea.
Day 7:
Portrush and Rathlin Island: Northern Ireland
This morning, we disembark at the small seaside resort town of Portrush in Northern Ireland. We travel overland to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. Here we discover a geological masterpiece—40,000 closely packed hexagonal basalt columns of varying heights descending like a staircase into the sea. According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. In this area we are also able to spot various seabirds such as fulmar, petrel, cormorant, shag, redshank, guillemot and razorbill.
This afternoon, we’ll pause at Rathlin Island, the only inhabited offshore island of Northern Ireland with a population of about 150. It’s a popular spot for daytrippers, who come to see the tens of thousands of common guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills. The island is of prehistoric volcanic origin, and is one of 43 Special Areas of Conservation in Northern Ireland.
Day 8:
Inner Hebrides, Scotland
Weather permitting, we also plan to visit the uninhabited island of Staffa. This island of volcanic origin is easily recognized by its striking colonnade of hexagonal basalt pillars. Here we hope to explore the island’s most famous feature, Fingal’s Cave. Reaching deep into the island, the undulating sea plays upon the stunning matrix of columnar basalt to create an eerie melody which was the inspiration for Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. The rugged island also provides nesting sites for seabirds including guillemots, razorbills and puffins.
Today we also explore beautiful and serene Iona, a small island in the Inner Hebrides just off the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. At the gorgeous Iona Abbey, founded in 563 AD, we are spellbound by one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites and indeed one of the oldest Christian religious centers in Western Europe. The adjacent graveyard is said to be the final resting place of numerous medieval kings, including Macbeth. In addition to its historical and religious significance, Iona is well known for its soul-soothing tranquility, white sand beaches and excellent birdwatching.
Day 9:
Outer Hebrides, Scotland
The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are a chain of dramatically rugged islands off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The most isolated of these is St Kilda. This remote and storm-ravaged island was continuously inhabited for at least two millennia by peoples of extraordinary hardiness. But as the modern world closed in after World War I, the remaining inhabitants chose to evacuate. Now we find only their rough stone buildings and distinctive storehouses called cleitean, all set amidst some of the most dramatic island scenery in the British Isles. Nature-lovers will be delighted, as the island is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, two early types of sheep, and over 130 species of flowering plants.
We’ll also plan for a close cruise-by of Stac Lee, a sea stack about four miles northeast of St. Kilda’s main island of Hirta. It is home to part of the world’s largest colony of northern gannet. When St. Kilda had a permanent population, islanders would come here, precariously leaping ashore to hunt birds and gather eggs.
Day 10:
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Today, we’ll disembark in Stromness for an overland tour of Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Attractions such as the well-preserved 5000-year-old village site at Skara Brae and the ancient Ring of Brodgar within the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” showcase the world-class cultural heritage of the island. We finish our island tour in the charming village of Kirkwall, where find the landmark Saint Magnus Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. You will also have free time to roam the old streets of Kirkwall and enjoy its unique atmosphere before we head to our next destination.
Day 11:
Shetland Islands
On Fair Isle—an isolated island of rolling moorlands and rugged coastlines—one is easily enchanted by historic crofts, picturesque lighthouses, and friendly locals. The island is famous among birders for its abundance of British birds and for its numerous records of eastern rarities and migrants. Fair Isle is also one of Europe’s best places to watch seabirds, especially puffins, at close range. Additionally, the island is notable for the abundance and diversity of its wildflowers. Seals are also commonly seen in its bays. Finally, during our visit it will be possible to see and purchase articles hand-knitted in the intricate and distinctive style for which Fair Isle has been celebrated for hundreds of years.
Day 12:
Isle of May and Bass Rock, Scotland
Both of these uninhabited islands are in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. The Isle of May is a national nature reserve and includes significant colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags, cormorants and terns. Harbor seals and grey seals can be spotted along the shores. There are also some historic architectural sites, including St. Ardin’s Chapel, the lighthouse and the Low and Light Cottages.
The island known as “the Bass” plays host to over 150,000 northern gannets in the breeding season, making it the world’s largest colony of these magnificent birds. The island’s steep walls are white with guano and the sky all around is darkened by the vast multitude of seabirds in flight. Our voyage is perfectly timed to coincide with this amazing spectacle—truly one of the wildlife wonders of the world.
Day 13:
Disembarkation in Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland
After breakfast on board Sea Spirit we say farewell in Leith, Edinburgh’s vibrant port district. We provide transfers to the airport or to Edinburgh city center if you wish to spend more time in the wonderful capital of Scotland.
Your experienced guides on this birdwatching voyage
Expedition leader
Dr. Huw Lewis-jones
Polar historian

Huw is a historian with a PhD from the University of Cambridge and the author of award-winning books, now living in Cornwall.

As an experienced polar guide, over the last decade Huw has wandered on both sides of Antarctica and in the Arctic, from the Ross Sea and the Southern Ocean, to Siberia, Greenland and the North Pole.

Back in Britain, Huw regularly appears on television, BBC documentaries and radio as a historian and cultural commentator.

Region Expert
Dan Brown

Dan is a nomadic British naturalist who has spent his entire life searching for weird and wonderful wildlife around the world.

After studying Ecology at the University of East Anglia, Norwich he became a professional Ornithologist and Ecologist publishing two books on British birds.

Dan now works all around the world as a lecturer, naturalist, photographer, consultant ecologist and scientific advisor to the BBC natural history unit.

M/v Sea Spirit is the best ship to experience the British Isles
Contemporary international cuisine
Contemporary international cuisine
Presentation lounge with state-of-the-art equipment for lectures
Presentation lounge with state-of-the-art equipment for lectures
A fleet of Zodiacs for close-up cruising and landings
A fleet of Zodiacs for close-up cruising and landings
Spacious and comfortable suites that feel like a five-star hotel
Spacious and comfortable suites that feel like a five-star hotel
Intimate, club-like atmosphere with only 114 passengers aboard
Intimate, club-like atmosphere with only 114 passengers aboard
Big enough to not be scared of rough seas, yet petite to sail to most islands
Big enough to not be scared of rough seas, yet petite to sail to most islands
Poseidon’s 114-passenger Sea Spirit is just the right size to maneuver into the secluded harbors and bays and reach the most remote islands while providing safe and comfortable cruising. Travelers are sure to be impressed with spacious staterooms, thoughtful amenities, and fine cuisine. The open decks provide an ideal platform for wildlife viewing and nature photography.
Contact us today and get one step closer to your dream adventure!
Thanks for submitting the form