The highlight of any seaside holiday in Britain is a whale watching trip, in a boat skippered by an experienced captain, to enjoy and film the antics of marine wildlife – whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, seabirds.
So if you’re within reach of the coast, this seaside experience should be top of your list of things to do on holiday.
Where can I go whale watching in Britain
Like many wildlife experiences, whale and dolphin watching tours vary throughout the year. But we’ve brought all the current ones together in one place for you, and our real time price checker makes sure you get the lowest prices, and any offers that are available too.
Typical places for this experience are Falmouth and Penzance in Cornwall, Dyfed in Wales and the North East coast of Scotland, but check out the full list below to see what your choices are at this moment, And keep checking back as they do change and we keep them bang up to date.
Whale watching experience review
Well firstly, we should warn you that whether the experience is called whale watching, dolphin watching, seal watching or porpoise watching makes no difference at all to what you actually see.
You’re going on a boat out into the sea to find whatever wild marine animals are there. You’re not visiting tame animals that have been put there for you and you might spend a couple of hours on the boat at sea and come across none of these creatures, or you might find all of them in abundance. You don’t know till you’re out on the sea.
So if you’re wanting guaranteed viewings of fish and mammals from the sea, then go to an aquarium.
But if you’re wanting the chance to see wild, majestic sea creatures in their natural environment, perhaps dolphins frolicking round your boat or whales coming up to investigate who is in their territory, or playful seals sticking their heads out of the water to get a better view of you, then read on!
We found our own dolphin watch was an experience to remember.
Whole schools of these brilliant inquisitive mammals surrounded our boat, keeping pace with it and leaping into the air repeatedly right in front of us. It seemed almost as if they were posing for videos and loved to have their photos taken. They were almost close enough to touch.
We also saw a couple of whales, though twenty metres or so further away, and as we came back towards the harbour there were several grey seals bobbing about watching us cagily from a safe distance.
So if you’re in luck, that’s what you could encounter on your own whale watch.
And it’s not actually quite as chancy and down to luck as all that, since the skipper of your boat spends much of every day taking boat trips to see wildlife and knows from long experience where they’re likely to be found – and since the animals tend to enjoy the attention, they often look for the boat too.
So wrap up warmly, wear sensible shoes (if you take the voyage in high fashion shoes – unless Doc Martins have come back in again – you’ll as like as not fall over when trying to walk about the pitching boat, and it will ruin your trip), make sure your video camera battery is fully charged and look forward to an experience to remember.
The whole trip usually takes a couple of hours, depending how soon your fishy friends are found (yes I know dolphins and whales aren’t fish!). Occasionally trips may be cancelled or postponed due to bad weather, so you’ll be able to ring ahead and check on the day to make sure.
And finally, you can sometimes book these experiences when you get there, but quite often they are simply booked up for a long time ahead by people who’ve booked in advance, so we’d recommend that you sure of your trip and buy your experience online here. When we went for ours, disappointed day trippers were being turned away in droves.