With cruise ports dotted all across the UK, you don’t have to travel far to start your exciting cruise – choose your nearest one and there’s often no need to step on a plane. Take a look at our UK cruise guide to find out all the essentials on the top ports in the UK. From the small to the vast, we detail which ports to head to for tours of the UK, Europe and many destinations beyond.

Southampton

Hampshire, England.

The biggest and arguably most important of all UK cruise ports, Southampton has four terminals serving an estimated one million cruise passengers per year. It also takes in a vast range of destinations among its 200+ annual departures. Southampton’s port can be reached in less than 10 minutes from the city’s railway station and airport. It’s also only 10 minutes from the M27 motorway, while a train from London Waterloo takes around an hour.

Ships and destinations

Southampton hosts a number of leading cruise lines. Take a transatlantic trip or a European jaunt on Cunard, Queen Elizabeth, or try out trips like the Channel Islands Sampler on Princess Cruises, Sapphire Princess.

Marella’s largest ship, Marella Discovery, runs exciting Baltic itineraries from Southampton. Highlights include eight nights delving into the Fantastic Fjords, or a longer stay on the 14-night Seeking the Northern Lights cruise.

A number of P&O Cruises’ ships also dock in Southampton. You can discover Europe on Azura, or combine Spain and Portugal with the Canary Islands on Oriana.

Newcastle

Tyne & Wear, England

Over 675,000 cruise and ferry passengers pass through the Port of Tyne every year, many of them stopping to take in cultured Newcastle itself with its excellent galleries and nightlife scene. Newcastle is ideally placed on the northeast coast for cruises to Scandinavia and the Baltic, and attracts cruise-goers from Birmingham up to Scotland. Within easy reach of the A1 by car, you could alternatively get the train in and taxi the 20 minutes from Newcastle Central Station, while Newcastle Airport is also only 30 minutes’ drive from the cruise terminal.

Ships and destinations

Marella Cruises depart from Newcastle, taking in 23 countries and 112 points of call including the Highlands of Scotland, Norwegian Fjords, Scandinavia and the Baltic region. Marella Discovery comes complete with an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall and indoor pool to use when you’re not in port. Its journeys cover an eight-night Wonder of the Fjords return trip, as well as the 14-night Norway’s Midnight Sun cruise.

Norway Fjords

Cruise & Maritime Voyages also sails its new flagship, Magellan, from Newcastle. Larger than other Cruise & Maritime ships, it takes in the Fjordlands, Baltics and St. Petersburg as well as one-night taster cruises to Dundee and London. You can travel on a Baltic Cities & St. Petersburg cruise for 14 nights and add on a British Isles Disco to make it 24 nights in total.

Liverpool

Merseyside, England

Liverpool’s port is on the up, with a 10-year plan in full swing for a larger terminal that can accommodate bigger ships. Currently embarkation is from the out-of-town Langton Docks, but ships visiting the port for shore excursions arrive into the City Terminal, with the modern skyline in glorious view and shops and museums within easy walking distance.

The City Terminal is only a five-minute walk from the city centre, a five-minute taxi drive or 20-minute walk from Lime Street railway station, and Langton Docks are a 20-minute taxi ride away. Liverpool John Lennon Airport is eight miles away, or if driving you’ll arrive via the M6 to secure parking at the city port’s Pier Head.

Ships and destinations

Cruise & Maritime Voyages runs a number of Liverpool departures. Among the options are hopping across to Dublin and Cobh for the weekend on Cruise & Maritime’s Ocean MS Marco Polo. Other itineraries take in Iceland, the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira, while longer trips pass through the Med to the Indian Ocean.

Dublin, Ireland

Tilbury

Essex/East London, England

The closest deep water port to London, Tilbury is located just outside of Greater London’s boundary along the River Thames in Essex. You can start your cruise in style as the terminal is housed in a Grade II listed building, opened by the Prime Minister no less, in 1930. Arrive as you mean to go on via boat from Tower Bridge, which will transport you the 22 nautical miles to Tilbury. More standard arrivals are via the M25, leaving at junction 30, or on a train arriving at Tilbury Town station. All five of London’s main airports are within an hour’s drive.

Ships and destinations

Another port served by Cruise & Maritime Voyages, departures head for Norway, Northern Europe and Baltic Sea destinations such as Copenhagen, the Arctic and the Canaries. It’s also a top port of call for British Isles cruises.

Copenhagen

Starting from a 12-night British Isles Discovery onboard Cruise & Maritime’s Columbus, journeys traverse as far as the Amazon, West Indies & Azores cruise on Magellan. Astor even has itineraries to Australia.

The choice of which UK port to travel from isn’t always clear cut. You can go for a large port that lays on the most sailings, or you might prefer the ease of a smaller port. Whatever you choose, be sure to enjoy the surroundings before you head off on your next cruise.

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