Did you know that there are over 6,000 islands in the UK?
So forget about the coconut palms and palm trees, it’s time to swap your beach vacation for an island adventure. Natasha Harding chooses eight first places.
Lundy – Bristol Channel
THIS three-mile-long island is a popular tourist spot – 18,000 people a year come to wander the unspoiled cliffs, spot seals in the sea below, and watch puffins fly overhead as they explore.
GETTING THERE : The island is connected to the mainland by the supply ship MS Oldenburg. Day trips are available from Bideford and Ilfracombe in Devon.
WHERE TO STAY: A range of accommodation is available on the island, all managed by the Landmark Trust (Landmarktrust.org.uk).
WHERE TO EAT: Taverne Marisco, Lundy (01237 431 831).
Bryher – Scillies
FORMER Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo is a regular visitor here.
Bryher’s bustling coastline was the inspiration for his 1985 children’s story Why The Whales Came. When it was shot on film a few years later, there was no better place to shoot it than here.
GETTING THERE : Tresco Boat Services operates out of St Mary’s.
WHERE TO STAY: Camping Bryher, Bryher (01 720 422 068 or see bryhercampsite.fr).
WHERE TO EAT: The Crab Shack, Hell Bay (01720 422 947 or hell. co.uk/dining-with-us/crab-shack).
Hoy – Orkney Islands
THE Old Man of Hoy, a 137m-high twisted rock formation rising from the waves, has watched over the eastern seas of Orkney for over 250 years. A path from Rackwick Bay leads to an excellent vantage point.
GETTING THERE : There are two ferry points on the Orkney mainland, at Houton and Stromness (01856 872044, orkneyferries.co.uk).
WHERE TO STAY: The Stromabank Hotel, Hoy (01856 701 494 or see stromabank.co.uk).
WHERE TO EAT: Beneth’ill Cafe, Hoy (01856 791 119 or consult benethillcafe.co.uk).
Lindisfarne – Northumberland
ALSO KNOWN AS Holy Island. The tides here dictate a lot, from when you can grab a coffee to postal deliveries. Wait for the day trippers to leave and watch the sun go down.
GETTING THERE : The causeway to Lindisfarne is off the A1 just south of Haggerston. Study the tide times carefully before crossing, to make sure you have enough time.
WHERE TO STAY: Lindisfarne Hotel, Lindisfarne (01289 389 273, thelindisfarnehotel.co.uk).
WHERE TO EAT: Pilgrims Cafe, Marygate, Lindisfarne (01289 389 109, pilgrimscoffee.com).
Coll – Inner Hebrides
This is the place to come for aspiring astronomers who want stunning views of the night sky. Coll achieved Dark Sky status in 2013, an award for areas with very low light pollution.
GETTING THERE : From the mainland, the ferry departs from Oban. See calmac.fr. Coll has an airport, with flights to Oban and Tiree.
WHERE TO STAY: Coll Bunkhouse in Arinagour, island of Coll (01879 230217, collbunkhouse.com).
WHERE TO EAT: The Island Cafe, First Port of Coll, Shore Street, Arinagour, Isle of Coll (01879 230 262, theislandcafe.business.site).
Berneray – Outer Hebrides
The North Uist road will take you to the east coast of the island, but the west coast is where the real beauty is, with seas so clear you’ll think you’re in the tropics.
WHERE TO STAY: Seal View Bed and Breakfast, 16 Backhill, Berneray (01876 540209, sealview.com).
WHERE TO EAT: Berneray Shop and Bistro, Berneray (01876 540 288, or consult bernerayshopandbistro.co.uk)
Iona – Inner Hebrides
APPROXIMATELY 130,000 visitors take the ferry to Iona each year to experience this spiritual destination and retreat. On the west coast of Scotland, it is considered the birthplace of Scottish Christianity.
WHERE TO STAY: Argyll Hotel, Iona (01681 700 334 or see argyllhoteliona.fr).
WHERE TO EAT: Martyrs Bay Restaurant, Iona (01681 700 382, martyrsbay.co.uk).
Eel Pie Island – Thames
In the 1960s, Eel Pie was one of the hippest concert halls in the country, thanks to the 19th-century hotel that bore the island’s name.
The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Pink Floyd have all performed here. Unfortunately, the hotel burned down in the early 1970s, shutting down the iconic venue. But Eel Pie maintains a creative vibe and regularly holds art exhibitions.
GETTING THERE : A walkway takes visitors to Eel Pie from Twickenham Embankment.
WHERE TO STAY: Alexander Pope Hotel, Cross Deep, Twickenham (020 8892 3050, alexanderpope.co.uk).
This is an edited excerpt from Treasured Islands by Peter Naldrett (Conway, Â£ 18.99) which is now available.