The 29 Best UK Islands to Visit

Best uk islands

Longing to be surrounded by sea on your next holiday, without the fuss of long-haul travel? You may be surprised at how many fascinating and unspoiled islands are yours to discover right here in Britain. From the golden sands of Jersey to the remote allure of the Shetland Islands, there is always something just a bit magical about stepping off the mainland to explore the outer reaches of the British isles. We took a tour around 25 of the best UK islands to help you find the perfect offshore spot for your next trip.

1. Sark

Sark Island

One of the smallest islands around the UK, Sark has a population of just 600, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in raw, rugged beauty as well as its unique historical standing. Based just off the coast of Normandy, the island has its own parliament, as well as its own set of laws based on Norman law. Cars are banned on Sark, and the only vehicles you’ll see on a visit here are modified tractors or horse-drawn carts.

Sark is composed of two sections: Greater Sark and Little Sark, connected by a narrow peninsular path called La Coupée (pictured). So steep is the drop on either side of the path that children used to be told to cross it on their hands and knees - but fortunately for present-day visitors, protective railings have now been installed on either side of the track!

Popular activities on Sark include cycling (ideal for nervous cyclists due to the lack of motor vehicles!), guided walks, and visits to the tranquil La Seigneurie Gardens, where flowers bloom that are rarely seen on the British mainland due to Sark’s relatively warm climate. Sark has no airport, so visitors can either travel by ferry or sailing-boat from Jersey or Guernsey (both of which can be reached by air), or from St Malo in Normandy, which can be reached from Portsmouth by ferry.

2. Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

With its sandy beaches, model village and working steam railway, the UK’s Isle of Wight is the perfect family getaway. Situated less than five miles off the coast of Hampshire, the South Coast island is most easily reached by hovercraft, departing from Southsea in Portsmouth and arriving at Ryde just 10 minutes later. The journey across the solent is the last commercial hovercraft route operating anywhere in the world, which makes for a quirky and nostalgic welcome to this charming and unique island.

Popular attractions on the Isle of Wight include The Needles Landmark Attraction - a fun-packed amusement park on the site of an extraordinary row of chalk cliffs that rise from the sea, award-winning beaches at Shanklin, Sandown and Ventnor, and of course the Steam Railway. Being relatively large among UK islands, the Isle of Wight offers all types of accommodation, from luxury spa to B&Bs and camping.

As well as being a great base for a family holiday, the Isle of Wight is well known for its music festivals which include Bestival, Jack up the 80s and the Isle of Wight Festival itself, which famously put on such rock greats as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and The Who during the 1970s.

3. Jura

Isle of Jura

The Inner Hebrides Isle of Jura off the West Coast of Scotland is one of the UK’s most unspoiled ‘wilderness’ islands, home to just 200 (human) inhabitants. Outnumbering them by a considerable margin are herds of red deer, seals and otters, all of which have made this breathtakingly beautiful, mountainous island their home.

Dominated by the iconic ‘Paps’ of Jura; three peaks that rise into the misty sky, Jura is the perfect choice for those who really want to go ‘off grid’ and get away from it all. The main appeal of this remote UK island is its wildlife and outstanding scenery. But between hiking or horse-riding through the hills, you can also taste some of the world’s finest whiskey at its dozen distilleries, play a round of golf at the celebrated Machrie, or embark on a sea adventure by taking a boat trip around the rugged coast. This is one trip your camera will particularly love!

There are several travel options for visitors to Jura coming in from the Scottish mainland, but if you want to drive you’ll need to cross first to the nearby island of Islay: you can do this by sea, or by air from Glasgow airport (a flight that offers some truly spectacular views), before hiring a car to drive on to the Jura ferry from Port Askaig. Transport direct from the mainland is limited to a summer-only foot passenger ferry service - see some great advice on Jura transport options here.

4. Anglesey

Anglesey, UK

With a population of nearly 70,000, Anglesey is one of the larger islands in the UK, and its relative size means there’s no shortage of things to do on your visit. From fairytale castles to water parks, aquariums to motorbike circuits, there’s something on the island to suit travellers of all tastes.

Anglesey is located off the Northwest coast of Wales, and most of its coastline has been officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Its scenery is often described as being like a ‘moonscape’, with uncrowded beaches and miles of golden sand.

Getting to Anglesey from mainland Britain is easy, thanks to the modern wonder that is the Severn Bridge: you can simply drive across (NB a toll is payable when crossing into Wales from England on the M4 and M48), taking in the gorgeous scenery en route.

5. Tresco, Scilly Isles

Tresco, Scilly Isles

This offshore oasis near the Coast of Cornwall is one of the most naturally stunning UK islands, with pristine white sand said to rival that of the Caribbean. Charming and compact, Tresco is the only privately-owned island in the Scilly Isles, and visitors love its relaxed character and well-tended looks.

Like mainland Cornwall, Tresco gets more than its fair share of sun in the summer months, so if you come at the right time, you’ll feel like you’ve come to a tropical paradise, particularly if you venture into the Tresco Abbey Gardens with its towering palm trees, succulents and cacti, imported from as far afield as South Africa and Australia by the 19th Century proprietor of the islands, Augustus Smith. Within the gardens you’ll also find the Valhalla museum, which houses a unique collection of 30 figureheads from ships wrecked on the island’s coast over many years. The eerie figures now hang from rafters, preserved in vibrant colours.

Getting to Tesco is relatively straightforward, with flights available from Newquay or by taking the Scillonian III passenger ferry from Penzance to St Mary's, where passengers change to a short crossing over to Tresco.

6. Skye


Skye is among the most rugged and romantic islands in the UK, and is also one of the largest of the Scottish isles. The most Northerly of the Inner Hebrides, Skye is famed for its dramatic, mountainous scenery, misty skies and abundant wildlife, all of which have long made it a huge hit with visitors. But thanks to its size, Skye retains a remote and spacious appeal despite its popularity.

Most people come to Skye simply to take in the breathtaking scenery and clean air, but there’s plenty to do beyond walking, hiking and admiring the view: speedboat trips around the island are a thrilling way to see the sights, while those who prefer to take it a bit more slowly can enjoy a 2-3 hour boat trip along the coast. There are also several ‘jeep safari’ tours available, which offer a great tour of Skye on days when the weather may present a challenge to al fresco activities.

Getting to Skye from the Scottish mainland is easy, due to the road bridge that connects the island to the North West coast. There are no tolls to use the Skye bridge.

7. Isle of Rum

Isle of Rum

A green, diamond-shaped island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Rum sits on the West Coast of the British Isles, home to only around 30 permanent residents. Due to its volcanic nature the island has some spectacular, mountainous scenery and rocky terrain - an invitation to the many hill-walkers that visit the island each year. But if you’re looking for a more relaxing Rum break, there is plenty to do without breaking out the hiking boots!

If you’re up for a bit of sightseeing, Kinloch Castle is a stunningly well-preserved Edwardian aristocratic home that you can visit with guided tours from April-October, and regular boat trips take place around the island during the summer months. Rum is also an animal-lover’s paradise, with herds of wild ponies, goats and red deer. Looking to the sky, the island’s Manx shearwaters and white-tailed eagles are of particular importance, as around a third of the world’s species of these rare birds travel here to nest from South America each year.

Transport to the Isle of Rum is by sea only, with ferries operated by CalMac. Departing from Mallaig in Mainland Scotland, the crossing takes about 1 hour 20 minutes.

8. Isle of Man

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man occupies a uniquely central position, right between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - although the island itself is not part of the United Kingdom, but a self-governing body of the crown. Due to the island's location it’s equally accessible from most parts of the country, and makes for an easy and memorable trip. The Isle of Man has just been awarded UNESCO Biosphere status, recognising the diversity of its natural habitats, but this is a fascinating place that has plenty of man-made wonders to discover as well.

One such point of interest is the Laxey wheel; an impressive feat of Victorian engineering and largest water wheel in the world. The wheel still pumps water from the nearby Laxey Mines, and visitors to the attraction can climb to the top of the giant wheel for a spectacular view across the island. Other interesting Manx attractions include a viking burial site, the Calf of Man bird observatory and the stunning Spooyt Vane Waterfall.

To reach the Isle of Man from the British mainland, you’ll need to travel by sea or air. Ferries take between 2 and 4 hours, with crossings from English ports at Liverpool or Heyham, or from Larne in Northern Ireland. Flights are also available taking just 20 minutes from Liverpool or Blackpool, and an hour from London.

9. Alderney, The Channel Islands

Alderney, The Channel Islands

Less famous than its larger cousins Jersey and Guernsey, Alderney is one of the most picturesque of the Channel Islands and has a unique, off-the-beaten-track charm about it that’s well worth getting to know. Located off the coast of Northern France, Alderney has a resident population of just under two thousand, and a microclimate that makes for a great beach holiday option in the summer.

Braye Beach and Saye Bay are among the best-loved spots for sunseekers, while those with an interest in Britain’s past will be intrigued by the island’s wartime history, including dozens of well-preserved bunkers and fortifications. The lighthouse, whose booming foghorn is a familiar refrain across the island, allows for incredible views at its summit on a clear day. On a visit to Alderney you’ll see many sights that are strangely familiar yet just a little different - including yellow phone booths and classic British postboxes painted blue. That’s very much the Alderney way, and is all part of its familiar yet other-worldly charm.

There is no direct route to Alderney from the mainland at present, but Aurigny airlines operates regular flights from several UK airports into Alderney via Guernsey.

10. St Martin’s, Scilly Isles

St Martin’s, Scilly Isles

St. Martin’s, in Cornwall’s sunny isles of Scilly is a delightful UK island that lays claim to some of the best beaches in the world. A tiny landmass at just two miles across and a population of just over 100, St Martin’s packs quite a punch for its diminutive size, with a diving school, artisan bakery, selection of restaurants and tea rooms and even its own vineyard.

The main draw for most visitors to St. Martin’s, however is its fine sandy coast and seaside spots - particularly Par beach, Great Bay, Little Bay and the wonderfully-named Bread and Cheese Cove. This is a great destination for those chasing the holy grail of unspoiled, uncrowded beaches that have stood the test of time. The clean, shallow waters make for great bathing options with warm temperatures in the summer, and snorkeling is a popular activity.

To get to St Martin’s from the mainland, you’ll need to go via St. Mary’s, the largest of the Scilly isles and transport ‘hub’. You can either fly into St Mary’s or take the Scillonian III boat from Penzance, for onward sea travel to St. Martin’s from St. Mary’s Quay.

11. Mainland Orkney

Mainland Orkney

Despite its slightly misleading name, Mainland Orkney is a bona fide island, surrounded by the Norwegian and North Seas. With its Capital of Kirkwall, and the settlement of Stromness it’s by far the largest island of the Orkneys, with a population of over 17,000. By making Mainland Orkney your base, you’ll be well-placed for discovering Orkney’s unique heritage, culture and traditions, with the opportunity to venture out into the more remote, less populous neighbouring islands.

The Orkneys are mysterious and fascinating places to visit, each one rich with relics from the ancient past. The islands’ Neolithic ancestry is evident across much of its rugged landscape, which is punctuated by stone circles, monuments and tombs - many of which are to be found on Mainland Orkney itself. Be sure to visit UNESCO World Heritage site the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, for a trip back in time looking back over 6,000 years. To really stray from the beaten track, take an island hopping trip around the smaller Orkney islands, starting at Kirkwall.

There are several options for travelling to Orkney. Direct flights are available from London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, while ferries depart from several Scottish ports - the quickest journey by sea is the 40-minute crossing from John O'Groats.

12. Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island

Located off the coast of Poole in Dorset, Brownsea island is owned in its entirety by the National Trust. A nature-lover’s paradise, it plays host to some of Britain’s rarest species, notably the red squirrel which has survived despite being wiped out everywhere else in the country by its American cousin, the grey squirrel. You can see plenty of these red-coated critters on Brownsea, along with deer, herons and even peacocks, which have the freedom to strut around the island at will.

Aside from the glorious wildlife, a key attraction of Brownsea island is its open air theatre, which has been putting on works of Shakespeare annually since 1964. Many visitors choose to take a picnic along to these amazing al fresco events. The island also has an interesting connection with the Scouting movement, began life on the island in 1907 as an experimental camp. Accommodation on the island today is extremely scarce, so it’s mostly a destination for day trips. However there are two holiday cottages by the quayside available for booking if you’re lucky to book at the right time!

Ferries depart every half hour from Poole Quay from 10am, taking foot passengers only. Bicycles are not allowed to be brought on to the island.

13. Jersey, Channel Islands

Jersey, Channel Islands

Jersey may be the largest of the Channel Islands, but at just nine miles by five across, this is a destination you can get to know very well in just a few days. Jersey, just like the Isle of Man and Guernsey is not actually part of the United Kingdom. Situated just off the coast of Normandy, Jersey has a mixture of French and English influences, and its capital Saint Helier is a busy, cultural hub where you can experience great seafood, cinema, food and music festivals and other outdoor events throughout the summer.

Those with an interest in history will appreciate the island’s fascinating Medieval sites, including Elizabeth Castle, which played a key role in defending the island from attack from as far back as 550 A.D through to World War II and into the 20th century. Based on a nearby islet, you can either cross on foot at low tide, or take a regular ferry service across to the castle.

Unlike many other islands around the UK, Jersey is served by a number of major airlines including Easyjet, British Airways and FlyBe, and there’s a choice of direct routes from the mainland. If you want to take your car, you can also take a ferry from Portsmouth or Poole, making it one of the most accessible choices for an island holiday.

14. Lundy

Lundy Island

One of the best UK islands for those who want to escape big city life and get closer to nature, Lundy off the North Devon coast is an idyllic and peaceful retreat where you’ll find an abundance of wildlife and unspoiled green space. With a population of just 28, Lundy is just four miles across and as such it does not have roads or motor vehicles.

Your journey to Lundy will depend on the time of year you choose to travel: in winter, the only option is a seven-minute helicopter ride from Hartland Point in Devon. During the summer, you can take a scheduled ship, The Oldenburg: a wood-panelled motor vessel that takes around two hours to make the crossing from Bideford to Lundy. If you’re lucky, you might spot pods of dolphins en route to the island.

15. Isle of Coll

Isle of Coll

Image via Kloniwotski under Creative Common License.

Do you like the idea of getting away from it all? And by that, we mean really getting away from it? Coll may be your go-to island if so. Hidden away in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, this small isle has been virtually untouched by humans over the years, allowing visitors to really get close to nature.

With virtually no tourist industry, little in the way of mobile reception and only two recognisable roads, one might ask what Coll had going for it as a destination. But we think the island is something of a well-kept secret: it is almost completely surrounded by fine golden sand, is teeming with wonderful wildlife, and its skies clear and pollution-free, making it the perfect spot for stargazing: if you’re thinking of a September visit, take a look at Coll & the Cosmos: a specially curated stargazing weekend break on Coll.

Despite its remoteness there are several ways of getting to Coll: by ferry, from Oban, Tiree or Barra. Crossings take approximately two hours. Flights to Coll from the Scottish mainland are operated by Hebridean Air, but be warned - there are only a handful scheduled each week.

16. Burgh Island

Burgh Island

Burgh Island, located off the South Devon coast, is a well-tended and charming spot with a strong literary and cinematic history. The island inspired much of Agatha Christie’s work, particularly Soldier Island (and then there were none) as well as scenes from the Poirot series. Burgh has also become associated with Noël Coward, who was a regular visitor at its iconic Art Deco hotel; an opulent 1930s landmark that dominates this tiny island’s rocky coastline. Architecturally similar to a cruise ship, the hotel offers a luxurious experience, with its roaring log fires, sun terrace and spa.

Burght is a tidal island, meaning that it’s connected to land by a natural causeway that can be crossed on foot at low tide. When the tide comes in and the island is completely surrounded by water, access is made possible by the ‘sea tractor’; a rather extraordinary vehicle that makes regular crossings between Burgh and the mainland for a small fee.

17. Isle of Arran

Isle of Arran

Nestled between Kintyre and Ayrshire in the Firth of Clyde, Arran is a place of jaw-dropping natural beauty and fascinating pre-historic significance. One of Scotland’s larger islands with a population of over 4,000, Arran offers plenty in the way of activities, as well as a diverse and beautiful landscape. If you want to enjoy a little culture on your island adventure, Arran has a regular comedy festival, folk festival and even a Mountain Festival for hikers.

One of the most mysterious and intriguing sights on Arran is that of the six standing stones at Machrie Moor. The sandstone structures date back to the Bronze Age, and there is evidence of even earlier Neolithic activity around the island. There are a number of guided walks around the site.

You can get to Arran from mainland Scotland by taking the MV Caledonian Isles car ferry, which takes approximately 55 minutes.

18. Hayling Island

Hayling Island

Hayling Island sits just off the coast of Portsmouth, Hampshire. Loved by families in particular, it’s a great place to experience the trappings of a traditional British seaside holiday, complete with funfairs (including some hair-raising roller coasters), beach huts and sandy beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status for their cleanliness.

Hayling has played a big part in the history of holidays and leisure and is credited with being the birthplace of windsurfing, which is still a popular activity on the island. Beaches around the island are quite sheltered with plenty of shallow areas, so this is a great place for beginners to learn the sport.

Access to Hayling Island is easy, as there is a road bridge via the A3023. If you’re taking public transport the nearest station is Havant, which is 5 miles away. Taxis and buses are available to make the rest of the journey on to the island.

19. Mull

Isle of Mull

The second largest of the Inner Hebrides and one of the most popular Scottish islands for holidaymakers, Mull is a wildlife-rich and peaceful spot on the Atlantic coast. Home to rare species such as puffins and dolphins, Mull is also a hotbed of ancient languages: it’s one of a few places left in Scotland where you can still hear Gaelic spoken, although you’ll of course have no trouble getting by in English!

Mull is also a good place for foodies: it produces one of the UK’s best loved and most distinctive varieties of cheddar, so don’t miss your chance to see it being made: tours around the cheese cellars are available, and you can enjoy a delicious ploughman’s lunch at the end - find out more here.

To get to Mull from the UK mainland you’ll need to take one of the ferries operated by CalMac that make the crossing several times a day. Crossings take around 45 minutes, and you can take your car: public transport is sparse on the island so driving the best option during your stay.

20. Isle of Portland

Isle of Portland

The Isle of Portland on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is both a place of prehistoric interest and of maritime significance, as the Royal Navy once had its headquarters here. Its most famous landmark is the iconic red-and-white striped ‘Portland Bill’; an important waypoint for coastal traffic that stands 114 feet high, and can be visited for spectacular views along the South coast and beyond.

On the North side of the island stands Portland Castle: one of Henry VIII’s greatest coastal forts, built to withstand the threat of French and Spanish invasion. This well-preserved castle offers a fascinating trip back in time with its tudor kitchen and gun platforms, as well as its gorgeous heritage gardens and tea room.

Getting to Portland is easy, as it is partly connected to the English mainland by nearby Chesil Beach - the slender shingle structure or ‘tombolo’ made famous by the 2007 novel by Ian Mcewan. A highly unusual natural feature that’s bursting with wildlife, Chesil is an attraction in its own right.

21. Guernsey


Like the Isle of Man and Jersey, Guernsey is not actually a UK island. Set off the coast of Normandy and part of the Channel Islands archipelago, Guernsey is a great spot for an island holiday due to its white sandy beaches, cliff top walks and relatively mild climate compared with much of mainland Britain. Arriving at picturesque St. Peter Port, you’ll be struck by the charming regency architecture; a distinctly English feature that contrasts with the ‘foreignness’ of much of the scenery.

Guernsey has a rich history that offers much in the way of sightseeing opportunities. Victor Hugo lived on the island and wrote Les Miserables in the ornate Hauteville House, which you can explore by guided tour or at your leisure. Castle Cornet is a large, 13th century fortification based on its very own island just off Guernsey’s coast, and there is still a daily ceremonial firing of the canons at noon. Guernsey was occupied by the Germans during most of WW2, and you can learn about this fascinating chapter of the island’s history at the German Occupation Museum.

There are several options for travel to Guernsey: you can either take a ferry from Poole or Portsmouth which takes about 3 hours, or fly from several major UK airports on Aurigny or FlyBe - a much shorter journey of around half an hour.

22. Lewis and Harris

Lewis and Harris

Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides together make up Scotland’s biggest island mass, and there is plenty to explore within its vast, unspoiled terrain. While its name suggests otherwise, Lewis and Harris is a single island, with the Northern part known as Lewis, the Southern as Harris. Over 21,000 people live on the island, so you can combine a nature-watching escape with the chance to engage in more social activities, including dining and drinking in the island’s cosy and welcoming inns, restaurants and coffee shops.

The biggest town on Lewis and Harris is Stornoway, a busy harbour with its own brewery, radio station and neo-Gothic castle. One aspect of local culture worth noting is that the Christian sabbath is still strictly observes by many islanders, so you’ll find that almost everything stops on a Sunday. Tourists have even been known to be turned away from local B&Bs if they make the mistake of arriving on a Sunday, so be sure to check this detail in advance with your accommodation!

Transport to Lewis and Harris is available either by sea or air, with ferries from several Scottish ports. You can fly direct to Stornoway from several Scottish airports including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.

23. St Mary’s Isles of Scilly

St Mary’s Isles of Scilly

The largest of the Scilly Isles (but still a diminutive 2.5 square miles), St Mary’s offers plenty to do for those looking for a relaxing break with plenty of sea and sand. St. Mary’s has two major settlements: Hugh Town and the Old Town, as well as two popular sandy beaches.

St. Mary’s is a great place for family holidays, with plenty of kids’ activities and amenities. Porthcressa Beach has a well-equipped play park, there are regular family swimming sessions at the Normandy swimming baths and if the weather isn’t playing ball, kids can let off steam at the Kings of the Castle soft-play zone in Old Town. But the island has a good programme of activities for visitors of all ages, including horse-riding along the coast and snorkeling with St Mary’s resident seals.

Since St. Mary’s is the ‘gateway’ to all of the Scilly isles it’s also the easiest to reach, with direct sea crossings from Penzance Harbour. There are regular shuttle buses between the airport and all accommodation on the island, and there’s a luggage drop-off service for those arriving by boat, so there’s no need to wait for your bags when you disembark.

24. Islay


The most Southerly of the Inner Hebrides and home to around 3,200 residents, Islay is known as the ‘Queen of the Hebrides’. Located West of Jura and just 40 km North of the Irish coast, this scenic island is loved for its dramatic, rocky views as well as for its whiskey: there are eight distilleries on Islay, all of which produce a single malt that’s enjoyed all over the world.

While nobody visits Scotland or its various isles for the weather, it’s worth bearing in mind that Islay benefits from the warm gulf stream, which results in relatively cool winters with little in the way of frost or snow, and mild to warm summers. So if you’re lucky, you can even indulge in a bit of sunbathing on one of Islay’s beautiful and unspoiled sandy beaches: we recommend Machir Bay which has over a mile of fine white sand and produces some truly spectacular sunsets. Don’t forget to a look at Celtic Cross of Kilchoman on the way.

25. Foula, Shetland Islands

Foula, Shetland Islands

Image via Julian Paren under Creative Commons License.

If the idea of getting as far away from civilisation as possible appeals, you couldn’t get more remote than Foula. Cast off from the main cluster of the Shetland Isles and closer to Norway than it is to parts of Scotland, this tiny scrap of land is one of Britain’s remotest islands. Foula is perhaps best known for being used as the location for the 1937 film The Edge of the World - a description that certainly still resonates.

Foula is currently home to just 31 people who live in 16 traditional crofts, many of which have Old Norse names. The Island came under Scots rule in the 15th Century, and there is still plenty to remind intrepid visitors that they are straying deep into what was once Viking country. Foula means ‘Bird Island in Old Norse, and the rare gulls, puffins and other feathered inhabitants of the island are a big draw for many visitors.

There are no taxis or public transport on the island, but at just 3.5 miles across, the everything on the island is within reasonable walking distance. Getting to Foula is an adventure in itself, and only recommended for those who are up for a challenge! You’ll first need to make your way to Lerwick, the main port of the Shetland Isles, and continue by boat or by air - there are flights to Lerwick from Edinburgh and Glasgow, and ferry crossings from Aberdeen - and overnight trip of nearly 14 hours.

26. Lindisfarne


“The Holy Island” is beautiful and strange in equal measure. The old priory ruins and the castle look strangely out of place with modern fishing boats in the foreground. Across the island, you'll find other interesting contrasts. Moody breezes whiplash the coastline, turning the ocean into an icy landscape that looks completely inhospitable. At the same time, swans bathe in the sunny marshes that are sheltered by the island's hilly interior.

Over weekends and during the summer, the tiny population swells into the thousands. You could go to Lindisfarne for a number of reasons: bird watching, quiet relaxation or trekking. Some people come specifically to photograph the ancient ruins and contemplate the passage of time that links the island to medieval society. Just don't forget to watch the tide - the road to the “Holy Island” also disappears - literally - as the tide rises.

27. Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island is an Irish dream, just a short ferry ride from the docks at Ballycastle. Bright green hills blanket this small, but marvellously picturesque, island. The cliffs show off a distinctly Irish flavour that make it great for walks. Below the cliffs you have a bird's eye perspective of the Atlantic ocean (quite literally, as the biggest sea-bird population call the cliffs home), as well as a view of the other wild residents.

The rugged shoreline is home to a large seal colony, making it a hit with nature lovers. For people wanting an actual 'getaway' in the truest sense of the word, you will be very pleased with the tranquil isolation surrounding you. The village is small and intimate, and most visitors leave with a few friends by the end of their stay.

28. Isle of Tiree

Isle of Tiree

The Isle of Tiree gets our vote as the best summer camping island in Britain. It gets plenty of sunshine, thanks to the moderating effect of the Gulf Stream, which makes the evenings warm enough to sleep under the stars. The island's flat terrain and postcard-worthy beaches also provide campers with a solid base to rest their heads at night. It's a smaller UK island and the most westerly of the inner Hebrides, so tourism is not a massive industry, but you'll generally find a comfortable crowd of families and surfers who are there to enjoy the perfect beaches, warm weather and the bird life.

29. St Kilda

St Kilda

A day trip to St Kilda is like visiting Jurassic Park. It's a mesmerising place that doesn't feel like part of the real world, and not just because of the enormous cliffs that tower over the jagged coastline, which happen to be the highest in the British Isles! Part of what makes this British island so wonderful is the the untameable ocean currents and the isolation of this archipelago; it lies some forty miles west of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. The islands are home to some of the oldest remaining Bronze and Iron Age ruins making this archipelago an unmissable UNESCO World Reserve. A walking tour of the islands is like stepping back into ancient times. Combined with the beautiful marine and bird life, it's unmissable if you are close enough to book a day trip - the islands are uninhabited except for a few National Trust workers and military staff.

If you're going on a UK Break, then have you considered UK Travel Insurance to ensure you travel with total peace of mind?

Travel Insurance Reviews

Customers have scored Essential Travel 8.5 (ratings from 0-10) based on 1551 reviews.

You may also like...

Top 10 Britain's Best Beaches

You don't have to leave the country to enjoy sandy beaches, water sports, coastal wildlife and seaside fun this summer, just see Essential Travel's pick of Britain's top ten beaches...

read more >