Step off the mainland and enjoy the UK coast from one of the best ferry routes available. Get your shades on, feel the breeze and admire stunning views. Here are top 5 ferry trip you can enjoy this summer:
1. Dartmouth to Kingswear, Devon
A floating platform lashed to a tug, the Dartmouth to Kingswear Lower Ferry works in a great setting. The steam engines on the Dartmouth Railway puff along the Kingswear side in summer, and the grand buildings of the Royal Naval College rear up on the Dartmouth side. To see both, you need to be out on the water – and the ferry is the easiest way.
Some of the beaches that you admire on the way: Blackpool Sands, Sugar Cove Beach, Leonards Cove Beach and Mill Bay Cove Beach.
Runs daily all year, 7am-10.55pm; £4 per car, foot passengers, £1.10. More info: www.southhams.gov.uk.
2. Guernsey to Sark, Channel Islands
The self-governing island of Sark remains a backwater of old-fashioned living as ferry is the only link to the outside world. The 45-minute journey from Guernsey’s St Peter Port is particularly scenic, passing the island of Herm en route. Transport on Sark is a choice of bicycle and horse-and-cart, so island life is particularly peaceful, but it isn’t poor: several islanders are nominal company directors, so standards of living are high.
Runs all year, five times daily in summer. Adult, £14; child, £6 www.sarkshipping.info.
3. Tenby to Caldey Island, Pembrokeshire
To discover beautiful Caldey Island that is only a 20-minute crossing from Tenby that is served by a shuttle system of converted fishing boats. Caldey Abbey is home to Cistercian monks, who make perfume and chocolate, and sell it in the monastery shop. The atmospheric former priory church of St Illtyd has touching messages on the wall, such as ‘To mom. I hope you are safe’.
Runs daily Easter to October, 10am-5pm; adult, £11 return, child, £6. More info: www.caldey-island.co.uk
4. Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna from Mallaig, Highlands
This quirky circuit takes in many island-scapes, from the sandy flatlands of Canna to the brooding mass of Rum. Each island has a story: Rum was once forbidden territory, Eigg’s residents did a buy-out and Muck is still owned by one family.
Run by MV Lochnevis, the trip lasts about eight hours, returning to Mallaig. Daily except Sundays. Non-landing cruise, £16. More info: www.calmac.co.uk
5. Sandbanks to Shell Bay, Dorset
The car-ferrying chain ferry across the mouth of Poole Harbour to the Isle of Purbeck and the Jurassic Coast is a bit of a Tardis among ferry crossings, transporting customers from the densely urbanised to the surprisingly rural in just four minutes. On the Swanage side, the first beach – Studland – is famous for nudists, and there’s a great walk out to Old Harry Rocks, with views of the Isle of Wight.
Ferry runs daily all year around, between 7am-11pm, £1 each way per pedestrian, £3.50 per car. More info: www.sandbanksferry.co.uk
We hope that you enjoyed this article and found a new way to discover our wonderful UK coast. If you know a ferry trip that we didn’t mention, please leave your comment below.