What are the best UK cruises for experiencing traditional Highland games on shore?

11 June 2024

If you're on a quest to explore the Scottish highlands' breath-taking beauty, then embarking on a cruise can be one of the best decisions you will ever make. As you sail through the pristine lochs and enjoy the panoramic view from the deck, you will be taken aback by the grandeur of Scotland. But, the thrill doesn't end there. A high-grade cruise offers much more than just the views; especially, if you're looking to experience traditional Highland games onshore.

Through this article, we'll guide you through the best UK cruises that will give you a taste of the Highland games—a spectacular blend of sports, culture, and festival.

The Distinct Saga of Highland Games

If you're unfamiliar with the term, Highland games are traditional Scottish events with roots going back centuries. They offer a mesmerising blend of athletics, dancing, piping and some events that are downright quirky but enjoyable.

Standing on the deck of a cruise ship, as you spot the Scottish athletes compete in the caber toss or hammer throw, you can feel the adrenaline rush. The sound of bagpipes playing in the background adds a unique Scottish charm to the whole scenario.

The best part is, these games happen throughout the summer in different parts of Scotland. So, no matter when you plan your cruise, you're likely to find one happening during your visit.

Best Cruises to Experience Highland Games

Choosing the right cruise is paramount to your Highland games experience. Therefore, consider the following cruises that have been handpicked for their excellent itinerary, onboard facilities, and, of course, the opportunity they provide to experience the Highland games.

Saga Cruises

Saga Cruises have a reputation for their luxurious services and excellent itineraries. With the 'Scottish Highlands and Islands' tour, they take it up a notch. This 9-night cruise will take you to some of the most scenic parts of Scotland, including Loch Lomond and the Isles of Skye.

Their itinerary is designed in a way that allows you to explore the onshore beauty of Scotland during the day, while at night, you can retire to the cruise's comfortable ambiance. The price of the cruise includes insurance, ensuring a worry-free journey. And, if your schedule aligns with the game's dates, you can experience the thrill of traditional Scottish sports.

Hebridean Island Cruises

If you're looking for a more intimate cruise experience, Hebridean Island Cruises is the perfect choice. They offer a 7-night 'Highland Heritage' tour, which covers some of the most iconic locations in Scotland, including the Edinburgh Castle and the isles of Mull.

With a smaller passenger count, these cruises ensure a personalised service. From the deck, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Scottish highlands and lochs. Moreover, if you're fortunate, you might also enjoy the games at Tobermory, a popular venue for Highland games.

Exploring the Onshore Beauty

Scotland is not just about the highlands and games. If you've taken a day off from the games or want to explore Scotland beyond the games, your cruise trip offers plenty of opportunities.

Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, is one of the popular stops for many cruises. With its cobblestone streets and medieval architecture, the city offers a journey back in time. Must-visit landmarks include the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and the Holyrood Palace.

Several lochs are also included in the itineraries of the cruises. Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Loch Fyne—each of them offers a distinct aura and breathtaking views. You might even spot the 'Nessie,' the Loch Ness Monster if you're lucky enough!

Ensuring a Comfortable Journey

A successful cruise trip requires careful planning and the right choices. Always consider the time of your visit. Since Highland games are held in summer, plan your trip accordingly. Also, take into account the price of the cruise, which can vary based on the services, facilities and duration of the tour.

Importantly, ensure your cruise package includes insurance. It not only covers any unforeseen circumstances during your journey but also provides peace of mind, helping you enjoy your journey to the fullest.

Whether it's the view of the Scottish highlands from the deck, the thrill of Highland games or the exploration of onshore beauty, a well-planned cruise trip offers an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, embark on a high-grade cruise, and get ready to explore Scotland like never before.

Delving Deeper into the Deck Plans

As you plan to embark on your cruise to experience the Scottish highlands and Highland games, understanding the deck plan becomes all the more crucial for a comfortable journey. This plan will provide you with a comprehensive layout of the ship, helping you understand where your plan cabin is located, the proximity of your cabin to the ship's amenities, and the view deck.

Your cabin grade is equally significant. It determines the level of luxury and convenience you will enjoy during your journey. A suite balcony for instance, will offer you the best views of the Scottish highlands, while a previous view cabin might not be as spectacular.

Getting acquainted with the deck plan also allows you to discover the ship's various amenities. Be it the restaurant where you'll savour delicious meals, the entertainment area where you can relax or the deck from where you'll marvel at the beauty of the Loch Ness or other mesmerising lochs, you can plan all this in advance.

Understanding the deck plan will not just make your journey comfortable, but also ensure you make the most out of your cruise experience. So, take time to delve into the deck plan and choose the cabin that suits your preferences.

A Memorable End with a Day Tour on Jacobite Steam Train

A high-grade cruise trip to experience the Highland games isn't complete without a day tour on the Jacobite Steam Train. Known as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world, this train journey can add a unique charm to your Scotland trip.

Starting from Fort William, the steam train takes you on a breathtaking ride through the best Scotland has on offer. From the view of the Isle Skye on one side and the Outer Hebrides on the other, to the majestic mountains of the Scottish highlands, the journey truly is a feast for the eyes.

The train journey, usually between Jun-Jul and Aug-Sep, aligns perfectly with the Highland games schedule. Thus, you can end your voyage on a high note, enjoying the picturesque landscapes on the Jacobite Steam Train after witnessing the spectacular Highland games.

Remember to book your tickets in advance, as they sell out quickly during the summer months. The day tour on the Jacobite Steam Train is a must-experience for every traveller. It is truly the perfect way to bid farewell to the magical land of Scotland.


A cruise trip to experience the Highland games is indeed a unique way to uncover the charm of Scotland. It not only lets you bask in the rich Scottish culture through its traditional games but also allows you to explore the country's mesmerising highlands and lochs.

Remember, the success of your journey lies in careful planning. From understanding the deck plan to selecting the right cabin grade, from aligning your cruise schedule with the games' dates to including a day tour on the Jacobite Steam Train, every aspect of planning counts.

Also, don't forget to opt for travel insurance as part of your cruise package. It's a vital aspect that ensures you peace of mind during your voyage.

So, embark on this enchanting journey to Scotland. Experience the thrill of Highland games, the grandeur of the Scottish highlands, and the mystique of Loch Ness. With a well-planned trip, your cruise to Scotland will be an unforgettable adventure. Pack your bags, and get ready to create memories that you will cherish for a lifetime!

Copyright 2024. All Right Reserved