AS A result of the coronavirus pandemic there has been a surge in interest holidays closer to home with concerns over long travel.

Ferry bosses have reported an average increase of 116% in bookings since Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown was unveiled on 22nd February 2021.

To inspire holidaymakers, industry body Discover Ferries has compiled the dream destinations that Brits might not believe are on their doorstep.

Abby Penlington, director of Discover Ferries, said: “Due to uncertainty over travelling further afield, it makes sense that consumers are looking to stay closer to home and considering trips in the British Isles and neighbouring European countries that are progressing well with their own vaccination programmes.”

She added: “By no means does staying locally mean that travellers need to miss out on exotic experiences, as there are plenty of extraordinary locations within reach of our shores.


“From daytrips and staycations to European getaways, ferry travel offers passengers the freedom to explore and a feeling of escape – quite literally the breath of fresh air we all need after staying home for so long.

“These destinations prove that there are some remarkable locations surprisingly close by.”

Doorstep destinations that feel a world away

Looks like Ha Long Bay, actually Guernsey

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©VisitGuerseyImage credit ©VisitGuersey

Boat trips on the turquoise waters off Guernsey’s rugged south coast are reminiscent of Vietnam’s spectacular Ha Long Bay – but with far less traffic. Condor Ferries operates routes from Poole and Portsmouth to Guernsey.

Looks like Tahiti, actually Western France

South Wales Argus: Tourisme Bretagne – Image credit ©Thibault PorielTourisme Bretagne – Image credit ©Thibault Poriel

Brittany’s Ile Callot may look like a Polynesian paradise but is actually only a ferry trip across the Channel. Travellers can also enjoy the neighbouring Tahiti beach, the sandy shores, cocktail bars and happy vibe mean it shares more than just a name with the popular honeymoon destination. 

Brittany Ferries operates routes from Plymouth to Roscoff and from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and Saint Malo, DFDS runs a service between Newhaven and Dieppe. DFDS and P&O Ferries also run crossings from Dover to France. 

Looks like the Australian Outback, actually the Isle of Man

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©Visit Isle of ManImage credit ©Visit Isle of Man

After a chance escape from a wildlife park several decades ago, the island has a thriving wild wallaby population. The winding footpath through the Ballaugh Curraghs is the best place to spot the marsupials, which are native to Australia. Families can even download the “Where’s Wally the Wallaby?” trail map from Visit Isle of Man

Travel to the Isle of Man with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Please check the latest Isle of Man Government guidance for travellers

Looks like Iceland, actually the Isle of Wight

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©WightlinkImage credit ©Wightlink

The Isle of Wight is home to many breath-taking beaches but the rocky, rugged and wild landscape at Freshwater Bay makes it one of the most picturesque. At low tide, beachcombers are rewarded with rockpools teeming with life. 

Travel to the Isle of Wight with WightlinkRed Funnel and Hovertravel.  

Looks like New Zealand, actually Northern Ireland

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©Tourism IrelandImage credit ©Tourism Ireland

The Mourne Mountains have been crowned Best Walking Destination in Northern Ireland thanks to the spectacular scenery and diverse geography found within the range. With a third (32%) of the public taking up walking during lockdown2 and keen to continue this hobby in their holiday and leisure time, the mountains will make ramblers feel like intrepid explorers. 

Sail to Belfast with Stena Line from Liverpool and Cairnryan, P&O Ferries operates a route between Cairnryan and Larne.

Looks like the Caribbean, actually Scotland

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©Visit Scotland Image credit ©Visit Scotland

Visitors will be forgiven for mistaking the white sandy beaches of Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris for a far-flung destination. The island has been voted the best in Europe, blessed with crystal clear waters and fantastic seafood helping tourists to feel a million miles away.

Travel to Harris with Caledonian MacBrayne, which offers routes from Skye or can be incorporated in an island-hopping tour from Barra.

Looks like California, actually the Netherlands

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©Visit HollandImage credit ©Visit Holland

California surfin’ dreams can be made on this stretch of beach in Vlieland, Holland. Our research shows a quarter of Brits are looking to be more active on their next trip2 and whether you’re a surfing pro’ or expecting to wipeout every time, you’ll certainly get a good workout while riding the waves. 

DFDS runs ferries from Newcastle to Amsterdam, P&O Ferries operates services from Hull to Rotterdam and Stena Line offers crossings from Harwich to the Hook of Holland.

Looks like Italy, actually Ireland

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©Chris Hill Tourism IrelandImage credit ©Chris Hill Tourism Ireland

Located on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Bantry House boasts European-style terraced gardens. Inspired by the second Earl’s travels, visitors will feel transported to the Mediterranean and enjoying the tranquillity found amidst the estate’s impressive wisteria. 

Irish Ferries runs daily sailings from Holyhead to Dublin and Pembroke to Rosslare, P&O Ferries operates crossings between Liverpool and Dublin and Stena Line offers services from Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare.

Looks like Hong Kong, actually Canary Wharf

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©UnsplashImage credit ©Unsplash

While we might be familiar with the famous Westminster monuments dominating London’s skyline, the towering skyscrapers of Canary Wharf give a glimpse into slick modern metropolitan life. At night it almost looks futuristic!

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers enables Londoners and visitors to take in the city’s sights from the water, there’s even an on board bar to add sophistication to the moonlit river cruise experience.  

Looks like the Maldives, actually the Scilly Isles

South Wales Argus: Image credit ©Isles of Scilly TravelImage credit ©Isles of Scilly Travel

Privy to some of Britain’s warmest waters, the Cornish archipelago looks and feels like heaven. Sandy beaches, shipwrecks and sub-tropical flora and fauna give visitors a taste of the exotic, but it is the gentler pace of life that really sets a relaxed holiday vibe.

Isles of Scilly Travel transports sea passengers on The Scillonian departing from Penzance to St Mary’s Harbour.