Best Of British: 7 Secret Islands To Visit In Great Britain
When it comes to an island paradise, images of Mykonos, Maldives or Turks & Caicos are invoked. Sadly, guaranteed sunshine allude's the UK, but our beautiful country does offer numerous little-known island idylls that provide unquestionable charm and seclusion. From romantic castle-topped locations off the coast of Cornwall to remote enclaves in Scotland, see our guide to the most beautiful secret island escapes to visit without having to get on a plane.
1. Lundy, Devon
The cloistered island of Lundy lies just 12 miles off the coast of Devon and dates back to the Neolithic period when in 1160 King Henry II granted the land to the Knights Templar. Tourists can tour the island up to five times per week or stay overnight in the self-catering converted lighthouses and castles that populate the island. Visitors often travel to Lundy for it's Marine Protected Area which is one of the prime diving sites in the British Isles. Spectacularly clear waters, a diversity of marine life and with many wrecks to explore make Lundy a must-visit in the summer.
Visit Lundy Island for more.
2. St Michael's Mount, Cornwall
The storybook island of St Michael's Mount in Marazion, Cornwall is home to just 35 citizens, and while you cannot stay on the island, there are a plethora of fascinating activities to be enjoyed. Managed by the National Trust, the historic castle dates back to the 17th century and is open to the public, explore the garden trail which weaves its way around the exterior of the castle and contains a cacophony of plant species. Conclude your journey at the Sail Loft and Island Cafe which serves a variety of dishes from handpicked crab to local cheeses and homemade chutneys.
For more, visit St Michael's Mount.
3. Brownsea Island, Dorset
Owned by, and the second island on our list to be managed by, the National Trust, Brownsea Island sits centrally in Poole Harbour in Dorset. The boat trip to the island alone is worth heading to the island for with its postcard-worthy coastline stretching 2.4km. The island itself is a unique haven for wildlife and is home to a rich habitat including woodland, heathland and a magnificent lagoon. Although there is no accommodation on the island itself, visitors can stay nearby on the Poole mainland.
For more information, visit their website National Trust.
4. Isle of Tiree, Inner Hebrides,
The enchanting island of Tiree is settled just off the coast of Oban in Scotland and with beaches that stretch for miles (10, to be exact) you'll be guaranteed an idyllic experience. In the summer months, the sun doesn't set until just before 11 pm when the colours and views look truly otherworldly. It's known to a be a windy visit but avoid the months of December and January if you prefer two feet firmly on the ground.
Discover more about the Isle of Tiree here.
5. Herm, Channel Islands
They say there is no place like Herm, and after a visit to the beautiful island off the coast of Guernsey, they are not far short of the truth. The Island is abound with cultural things to do and the options of accommodation are plentiful. An upmarket hotel, cosy cottages and log cabins are all available for romantic getaways, bigger groups or just the family. The south coast is home to high cliffs, winding flower-lined paths and white foam waves. A must-visit on our list of idyllic islands.
See more of the luxe island at Herm.com
6. Sark, Channel Islands
Sitting just off the coast of Normandy in the English Channel, Sark is the second smallest of the Channel Islands, and can only be reached by boat- Sark is remote, but it's surprisingly accessible. A sleepy idyll in the Channel Islands where cars are banned and people still travel by horse and cart, it's an escape like no other. Stay at Sark's finest independent luxury hotel, Stocks; its rooms offer unrivalled views of the ocean and of course, it's uber-luxurious.
To book a room, visit Stocks Hotel.
7. Iona Island, Inner Hebrides
The Southern Hebridean Isle of Iona is 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland with about a hundred and thirty-five permanent residents. Throughout the spring and summer season, there are daily coach-and-ferry day-trips to Mull, Iona, Staffa and the Treshnish Isles from Oban so getting there is quick and easy. Stay on the island at Ardoran House, a pretty B+B with 180-degree sea views. For the social travellers, a traditional wooden open boat, ‘Birthe Marie’ is also available for charter for summer parties and celebrations. Champagne, anyone?
To discover more about Iona, visit Isle of Iona.