Top islands to visit
Whether you're looking for a rugged family adventure or a quiet day trip away from the rest of the world, here are our top picks for islands to escape to. Discover hidden coves, inspiring views and adventures abound on one of these islands.
- Brownsea Island, Dorset
- Home to red squirrels and a variety of birds, Brownsea Island is filled with wildlife in its woodland and heathland. There are many free trails across the island to explore as well as picnic spots to take in the view while you have your lunch.Visit Brownsea Island
- Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim
- To reach Carrick-a-Rede, you'll need to cross the rope bridge over a 30-metre drop, originally built by salmon fishermen to reach the island. Those bold enough to cross to the rocky island are rewarded with fantastic views. Rathlin Island, where thousands of puffins breed, is also only 7km from Carrick-a-Rede.Visit Carrick-a-Rede
- 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, and please take care not to disturb any nesting birds.Visit Derwentwater
- 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.Visit Farne Islands
- 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's 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.Visit Lindisfarne Castle
- 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.Visit Mottistone Gardens and Estate
- 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 pirates, the island is now home to an abundance of wildlife including inquisitive seals, wild ponies and sika deer.Visit Lundy 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.Visit Marloes Sands and Mere
- 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.Visit St Michael's Mount
If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a picnic on the coast, this selection includes secret coves like Hayburn Wyke and Soar Mill Cove and well-known sandy beaches like Brancaster and Portstewart Strand.
Fancy visiting a lighthouse? Find out where to go and get ready to discover some fascinating coastal buildings and their interesting histories.
Rock-pooling is a great way to get closer to nature. Discover the best places to find wildlife such as starfish, limpets and barnacles at the beaches and coasts we care for.
Find the best places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to spot seals in the wild. Whether on a coastal walk or boat trip, there are plenty of places to see both grey and common seals as they come ashore to give birth.