Island adventures for families

Aerial view of Brownsea Island

There are few who haven’t dreamt of visiting Kirrin Island, Neverland or Treasure Island at some point in their life. Of course, these are all imagined places from children’s books, but there’s a reason why islands are such a popular theme for authors – they are built for adventure. You’re cut off from the rest of the world. Anything can happen.

We’ve got a few adventure islands of our own, with strange creatures and hidden coves waiting for those who dare to leave the mainland behind. Why not book one of our holiday cottages and make a weekend of it?

" We used to stay in Brownsea's holiday cottage in December, when the island is closed to the general public, so you have your own personal desert island with beaches, woods, beautiful walks and amazing wildlife"
- Elizabeth F, member of staff
Red squirrel on Brownsea Island, Dorset

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Just like the islands in stories, Brownsea Island has a mermaid lagoon and tales of smuggling. The isolation of this spot provides a haven for red squirrels, kingfishers and oystercatchers. Only accessible by a short ferry ride, the whole island is car free, so every inch can be explored safely.

50 things: At Brownsea Island you can camp under the stars, build a den and jump over waves on the beaches.

Brilliant blue waters at Carrick-a-Rede

Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim

Cross the rope bridge, originally built by salmon fisherman, over a 30 metre deep drop to Carrick-a Rede. Those bold enough to cross to the rocky island are rewarded with fantastic views. Rahtlin Island, where thousands of puffins breed, is also only 7km from Carrick-a-Rede.

50 things: This is great place for sea birds. You might also see basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises in the sea if you keep your eyes peeled.

Young people wearing lifejackets paddling six canoes on Derwentwater in the Lake District

Derwentwater islands, Cumbria

Derwentwater has four islands and you can row to all of them, apart from Derwent Island which is only open to the public five days a year. St Herbert’s is the largest, covering nearly five acres, but even the smaller islands make perfect picnic spots. You can hire rowing boats and small motor boats from a number of local providers. We request that you do not stay overnight or light any fires on the islands. Please take care not to disturb any nesting birds.

50 things: Borrowdale is a great area for stargazing

" The Farnes are breathtaking, no matter how many times you've been. They're so beautiful and home to a vast array of amazing wildlife"
- Amanda G, visitor
A puffin on the Farne Islands in Northumberland

Farne Islands, Northumberland

The Farne Islands are home to around 37,000 pairs of puffin and a large grey seal colony, with more than 1,000 pups born every autumn. Many of the islands hide underwater at high tide. Visitors pass lots of these inaccessible islets on boat trips - a short journey to a different world.

50 things: Look out for our rangers on the islands, who sometimes have some rock pool creatures for you to have a look at.

Lindisfarne Castle off the Northumberland Coast

Holy Island, Northumberland

You can make your way to Holy Island barefoot, crossing the open stretch of sand at low tide. Just make sure you check the tide times before you set off. There is something magical about walking along a constantly disappearing and reappearing path. Once you’re at the island an enchanting walled garden, historic Lime Kilns and Lindisfarne Castle await.

50 things: Lindisfarne island is the perfect place for a spot of rock pooling, barefoot walking, and taking your kite for a spin.

A view from Dunsbury westwards to Tennyson with a setting sun

The Isle of Wight

At the tiny tea room near The Needles, you can borrow binoculars to spy what’s going on out at sea. Visit the magical garden at Mottistone Manor, climb to the top of the island’s last windmill or play on the beach at Compton Bay.

50 things: Nearly all of the 50 things can be ticked off here. Hunting for bugs, spotting butterflies and finding fossils are some of our favourites though.

" Lundy is like a world apart. It is an amazing place to go and get away from it all. I've been going since I was a child and I remember a feeling of complete freedom, the chance to have adventures. It is beautiful, unique and peaceful - pure escapism"
- Kathryn L, visitor
views south towards the landing bay in the early morning sun on lundy island

Lundy Island, Devon

With its disused lighthouse, tiny village and complete lack of cars, Lundy Island is a rather nostalgic place. Once the home of dangerous pirates, the island is now home to an abundance of wildlife including inquisitive seals, wild ponies and silka deer.

50 things: Lundy is especially good for bird watching and butterfly spotting.

Aerial view of Gateholm Island

Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire

Explore the golden sands of Marloes Peninsula before heading off on your island adventure. You can get a boat to Skomer Island, from the tiny harbour of Martin’s Haven. You can also walk to Gateholm, a tidal island, at low tide. Please keep in mind that this climb is tricky and only for the sure-footed.

50 things: The beach here is safe for swimming in the sea and jumping over waves. You can also hunt for bugs and catch fish in a net.

Pink dawn rising over St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

This rocky island is crowned by a medieval church and castle. If the weather is good you can enjoy a short boat trip around the island or at low tide venture across the ancient tide causeway from Marazion. Children’s quizzes are available as well as pre-arranged tours.

50 things: This is a great place for a barefoot walk, rock pooling and swimming in the sea.

" St Michael’s Mount is an absolute jewel. The views of it across the bay are breathtaking & that’s before you've even walked the causeway or chugged in the little boat to get there. The magic continues once you've arrived & creates an everlasting memory"
- Angela E, visitor