Planning a trip to the U.K? Look beyond the mainland and book a stay on one of the thousands of islands that sit just offshore. Whether you’re looking for a week-long stay in the wilderness or an interesting day trip, here is our pick of the U.K’s best islands.
Isle of Tiree, Scotland
If you’re looking for sunshine, the small island of Tiree (the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides) boasts more natural sunlight than any other British island. Although the sun is often shining, and the long white sand beaches may look tempting, be prepared to wrap up warm as the flat landscapes of the island mean that it’s often windy. If you’re looking for postcard-worthy views and blustery walks along pristine beaches, this should be your island of choice.
Isle of Eigg, Scotland
Beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs juxtapose on the small island of Eigg, but the scenery isn’t the only thing drawing visitors here. In 1997, the residents of the island clubbed together to purchase their home and transformed the island into the world’s first stand-alone energy grid using renewable resources. The island also boasts its own record label, Lost Map Records and Eigg Box, a creative collective of islanders who curate a programme of events and projects across the island. The island’s sell-out boutique music festival Howlin’ Fling is a highlight of each summer.
St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
One of Cornwall’s most iconic sights, St Michael’s Mount is connected to the mainland with a causeway during low tide and can be accessed via boat when the tide is high. Whether you admire the bluff from the shore (it looks particularly beautiful at sunset) or spend some time exploring the island and walking to its summit, you’re sure to capture beautiful photographs of this enchanting island. Visitors can admire the Victorian terraced gardens, discover the castle or wander around the harbour.
Herm, Channel Islands
One of the most intriguing of all the UK’s islands, Herm is little known. Located in the channel between England and France, this small isle is home to around 60 residents. For the winter months, time appears to stand still as the island’s only hotel is closed, and the boat service is greatly reduced. During summer, visitors flock to the island to enjoy a step back in time. The White House Hotel has no Wi-Fi or televisions, and you won’t see any cars on the roads of the isle. Instead, this is an island made for adventures. Spend your time walking on the many trails, keeping your eyes peeled for puffins, or taking advantage of a sunny day and relaxing on one of the beaches.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
One of Scotland’s most dramatic islands, the Isle of Skye is incredibly popular with visitors due to its breath-taking scenery and abundance of things to see and do. Named in many lists as one of the best islands in the entire world, the landscapes here are steeped in history. Craggy cliffs, dramatic mountain peaks, windswept beaches, pretty villages and roaring waterfalls all tempt visitors. Visitors can easily spend a week or longer travelling around the island taking in all of the sights, hiking to the best viewpoints and keeping their eyes peeled for interesting wildlife.
Tresco, Scilly Isles
Located off the coast of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles have an air of magic that sets them apart from the rest of the U.K. Tresco is known to be one of the most beautiful of these islands, famed for its impeccable white sand beaches. If the weather doesn’t permit lounging on the beaches, spend your time visiting the 16th Century ruins and the iconic Abbey Gardens.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.