Top ten alternative British boating bases

Look beyond the typical South coast boating bases and there are plenty of welcoming harbours that offer some delightful experiences

Strangford Lough

Penetrating the east bulge of Northern Ireland, Strangford Lough covers 60 square miles – making it Britain’s largest tidal inlet.

Its countless islands and rocky outcrops create a fabulous cruising area with pretty County Down villages around the rural shores.

05-Portaferry-bay-and-mooringsPortaferry Marina is on the east side of the entrance narrows, overlooked by a colourful waterfront and a ruined castle.

There are no marinas inside the lough, but several friendly yacht clubs have moorings in sheltered inlets.

Many members have quite large motor boats so contact the clubs to ask if they can accommodate you for a while.

Quoile YC is in the south-west corner of the lough in the Quoile River. Ringhaddy Cruising Club is on the west shore behind Pawle Island and Islandmore, near a Swallows and Amazons paradise of winding channels, shallow inlets and secret bays.

05-Strangord-LoughNorth of Ringhaddy, Strangford Lough YC has good moorings and you’ll get a great seafood supper at Daft Eddie’s bar on Sketrick Island.

Berthing: Quoile Yacht Club, Portaferry Marina, Ringhaddy Cruising Club, Strangford Lough Yacht Club or Down Cruising Club

Getting there: I’d choose the Stena Line Liverpool to Belfast crossing, daytime or overnight. Portaferry or Quoile are 34 miles from Belfast. Many UK flights serve Belfast City airport, which is 24 miles from Quoile and 28 miles from Portaferry.

Pilot book: East and North Coasts of Ireland Sailing Directions

Next page Previous page


Latest videos