Trip Type : Small Ship Cruise
Fishing Boats on Island-England-650542-P

The Splendor of Spring in the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly

Road Scholar Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
90%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
From: Check price
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Overview

Highlights

  • Discover the car-free Channel Island of Sark on a horse-drawn carriage excursion.
  • Sail to idyllic Tresco to discover the subtropical Tresco Abbey Gardens.
  • Explore tiny Bryher’s diverse environments from arable fields to heathland to sandy beaches.

Short Description

This trip has been discontinued. Instead see

Heart of Ireland in 8 Days Tour

Best of New York, Montreal & New England

Scotland




Alive with birdsong, festooned with brightly blooming flowers, the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly offer a delightful experience of spring. Navigate crystal clear waters and go ashore on white sand beaches that wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean on this expedition voyage. Stroll through magnificent gardens on Sark and subtropical Tresco, explore the tiny, seldom-visited isles of Bryher and Herm and learn what makes island environments unique from expert naturalists.

Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Trip Type Small Ship Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City London
End City London

Trip Includes

  • Free round-trip airfare from JFK is included in the program price. Other cities available at low cost.
  • 8 nights of accommodations
  • 23 meals: 8 breakfasts, 1 brunch, 6 lunches, 8 dinners
  • 7 Field trips
  • Learning led by expert instructors who are authorities in the field of study.
  • An experienced Group Leader attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants.
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program that you would normally pay yourself.
  • The Road Scholar Travel Assistance Plan, which is purchased on behalf of every participant and provides 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance services coverage.
  • Taxes
  • State-of-the-art QUIETVOX listening devices

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Itinerary

Day 1: Flights Depart

In Flight

Evening: Flights to London depart the U.S.

Day 2: Arrivals / London, England

London  D  Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square

Afternoon: Meet with your group for introductions, a review of the program itinerary and site orientation.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: London, England / Embark MV Sea Explorer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Sea Explorer

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and meet your local guide for an exploration of London.

Lunch: At a local pub.

Afternoon: Transfer to Portsmouth (approximately 2 hours) to embark the MV Sea Explorer.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 4: Guernsey & Herm, Channel Islands

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Arrive this morning on Guernsey, the "Island of Flowers". There will be the option of a walking tour of St. Peter Port including a visit to Castle Cornet, a 12th century battlement which guards the entrance to St. Peter Port Harbour. Alternatively, enjoy a panoramic drive during which we will see the beautiful coastline and beaches and also visit the Little Chapel, built in 1914 as a miniature version of the famous basilica at Lourdes and covered in fragments of shattered china.

Lunch: On board the ship as you sail to Herm.

Afternoon: This afternoon we are on Herm, just one and a half miles long and half a mile wide. Herm is perfect for exploring on foot. You will have some free time to explore and perhaps take a stroll over to Shell Beach.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 5: Sark & Alderney, Channel Islands

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Over breakfast we sail to Sark which until recently was Europe's last feudal estate. Zodiac landing craft bring us ashore for a visit to the enchanting Seigneury Gardens. Horse drawn carriages take us around this peaceful traffic free island which is alive with the songs of chaffinches, skylarks and mistle thrush.

Lunch: On board the ship as you sail towards Alderney.

Afternoon: On Alderney you will visit the island's only town, St. Anne, which has all the old-world charm of a Normandy village with tiny squares and pastel shaded cottages and shops. Enjoy a free afternoon walking along the pretty quiet lanes or heading to the cliffs. If weather permits we will run a Zodiac cruise around the gannets colonies to the south of the island.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 6: Tresco & Bryher, Isles of Scilly

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Spend the morning on traffic free Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather this miracle of a garden is the perfect spot for a morning of plant and bird spotting.

Lunch: On board the ship as you sail towards Bryher.

Afternoon: Bryher is the smallest of the inhabited Isles of Scilly. Either enjoy time to relax, exploring independently or join our naturalists on guided walks as they explore the fauna and flora of the island.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 7: St Martins and St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning we visit the northernmost island of the group - St. Martins. We have the morning to explore independently or maybe join one of our birders on a guided walk or climb to one of the viewpoints for vistas over the islands.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Our exploration of the islands continues with an afternoon on St. Mary's and the quaint capital of Hugh Town. You have the chance to wander around this charming town, visit the local museum or walk one of the coastal trails.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 8: St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Sea Explorer

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Spend the morning on St Agnes, the most south westerly community in the UK. Surrounded by rocks and reefs, this delightful tiny island offers marvellous coastal walks. The small island of Gugh lies across a narrow sandbar and here we find a single stone monolith called the "Old Man of Gugh" which dates back to the Bronze Age.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure as the ship sails back to Portsmouth harbor.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Day 9: Portsmouth, UK / Disembark / Transfer to London

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Disembark the ship, and board your coach for a morning exploration of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home to the Royal Navy. Discovery the historic ships HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and the Mary Rose Museum (opened in 2013). The new museum provides one of the most significant insights into Tudor life in the world and creates the new centerpiece to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Continue to tour the harbor, with unrivaled views of Britains modern frigates, destroyers and helicopter carriers, as well as historic buildings, sights and ships.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Coach to London to check into your hotel for 1 night. Afternoon at leisure in London.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Day 10: London / Departures

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Group transfer to the airport for flights returning to North America.

Availability

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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

41 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

90%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 34
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.5

The Splendor of Spring in the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly

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Company Reviews

Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Club Quarters - Trafalgar Square

2 nights  London

Sea Explorer

6 nights  Belgravia, London

The deluxe Sea Explorer is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2005, it has 57 suites. This small ship offers several advantages that mass cruiseliners cannot match. It can dock or anchor almost anywhere and are not limited to large commercial ports. The Sea Explorer can slip into small towns and tiny fishing villages. The ship's 70 officers and crew ensure personalized service.

Trip ID#:

TheSplRoa

Trip Excludes

  • Passport expense
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses

Meals Included:

8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches and 8 Dinners

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