Wildlife sailing holiday in Scotland

Our popular Scottish wildlife cruise gives you the best chance of sighting some of the Hebrides’ most iconic – and elusive – wildlife aboard a uniquely re-purposed small sailing vessel, skippered by a sea-faring family with unrivalled local knowledge
Isle of Mull Staffa Iona The Small Isles Isle of Skye St Kilda Inner Hebrides Outer Hebrides
Price
£850To£2850 excluding flights
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Duration
6 Days
Ship size
St Hilda 6, Seahorse 11, Gemini 8 passengers
Reviews
More info
Price includes meals, snacks, aperitifs and wine with dinner.
Longer and shorter cruises available from April to Oct for the Outer and Inner Hebrides.
Minimum child age 5 yrs, no child discount.
Make enquiry

Description of Wildlife sailing holiday in Scotland

We provide unique wildlife cruises on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Our cruises, among the breathtakingly beautiful islands, sea lochs and mountains of the Inner and Outer Hebrides, are truly unforgettable adventures for all ages.

We anchor in the most sheltered, idyllic, safe havens where passengers can visit world famous malt whisky distilleries and remote Scottish islands such as St Kilda, Mull, Skye, Jura, Islay, Staffa and Iona. The magical Scottish seas are full of wildlife both above and below the waves. You can fish, swim, dive, set lobster pots and sail the sea and its lochs and marvel at the dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, otters, sea eagles, myriads of sea birds and the occasional whale. Each day is as action packed or as relaxing as you please.

A cruising holiday on board our small ships is fun and informal. The roomy deck saloons are where everyone dines and socialises and the outdoor decks are perfect for spotting wildlife, relaxing and eating al fresco and, throughout the cruise, you will have the services of your own skipper and cook. The small ships’ tenders can also take you ashore for some wonderful, serious coastal and cliff walks or you could just wander along the shore beachcombing and examining the pretty seaside rock pools.

Guests can choose to book St Hilda (maximum 6 passengers), Seahorse II (maximum 11 passengers) or Gemini Explorer (maximum 8 passengers). St Hilda is a traditional, wooden ex-Tall Ship. Seahorse II is an ex-Norwegian Ferry. Gemini Explorer is an ex-Cruising Lifeboat. All three ships have been converted to cruise the western islands of Scotland in comfort and style.

Below we give an example of one of our six night Scottish wildlife cruises. It is only an example as we have a number of different itineraries for you to choose from whether you wish to visit the Isles of Mull, Skye, Islay or the St Kilda archipelago.

Please note that your voyage is weather dependent. Weather doesn't just mean good or bad weather. There are many considerations such as tidal gates, wind direction and strength, the strength and direction of currents, overfalls, and fetch.

Price information

£850To£2850 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Price includes meals, snacks, aperitifs and wine with dinner.
Longer and shorter cruises available from April to Oct for the Outer and Inner Hebrides.
Minimum child age 5 yrs, no child discount.
Make enquiry

Check dates, prices & availability

Travel guides

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Scotland wildlife
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Holiday information

The ships:
Our small ship cruises in Scotland take place on a choice of three converted small ships: St Hilda (a traditional wooden ex-tall ship with maximum capacity for 6 guests), Seahorse II (a former ferry cruiser from Norway with maximum capacity for 12 guests) or Gemini Explorer (a converted lifeboat cruiser with maximum capacity for 7 guests).

All three ships have been converted to cruise the western islands of Scotland in comfort and style and are suited to couples, families, solos or groups of friends. Children from 5 years old to the most demanding teenager love the experience.

Included in the price are all meals and your onboard skipper and chef who will provide an unforgettable holiday for everyone on board. We are based in Scotland and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge.
Our top tip:
Consider coming by train to Oban.
Accomm:
A choice of double en-suite, twin (en-suite and not en-suite) and single cabins (en-suite and not en-suite).
Included:
Accommodation, all meals, snacks, aperitifs, wine with dinner.
Dietary requirements:
We can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Reviews

31 Reviews of Wildlife sailing holiday in Scotland

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 12 Aug 2021 by

It was stunning. A life changing experience of the importance of conserving our astonishing wildlife, from jelly fish to sea eagles. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Sep 2019 by

The most exciting part of this holiday was helping to winch in the anchor! Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Aug 2019 by

The two trips were lovely, food very good on both. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2019 by

Having a seal follow us whilst out zodiac went ashore was memorable. Watching an otter fishing was also good. So was the whisky tasting. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2018 by

We loved it, quite different from our usual sort of holiday. We were well looked after. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Oct 2018 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was... life aboard an authentic, well-looked after and wonderful small ship! Seeing plenty of wildlife and plotting our navigation routes each evening and morning before travelling throughout the Hebrides. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Aug 2018 by

Great. The company Sea Adventures logo is definitely deserved but we always felt safe! Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2018 by

Kayaking along the "lochs" was the highlight of the trip. On board they have very good and safe kayaks and lifejackets, all you need to go exploring the wildlife. I and my 10 year old daughter saw many seals Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2018 by

The captain, bosun and cook were all great though - friendly, caring towards everyone, attentive, great humour, skilled, and the cooking and 'service' were excellent. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Jul 2017 by

Our encounter with a big group of white-beaked dolphins jumping playfully and the beautiful beaches and peaks of the islands. Barra and Canna were amazing and the red sunset in Muck was unforgettable. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2016 by

The whole experience was wonderful, particularly enjoyed the dinghy trip round the Burnt Islands reserve where we were treated with great views of the Common Seal colony. Also enjoyed discovering another world through the microscope investigating plankton samples. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2016 by

No light pollution and clear skies allowed for spectacular stargazing. As an added bonus we got to collect and view plankton under the microscope, a truly unique experience. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Jul 2016 by

Increased our awareness of the interplay and delicate balance between various species of flora and fauna - in particular, plankton. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2016 by

Learning to handle the gear, and to participate in the marine explorations, from mammals to microbes, was fascinating. We became a real 'crew' - shipmates. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Sep 2015 by

A very interesting experience for people who loves nature, sea and peace. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Jul 2015 by

Michael and Colette are wonderful hosts and very patient with teaching us. We enjoyed their company. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2014 by

Brilliant holiday...both Michael and Colette were passionate about conservation matters and the threat to the marine environment which couldn't help but rub off on everyone on board. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Jun 2014 by

10/10, relaxing and rewarding....Great hosts and fellow travellers, stunning scenery and wonderful food, on and off the boat Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Jun 2014 by

My family and I enjoyed it very much. The wonderful scenery and the good food on and off the boat, Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2013 by

Wonderful holiday and great value for money. I'm considering running away to sea! Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2013 by

The most memorable part of my time on St. Hilda was the amazing spectacular scenery of Scotland, the sea lochs, seals, birds, jelly fish and the warm welcome. The knowledge and expertise of Colette and Michael on the whole trip. The lovely food, Colette is a great cook, but very modest! The being at sea. Sleeping in a Bunk, hearing the sound of the wind and waves, feeling warm and cosey! Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2012 by

What can one say about this holiday it has to be one of the best holidays I have ever been on with two of the best hosts you could ever wish to meet in Michael and Colette who make your trip so wonderful and informative and the fellow passengers John, Julie, Peter and Mike who it was a pleasure to sail with. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2012 by

The magic of this holiday can be summed up by our first morning afloat. Having learnt how to lay an anchor the night before, we woke to the gently lapping waters of a secluded loch...A wonderful holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2012 by

The most memorable part would have to be watching what must have been over 100 gannets dive bombing again and again like WW2 fighter pilots circling round for yet another attack...Michael and Colette are superb hosts - interesting, kind, great company. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2012 by

The most memorable parts included fishing, throwing lobster pots, looking at all these amazing colourful creatures under the microscope, relaxing and sunbathing! Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2012 by

The most memorable bit was being part of an amazing team (crew and guests). Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2012 by

Highlights included catching fish, watching seals from the dinghy, and working with Michael and Colette on the many aspects of sailing the boat...This was an excellent and challenging holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Sep 2012 by

Learning to sail with Michael was the best bit in my opinion. He taught us loads of knots, and we turned off the engine and sailed for a bit...It was fantastic! I really enjoyed it! It was one of the best adventury actiony holidays I've ever been on! Read full review

Reviewed on 31 Aug 2012 by

On the first night we anchored in one of the sea lochs. It was calm and the moon was out. We could hear the fish jumping out of the water and see the phosphorescence as they were chased by either a seal or porpoise. That was a great experience. Read full review

Reviewed on 16 Jun 2012 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was sailing to Arran with all the sails out watching the wildlife. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Jun 2012 by

The food and the company of Michael and Colette (who is also a wonderful cook) were outstanding...This holiday was great and I would recommend it to anyone with the right attitude. Read full review

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.

Planet

We do all that we can to "leave only a wake" as we travel through the islands of the west coast of Scotland. Our stated aim is to protect the wonderful marine environment and the wildlife it supports.

We are proud to say we have recently been awarded The Green Tourism's Silver Award.

We are also a gold member of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so we will only be serving fish, from local fish-mongers, which are sustainable and approved by the MCS.

We are a corporate member of the Shark Trust, and have adopted the magnificent basking shark. Our adoption is helping fund vital basking shark research in our cruising area.

We are also a corporate partner of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust which means we foster environmental awareness and we work to safeguard the future of Scottish seas and cetaceans.

Our crew are officially WiSe Scheme Trained which means they are taught about watching marine wildlife the wildlife-safe way in our cruising area.

We are committed to excellence in offering holidays to people who have a feel for the sea and its wildlife, both below and above the waves, as well as ashore. Our aim is to respect the sea and the local marine and shore-based environment. To leave everything as we find it is our motto, respecting the delicate eco-system balance of sky, sea and shore. To achieve our “Leave Only a Wake” policy we have a series of aims:

Our aim is to create sustainable tourism by respecting the local sea and shore-based environment. We adhere to high standards of economic, environmental and social policy and practice in our interactions with clients, staff, core suppliers and partners as well as the wider social and ecological environment. We buy free range eggs, free range chicken and organic meat.

We look after our clients to the best of our ability and supporting them on the vessel in personnel safety and creating a respect for the marine environment. Our on board skills training aims to develop confidence and competence and we have extensive briefing of our safety and environmental procedures to our crew.

We have responsible standards of crew recruitment and development. At all times there are always two team members available. Our fully qualified skippers have sailed many thousands of sea miles. All activities in the water are monitored to protect both humans and the marine life.

Our onboard policy is that all rubbish is brought ashore and we have a strict recycling policy of all non-organic waste.

Our skippers and onboard wildlife guides discuss the local shore and marine environment, wildlife and ecosystems. We explain how to behave in a responsible manner to the animals (for example puffin and seal colonies) and birds (especially breeding colonies) that we encounter. We also help clients gain an awareness of local marine environment by encouraging them to study the nautical charts of the region as well making them aware of the ever changing Scottish weather patterns. The skipper keeps the clients regularly informed of local meteorological reports.

People

We employ the services of the local marina, shops, services, restaurants and guides. These suppliers all employ local staff.

We encourage our guests to visit locally important heritage sites, visit local gardens, craft shops and participate in cultural events. We also work with local wildlife rangers and tour guides. Tourism is increasingly a vital part of the income for the local residents of this somewhat remote, isolated but beautiful region of the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Thus we use all local products and local services with the intention of helping to support local businesses, create employment and contribute to the overall sustainable development of not only our starting point of our voyage but also in the islands and communities of the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

We aim to create a good relationship with tourism and the local communities and at all times are aware and try to bring awareness to the fragile marine ecosystems through which we sail.

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