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Flying The Flag: Your Complete Destination Guide For A British Isles Cruise

Best British Isles cruise for beach lovers

South coast & Isles of Scilly

England’s south coast is the stuff of summer dreams, with miles of golden sands to satisfy even the most demanding of Med-loving cruisers. Leading the way are Devon and Cornwall, with more than 400 beaches between them.

In Cornwall, most small-ship cruises stop at Falmouth – the gateway to the Cornish coast, with its deep natural harbour and yacht-packed marina. The town is a jumble of winding lanes and traditional pubs, with four top-class beaches and Cornwall’s National Maritime Museum. Just a short walk away, west of Pendennis Castle, lies Gyllyngvase Beach, where you’ll find white sands, flora-covered green slopes and the blue waters of the English Channel. On hot days, visitors should frequent Roskilly’s Ice Cream Parlour for some classic West Country sweet treats.

Cornwall’s-Swanpool-Cove
Cornwall’s Swanpool Cove

Devon also offers an abundance of beaches, and many can be accessed from its main port of Plymouth – a thriving waterfront city steeped in maritime history.

Nearby Wembury is perfect for families, set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and lined with countless rock pools. With its golden beach, sheltered by towering cliffs, Bovisand is also a must-see for visitors to the area, while lovers of secluded, more secretive coves should head to Mothecombe. Situated on a private estate, the shallow waters are ideal for beginners to try their hand at windsurfing or bodyboarding.

While Devon and Cornwall reign supreme on the mainland, for powder-soft shores you’d mistake for the Med, there’s nowhere like the Isles of Scilly. Head to Tresco for the romantic Pentle Bay, St Mary’s for rock-pooling on Porthloo Beach, or Great Bay on St Martin’s (recently voted the best beach in the UK) for swimming.

Ready for a West Country adventure? Fred Olsen Cruises champions sailings along the south coast, running popular taster cruises around Devon and Cornwall, while Oceania Cruises drops anchor at the Isles of Scilly.