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6 UNIQUE FERRY TRIPS TO TAKE IN THE UK

Image of a ferry between islands

Did you know that around 4,400 islands make up the British Isles, although only around 210 are inhabited. UK ferry journeys can offer a fresh perspective on the coastline. To add a voyage to your overland journey, find inspiration with this collection of six of the country’s most unique crossings.  

Scrabster to Stromness, Orkney 

The wonderfully named Scrabster, on Scotland’s North coast, is a jumping off point for a short-ish (90 minute) hop to the Orkney archipelago. It takes passengers past the Old Man of Hoy, a famed 137m high sea stack off the coast.  The archaeological wonders on Stromness (below) are something else. 

Incredible archaeology in Stromness, Orkney.

Glenelg to Kylerhea, Skye  

The original crossing point between Skye (pictured below) and the mainland, a small ferry crosses this narrow channel in season. It’s an unusual turntable design, so the ferry pulls up alongside the slipway and the crew turn the deck to embark cars and passengers. Sure, you can drive over the bridge to get to Skye these days, but if you do you’ll miss the sea eagles, otters and seals that frequent the waters. Grab a coffee at the Shore Station café to stop and enjoy the view.  

Small boat passing Skye, Scotland

Kingswear to Dartmouth 

Crossing the water saves drivers a lengthy detour round the river Dart and gives a lovely view of the picturesque harbour town, including the castle and Royal Naval College; keep eyes peeled for helicopters as well as wildlife. Two boats make the crossing, straightforwardly named Lower Ferry or Higher Ferry. 

Kingswear to Dartmouth Ferry, Devon

Lymington to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight 

The shortest route across the Solent, this 40-minute journey spirits you from the New Forest to the tranquil Isle of Wight, passing Hurst Castle on the way. On the other side of the water you’ll see its counterpart, Yarmouth Castle, which was built by Henry VIII as a gun platform to defend the waterway.  

Feock to Philleigh, Cornwall 

Another time and mile saver, this crossing saves drivers the 27-mile alternative route round the Truro River. The King Harry Ferry (pictured below) has been transporting passengers to the Roseland peninsula since 1888, and today’s incarnation offers calming views through the glass side, and a view onto the chains guiding the boat across the water.  Find out more about the route at Fal River Ferries

 

King Harry Ferry, Cornwall, (c) https://www.falriver.co.uk

Penzance to St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly   

Affectionately known as the Vomit Comet, thanks to the rough ride it can offer in high seas, the Scillonian III takes passengers on a nearly three-hour journey to the UK’s southernmost islands. Hope that the weather is fine so that you can enjoy the beautiful views of Cornwall’s coast as it glides past. Explore timetables for your next adventure with Isles of Scilly Travel

Scillonian Ferry (c) iselesofscilly-travel.co.uk

Inspired to take a road trip, boat trip or best-of-both-worlds trip? When travelling across the UK to actual ports or simply metaphorical ports of call, don’t forget to check that The Extra Mile is in your glovebox (with the Venue Finder on home-screen speed-dial) to ensure your journey eats are as memorable as the trip itself. Get your copy here

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FAVOURITE UK WATERFALLS

Autumnal waterfall image

As a rainy, lumpy country, there is no shortage of waterfalls in the UK. After a hot, dry summer where most dwindled to trickles, one benefit of the seasonal turn to drizzle is that the waterfalls are back in full display. Waterfalls also emit negative ions which are said to be good for your health, helping with mood, sleep, metabolism and our immune systems. For a truly restorative stop, work one of these into your journey. 

Waterfall Country: The Brecon Beacons National Park

Though famous and increasingly popular, it would be churlish not to mention the Brecon Beacon’s famous waterfalls at the southwestern corner of the national park. The Four Falls Trail is a well-trodden route taking in several of the area’s finest. Wales’s answer to the rain forest, the area is as magical as it is fragile, so do make sure you stick to the paths and take litter home (which we hope would be a no brainer). Visit Waterfalls Country on the National Park website – the lovely falls pictured below are in Neath.

Neath Waterfall, Wales

Grey Mare’s Tail, Dumfries

Watch the water tumble 60m from Loch Skeen into the Moffat Valley. Consider a ranger-guided walk to learn more about the fossils, rare upland plants, ring ouzels and vendace found here. The drive from the M74 to the reserve along the A708 is said to be one of Scotland’s most scenic as well. Find out more with the National Trust for Scotland 

Thornton Force, Yorkshire

A popular cascade on Yorkshire’s waterfall circuit, the water here falls over the edge of a limestone cliff to dramatic effect. It’s one of several falls on the Ingleton Waterfalls walk (so named for the nearest town) and is the most popular. If you want it to yourself, try timing your visit for a weekday. The Dales are home to more than 50 waterfalls, so if you’d rather find a lesser known one, try one on this list. Uncover the area courtesy of the My Yorkshire Dales website.

Aber Falls, Snowdonia, (c) Snowdonia.gov.wales

Aber Falls, Snowdonia

Just a short distance from the A55, Aber Falls (pictured above) is an impressive introduction to the Snowdonia National Park. It’s at the foothills of the Carneddau where the Afon Goch (Red River) descends into the Menai Straits. The 4.5km path is accessible to all and has picnic areas and open spaces for running off some steam. Explore Aber Falls online before planning your trip. Image (c) Snowdonia.gov.wales.

Hellgill Force, Cumbria

Although Aira Force is arguably Cumbria’s most famous (and there ought to be a lot of waterfalls in England’s watery lake district), Hellgill Force is an impressive slot-canyon fall at the start of the River Eden under the Crinkle Crags fell. It’s easy to reach from the B6259 and there’s a small parking area available at Aisgill Moor Cottages. Find out more about Aira and its neighbouring falls here at Visit Cumbria.   

North Glen Sannox, Arran

Beautifully clear waters slip over the granite stone here in a pretty series of waterfalls (pictured below). If your trip is taking you out to the islands of Scotland’s west coast, make this one of your stops. And if the islands aren’t on your itinerary, consider adding Arran, which at a 55-minute ferry ride from Ardrossan, is one of Scotland’s most accessible. Explore North Glen Sannox’s pools and falls.

North Glen Sannox, Arran

Water-break-its-neck, Powys

So memorably named we had to include this one in mid-Wales! At Water-break-its-neck, hills and rivers combine to create a selection of tall falls. It’s easy to reach through a forested path and is suitable for little legs as it’s only a kilometre there and back from the car park. Explore Water-break-its-neck (pictured below) and surrounds on this Country File recommended walk.

Water-break-its-neck Falls