Where do you go when you don’t want to pay for international air fare, feel you have explored all the UK mainland has to offer but feel the urge to get away? The answer lies on Britain’s many islands. In this brief guide we take a look at some of the big hitters and less obvious holiday destinations surrounded by water. Any you won’t even need to find your passport.
Isle of Man
It only takes a 30 minute ferry ride to reach the Isle of Man but there’s enough to see on the island to keep you busy for days. There’s beautiful landscape to explore on breath-taking walks, tough terrain for mountain bikers and climbers to challenge themselves and a wealth of cultural activities.
Fun Fact: Although traditional Manx music is a mixture of Norse and Celtic influences, the Bee Gees are its most famous musical export.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight has long been a popular holiday destination with families rushing to enjoy the beautiful beaches, music fans going to the famous rock festival and ramblers heading for the picturesque walking routes. It is the largest of the islands of England and easily accessible by ferry from Southampton, Portsmouth or Lymington.
Fun fact: Housewives favourite Alan Titchmarsh enjoyed the honour of being High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight in 2008-09.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to stay on these islands off the coast of Northumberland, however it is well worth the visit if you happen to be in the North East. Take a boat trip out to see puffins, seals and other interesting wildlife or if you’re feeling more adventurous (and don’t mind getting a bit chilly) scuba dive to visit the regions underwater kingdom of marine life and shipwrecks.
Fun Fact: The old Pele Tower is home to the islands’ only habitants: National Trust bird wardens.
The Orkneys encompass around 70 islands with natural beauty, wildlife and plenty of attractions for foodies and culture vultures alike: there’s something for everyone. The mainland, divided into East and West has the bulk of the accommodation whereas the outer islands feature dramatic landscapes and make for memorable boat excursions.
Fun Fact: A native of Orkney is known as an Orcadian
Often described as one of England’s natural wonders, Lundy lies in the Bristol Channel and welcomes both day trippers and those who want to stay longer. The granite outcrop is seen as an unspoiled haven away from the hustle and bustle of mainland England. With under 30 residents it is easy to see how Lundy get its peaceful reputation.
Fun Fact: Lundy is has its own species of cabbage endemic to the island, imaginatively named Lundy Cabbage.