Island Escapes In The UK
Islands are synonymous with holidays. But did you know that you could get your dream island escape without needing to leave the UK? It’s time to discover some of our most beautiful islands.
The UK is home to not hundreds but thousands of islands, big and small. From Scotland’s archipelago of rugged isles to sun-soaked islands off the south coast, these hidden gems could be perfect for your next escape. Here are three islands you won’t need your passport for.
Isle of Wight
Easily accessible by ferry from Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth, a mere two-hour journey from London, there’s no better place for a British bucket-and-spade break than the Isle of Wight.
It may be our biggest island, but it’s still small enough to explore in a few days. Start in the west with a walk to the Needles, three stacks of chalk and a lighthouse rising impressively out of the ocean. Soak up the views across Tennyson Down before jumping on a speedboat at Alum Bay to see the Needles up close.
Then there’s the magnificent Osbourne House in the north, Queen Victoria’s family home, and Ventnor and Shanklin beaches in the south. With zoos, dinosaur trails, museums and adventure parks, there’s plenty for families too.
Isle of Skye
Scotland has no shortage of beautiful islands, but most visitors will agree on which is the most breathtaking: Skye. Spanning 50 miles from top to bottom, Skye is adored worldwide for its lush green moors, jagged mountains, sparkling lochs and towering sea cliffs.
The weather up here is not always cheery, but the frequent shrouds of mist only add to the island’s serene, mystical presence. On good days, climb to the iconic Old Man of Storr for one of the island’s best viewpoints, or trek along the Quiraing, drinking in the outstanding scenery. When the mist closes in, rest up in one of the island’s cosy pubs or take a tour of a castle or two. Come rain or shine, Skye won’t let you down.
Isles of Scilly
If you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten track, the Isles of Scilly are just the ticket, a peaceful pocket of paradise just 28 miles off the coast of Land’s End in Cornwall.
With white-sand beaches, subtropical gardens and some of Britain’s best weather, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve left the UK entirely. There are five main islands: St Mary’s is the largest, followed by Tresco, with very few people living on Bryher, St Martin’s and St Agnes.
Visiting the Scillies is like stepping back in time. Quiet, beautiful and completely unspoilt, you’ll have almost every pristine beach to yourself. The walks are outstanding and the islands are popular with nature-lovers too, thanks to the Atlantic grey seals that breed here, not to mention the flocks of rare seabirds.
You can reach the islands by ferry or plane. Planes depart from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter airports, or you can take the three-hour ferry crossing from Penzance to St Mary’s.