Worm’s Head, Gower peninsula
In a nutshell A rollercoaster route alongside the rocky dragon’s backbone of one of many UK’s most exhilarating islands, filled with pure wondersDistance 7.8kmWalking time 2 hoursDifficulty/terrain Average/rocky foreshore, straightforward paths and steeper scrambles
uk islands map
Wanting throughout from Rhosilli, the steep ridge of the island and the spiralling Outer Head seems to be extra the protect of a mountaineer, however up shut it’s a sequence of thrilling walks and quick scrambles. Begin at Rhosilli village and observe the coast path above Rhossili Bay. Cross the rocky tidal causeway at low tide on to the island, which is split into three elements, every joined by low-lying rocky sections that should be scrambled throughout.
The primary part is the steep-sided, 30-metre flat-topped Interior Head, the south shore of which is flat and grassy and preferrred for wild tenting. Cross Low Neck, a jagged rock platform carved by the ocean leaving deep chasms to scramble over to achieve Center Head, with its spectacular pure rock arch, the ethereal Satan’s Bridge. Outer Head is a brief rock scramble that makes for a spectacular finale with unimaginable views throughout the Bristol Channel to Lundy Island.
Getting there Causeway is open 2½ hours earlier than and after low tide – use the BBC tide tables for Mumbles. Outer Head is off limits from 1 March to 31 August to guard nesting birds; the remainder of the island is open. although and might be circumnavigated in 90 minutes or so
Keep The Outdated Rectory overlooking Worm’s Head (sleeps 7 from £1,420 for 3 nights); or the King Arthur in close by Reynoldstone (doubles from £85 B&B)
Hilbre island, Wirral

In a nutshell Wave-sculpted cliffs with caves, arches, and geos to discover on an exhilarating estuary stroll to a miniature archipelagoDistance 8.Three kmWalking time 2 hoursDifficulty/terrain Average/tidal sands and dirt; path on island
On the mouth of the Dee, Hilbre is a part of an extended rocky strand that, along with Little Eye and Center Eye, kinds the mini Hilbre archipelago. You may stroll between the islands at low tide (warning is required although, the ocean strikes quick; protected entry is 2 hours both facet of low tide). Within the swirling mist, the joys of crossing the huge sands of Liverpool Bay is heightened by figuring out the tide is creeping in the direction of you. On a sunny weekend, although, there’s a cheerful exodus of picnic-toting people on a household journey from surrounding cities.
Ranging from Wirral Crusing Centre at West Kirby, head west out on to the sands and the bustle of the seaside city quickly offers option to the calls of seabirds and unfurling views of the English and Welsh coastlines. The primary of the three islets, Little Eye, seems like a miniature Robinson Crusoe island with golden sands topped by massive ferns and vibrant wildflowers. Bear north-west and stroll over Center Eye island to Hilbre, accessed by way of a ramp previous sculpted, deep pink sandstone cliffs – the Wirral’s personal Uluru!
Discover your individual straightforward route round Hilbre’s foreshore to find superbly sculpted cliffs, caves, stacks, wave-cut platforms and small sandy seashores. There’s additionally an eclectic mixture of buildings, such because the generator that when powered the decoy lights, a chicken observatory (a part of a nationwide community that screens migrating birds) and the ruins of a lifeboat station.
Getting there Verify the BBC tide tables Hilbre Island. Observe the advisable route – don’t cross on to Hilbre: the mud is harmful.
Keep Close by Leasowe Fort (from £79 room-only, £99 B&B) or Victorian nation home Peel Hey (doubles from £85 B&B).
Samson, Isles of Scilly

{Photograph}: Alamy
In a nutshell This tiny uninhabited island is a wealthy and peaceable wildlife haven stacked with ruins relationship again to Neolithic timesDistance 3.Eight kmWalking time 1½ hoursDifficulty/terrain Straightforward/rocky foreshore scramble and sandy paths
Step off the boat from St Mary’s (the most important Scilly isle) into the glowing, clear waters of Bar Level within the north and wade on to the abandoned white seashore. It’s tempting to cease right here and absorb the fantastic thing about Scilly’s largest uninhabited island, however scramble south alongside the rocky foreshore and it’s not far to the neck of the island between East and West Porth, the place ruined fishermen’s sheds sit amongst wildflower gardens and white sandy seashores. Observe the coast across the southern tip to Tarbarrel Rock, with fabulous views of the rocky western islands. The stroll continues previous West Porth and on to the northern tip for some nice views throughout to Bryher.
Again at Bar Level, an data board particulars inland paths for exploring the prehistoric burial grounds of North Hill and the ruined cottages of the deserted settlement on South Hill, the natural world you’ll encounter and the island’s historical past. In case you’ve seen sufficient, chill on the seashore with a picnic (convey provides) or courageous a swim within the clear sea. From April to September, entry to elements of the foreshore could also be restricted to guard breeding seabirds, and seals beginning to pup right here from August shouldn’t be disturbed.
Getting there The boat from St Mary’s takes 15 minutes (grownup £10, little one £5)
Keep The laid-back Mincarlo B&B on St Mary’s (doubles from £83 B&B); or camp on the Garrison on St Mary’s (from £11pp, youngsters half-price)
Scolt Head, Norfolk

{Photograph}: Robert Harding/Alamy
In a nutshell A wild stroll by means of sun-warmed channels and one in all nature’s nice seashores, with loads of foraging and secluded swimsDistance 13.8kmWalking time four hoursDifficulty/terrain Average/creek beds, mud banks, sand and shingle seashore
Off the coast between Brancaster and Wells-next-the-Sea, this Nationwide Belief-owned island is made up of sand dunes, salt marsh, mudflats and shingle, and is famend for its birdlife. The stroll entails crossing two tidal creeks to get to the island – even at low tide there might be some water to wade by means of.
From Burnham Overy Staithe, a historic harbourside village on the mainland, wade throughout Overy Creek and one of many best salt marshes within the UK, with its wealth of samphire, sea lavender, and sea purslane. To achieve the island, cross Overy Cockle Strand: at low tide you may stroll; at excessive tide competent swimmers can swim. As soon as on the island, wade west alongside the south shore to the top of Norton Creek, the place there are many heat and secluded swimming pools to wash in and nice birdlife, together with uncommon terns, spoonbills and shiny ibis. Proceed alongside the creek, and the place the Burnham Deepdale path crosses it, flip north to cross the marsh to achieve The Hut, a characterful shingle-roofed constructing utilized by birdwatchers.
Stroll alongside the wild and in depth sands, shingle and dunes of the north coast, with its wealthy tangle of colonising grasses, sea holly and orchids, again to the principle seashore. Swimmers can return to Burnham Overy Staithe just by letting the incoming tide float them gently again. For an extended, extra adventurous route, there’s an choice to proceed to the western tip earlier than returning alongside the north shore from The Hut.
Getting there Wade the channels two hours both facet of low tide, use BBC tide tables for Hunstanton, that are additionally posted on the door of the Burnham Overy boathouse. The island might be visited by boat with Peter Bickell (07836 523396, climate allowing from early June to early September, £6 every means)
Keep Pub with rooms The Hero (doubles from £95 B&B) in Burnham Overy
Ynys Giftan, Cardigan Bay

{Photograph}: Sid Frisby/Alamy
In a nutshell Salt marsh and huge tidal sands with deep, sun-warmed swimming pools framed by majestic Snowdonian mountains and the fairytale turrets of PortmeirionDistance 4½ kmWalking time 1 hourDifficulty/terrain Straightforward/salt marsh, low-tide estuary sand
On the head of the lengthy Dwyryd estuary, one of the crucial unspoilt locations in Cardigan Bay, Ynys Gifftan is surrounded by huge tidal sands, salt marsh and mountains.
From Talsarnau railway station on the mainland, head north-west on the monitor, then observe the apparent derelict fence line into the salt marsh, a puzzle of gleaming curves of interconnected channels and sun-dried mud hollows wealthy in wildflowers, with otters, seasonal wildfowl, egrets and herons to identify. Navigate across the bigger water-filled channels on dry land – or soar in and squash by means of the gloopy mud of the channel bottoms.
Cross the tidal sands to the rocks on the southern tip of the island and benefit from the heat, emerald-green swimming pools. These are good for diving and swimming in, or just absorbing views of the fairytale turrets of Portmeirion, the mountains of Snowdonia and the distant ruins of Harlech Fort. Proceed across the sands of the foreshore, making for the welcome shade of the bushes overhanging the north tip of the island, then discover the ruins of the previous farmhouse midway down the east coast.
Getting there Entry two hours both facet of excessive tide: examine BBC tide tables for Criccieth
Keep For a deal with, the four-star Lodge Portmeirion (doubles from £139 room-only, £139, £154 B&B, extra in excessive season); or Edwardian Gwrach Ynys Nation Guesthouse (doubles from £70 B&B); or back-of-the-beach tenting (from £6 grownup, £2 little one)
Vallay, Outer Hebrides

The deserted ruins of Vallay Home. {Photograph}: Richard Burdon/Alamy
In a nutshell Imposing mansion ruins, gorgeous wildflowers, abandoned white seashores and wild tenting opportunitiesDistance 15.7kmWalking time four hoursDifficulty/terrain Average/tidal sands, grassy foreshore and dune tracks
Ranging from Aird Glas, off the north coast of North Uist, the stroll begins with an epic 2km crossing of the tidal sands of Vallay Strand, passing the 2 smaller islands of Torogaigh and Stangram. Intention for the ruins of the Edwardian home and peer by means of the home windows at its tiled fireplaces, wealthy red-painted partitions and plastered ceilings. Observe the sandy foreshore in a clockwise path, rounding the island’s western tip to be blown away by the staggering great thing about the wild seashores and the breathtaking views of the St Kilda archipelago – the remotest a part of Britain, 60km away.
The white seashores of the north shore are backed by undulating dunes, with the mountains of Harris and the islands of Pabbay and Taransay as a backdrop. The route by means of the machair continues around the jap tip – from mid-June to mid-August the palette of inexperienced is splashed with the pink of poppies and the purples and whites of orchids, clovers, daisies and campanulas. Return alongside the animal tracks of the south coast, the place two standing stones precede the stays of a cross, dun and chapel.
Getting there Vallay Strand could also be crossed as much as 4 hours both facet of low tide, examine BBC tide tables for Loch Maddy
Keep Wild camp (authorized in Scotland) on Vallay’s north shore; a swanky treehouse in North Uist (sleeps two from £585 for 3 nights); or the West Ford Inn, which does nice meals and has a snug bothy for 2 (£85)
Foulness, Essex

In a nutshell Simply up the coast from Southend-on-Sea, Essex’s best-kept secret is accessed by way of the Broomway, a treacherous path by means of the sandsDistance 29kmWalking time 6 hoursDifficulty/terrain Arduous/foreshore strolling on the Broomway; straightforward tracks and paths on the island
From Maplin Sands on the northern financial institution of the Thames estuary, observe the historic Broomway, the place the incoming tide is quicker than most individuals can run and the MoD likes to fireplace missiles over the seashore. The route is a public proper of means nevertheless it’s usually closed on weekdays. At weekends, although, with a little bit of planning, that is one fabulous journey, however don’t neglect your compass.
Beginning at Wakering Stairs, head 400 metres out on to Maplin Sands then observe a compass bearing of 61 levels to the Maypole then 50 levels alongside the foreshore to stroll the 9.7 km stretch of monochrome sand and sky that meets on the silver line of the distant North Sea. Entry the island at Fisherman’s Head, observe paths previous quaint weatherboard and brick homes to Crouch Nook on the north shore, then proceed alongside the River Crouch. Inland, the panorama is dotted with mysterious watchtowers, launch towers, unusual domes and fenced compounds. Flip south alongside the River Roach and inland to Church Finish and the heritage centre housed in a dilapidated Gothic church and residential to an eclectic mixture of island artefacts, plus tea and truffles. Return alongside the Broomway by way of Rugwood Head.
Getting there The Broomway is harmful three hours earlier than excessive tide. It’s normally moist, so take acceptable footwear and all the time examine entry with MoD Shoeburyness.
Keep Hamilton’s Boutique Lodge on the historic Royal Terrace in Southend (doubles from £85 B&B).
Alderney, Channel Islands

Fort Corblets taken from Corblets Bay, Alderney. {Photograph}: Alamy
In a nutshell A fortified coastal path with dramatic cliffs, exuberant wildlife and secret underground tunnels to discover by torchlightDistance 18.2 kmWalking time 4½ hoursDifficulty/terrain Straightforward/undulating coastal path, elective steeper sections
Alderney (not a part of the UK, however too good to overlook) affords a number of distinction: within the north there’s the best focus of army fortifications and seashores, whereas the south is all about unimaginable wildlife and cliffs.
Begin at Braye Harbour and head west alongside the north coast to Fort Tourgis, the most important of the Victorian fortresses and an incredible place to discover. Clonque Bay seashore is a favorite for rockpoolers and results in the spectacularly positioned Fort Clonque. Ascend a rugged path to the clifftops for nice views of the uninhabited island of Burhou, with its colonies of puffins, and on the western tip, Les Étacs, a rocky outcrop topped white by a swirling colony of gannets (2% of the world’s inhabitants of northern gannets).
On the south coast, go the Wildlife Bunker, as soon as dwelling to a German indicators crew and now a celebration of the island’s nature, with shiny interpretation boards. Proceed to the west finish of Longis Bay for a well-earned relaxation on the Outdated Barn, an incredible place for lunch or afternoon tea. Proceed alongside the bay previous the tidal causeway to Raz Island. The north coast return route affords great swimming at Corblets Seashore, adjoining Arch Seashore and neighbouring Saye Bay. Simply past, discover Bibette Head’s tunnels and underground rooms with a torch earlier than returning to Braye previous Fort Albert and the big curve of Braye Bay.
Getting there Ferries run from Guernsey between 24 Might and 29 September (from £50 return). Ferries run to Guernsey from Poole and Portsmouth (from £34pp one-way, condorferries.co.uk)
Keep Pub with rooms The Georgian Home (doubles from £100 B&B) ; or camp at Saye Seashore (grownup from £7, little one half-price, outfitted tent rent from £45)
Steep Holm, Bristol Channel

{Photograph}: David Porter Superb Photos/Alamy
In a nutshell Take pleasure in panoramic views from a former army outpost turned nature reserveDistance 2.2kmWalking time 45 minutesDifficulty/terrain Straightforward/straightforward paths, elective steep and uncovered cliff paths
As you bounce over the waves on an exhilarating RIB trip from Weston-super-Mare, this mysterious lump of rock slowly comes into view: outlines of ruined buildings emerge on the cliffs, conjuring photos of smugglers and pirates swigging liquor.
From the touchdown seashore, climb the zigzag path previous the ruins of Cliff Cottage and Inn and on by means of wind-stunted sycamore woods. On the plateau, take the simple path alongside the south coast previous the barracks, dwelling to the island’s museum, cafe and tranquil gardens and a superb place to identify big sluggish worms and uncommon Mediterranean wild peonies. Proceed to Break up Rock Battery, a favorite nesting web site for gulls, and head into one of many underground munitions shops to seek for the big egg sacks of the Culvert spider that hold from the ceiling earlier than reaching Rudder Rock Battery, on the dramatic sea arches of the island’s west tip. Very good views unfold of the Somerset and south Wales coastlines throughout the Bristol Channel. Alongside the north coast, discover extra army ruins. Return to the Barracks or take an elective steep descent to South Touchdown to see the lime kiln. At low tide rock-hop again to East Seashore if the birds have completed nesting.
Getting there By boat from Weston or Cardiff with Bay Island Voyages (£40 return, £35 little one, name 07393 470476 to ebook). Extra particulars at steepholm.org.uk
Keep A secluded shepherd’s hut a brief distance from Weston (sleeps two from £100)
Holy Isle, Firth of Clyde

In a nutshell A Tibetan Buddhist imaginative and prescient realised on an unspoilt island the place residents stay in concord with natureDistance 8.7 kmWalking time 2½ hoursDifficulty/terrain Average/steep climbs on rugged paths, straightforward path alongside west coast
With towering peaks, retreat centres and tranquil gardens, Holy Isle has rather a lot in frequent with Tibet. The ferry from Arran island takes 10 minutes, nevertheless it feels a world away. The stroll begins with an introduction to the island given by a monk amongst massive white stupas and fluttering prayer flags. Then you’re by yourself. The primary half of the hike is thru wooden and moorland on the rugged path over Mullach Beag and Mullach Mòr, the very best level on the island. On the steep downhill leg, small hermit-like cells half-buried within the hillside are the properties of two nuns on a lifetime retreat.
The second half of the stroll is by way of the gentler coastal path previous sacred caves lined with the marks and crosses of runic inscriptions and enormous and vibrant work of Buddhist deities on rocks alongside the shoreline. Nearer to the retreat centre, fruit-filled orchards and vegetable-stacked gardens are tranquil locations to attend for the returning ferry.
Getting there Day guests are suggested to ebook the boat from Arran (£12 return)
Keep On a summer time retreat (doubles from £92) on the island; a yurt on Arran (from £70, sleep two to 6); or wild camp (authorized in Scotland) on the east coast of Arran at Glen Sannox, north of Brodick
That is an edited extract from Lisa Drewe’s Islandeering: Adventures Across the Fringe of Britain’s Hidden Islands (Wild Issues Publishing, £16.99)
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