Mystical Welsh islands  holiday cottages

Mystical Welsh islands

Laura 10 June 2021

Did you know, there are around 100 islands around the spectacular Welsh Coast?

Here is our selection of the top Welsh islands and how you can enjoy a memorable magical day out exploring what nature has to offer during your luxury holiday in Wales.

Holiday cottages in Wales

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Skomer Island

Masses of cute puffins, a sea of bluebells and plenty of fresh sea air; Skomer National Nature Reserve is a truly special island lying off the coast of beautiful Pembrokeshire in West Wales. 

If you’re a fan of wildlife then you’ll love a day out at this magical place. Pretty puffins whirl around you while seals relax on the island's sheltered bays. Skomer is also home to porpoise, dolphins and fulmars, as well as the largest Manx shearwater colony in the whole world! 

This wild, West Wales island is full of mystery and adventure, just waiting to be explored. 

What will you discover on special Skomer?

How to get there: Boats depart from Martin’s Haven from April to September, taking around 15 minutes. Book with Pembrokeshire Islands Boat Trips

Pembrokeshire cottages

Bardsey Island, Llŷn Peninsula, Gwynedd

Bardsey Island

Right at the end of the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales lies Bardsey Island. Reached by boat, you can enjoy a day of exploring this fascinating island, spotting puffins, enjoying the views of the abbey ruins, and seeing seals napping on the rocks. 

A dramatic coastline, fascinating history and plenty of wildlife are to be discovered on this wild, Welsh island. Bardsey is listed as a Special Area of Conservation, a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also set 2 miles off the beautiful Llŷn Peninsula Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - talk about a natural wonderland!

Known once as the holiest place in Britain, it’s believed to hide the graves of 20,000 saints and even King Arthur. 

How to get there: Book a 20-minute boat trip from Porth Meudwy beach at the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula with Bardsey Boat Trips, weather permitting, and experience the calm and tranquillity of this unique island.

Llyn Peninsula cottages

Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Skokholm Island

Rugged Skokholm is another dreamy island off the beautiful coast of Pembrokeshire in West Wales. Wild and dramatic, the sandstone cliffs of Skokholm meet the Irish Sea which crashes into the coast: a scene set for many an adventurous photographer. 

Bird watchers will love Skokholm for its vast array of bird species. During the spring and summer months, thousands of nesting seabirds return to their island home to nest. Spot puffins, guillemots, razorbills, gulls, Manx shearwaters, storm petrels, as well as Atlantic grey seals.

Special Skokholm is a National & Marine Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and is also part of the Skomer and Skokholm Special Protection Area.

How to get there: The best way to see Skokholm is on a wildlife safari or boat cruise with Pembrokeshire Island Boat Trips. Day visits are not possible but guests can stay on the island for a short part of the year.

West Wales holiday cottages

Puffin Island, Anglesey, North Wales

Puffin Island

Spectacular scenery and wildlife can be seen on this incredible island.

Puffin Island is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. It's an important island for seabirds, with many returning in the spring to breed. The enormous variety includes razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, shags, fulmars, herring gulls, oystercatchers, puffins and cormorants - they all love this incredible island just as much as we do!

Along with its marvellous collection of seabirds, Puffin Island is also home to Atlantic grey seals, and you may even spot the odd porpoise or dolphin too.

How to get there: The best way to see pretty Puffin Island is on a leisurely boat trip with Seacoast Safaris or Anglesey Boat Trips. The best time for seeing the brilliant birds is between April and July.  

Anglesey cottages

Caldey Island, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Caldey Island

This special island off Tenby is a truly peaceful place. Enjoy stunning views of this island from seaside Tenby and take a trip here (weather permitting) from Tenby Castle Beach or harbour, depending on the tide. 

Caldey Island is home to Cistercian monks, and over a thousand years of remote living and prayer have made this beautiful island a haven of tranquillity and peace. The monks craft their own yummy chocolate and fabulous fragrances for sale in the Caldey Island shop. 

Bird enthusiasts should pay a visit to neighbouring St Margaret’s Island, which is home to one of the largest colonies of cormorants in England and Wales. The northern and western cliffs are also home to razorbill, guillemot and kittiwake. 

Caldey Island is also a haven for wildlife and is one of the only places in the country where you can see red squirrels, who arrived on the island as part of a conservation programme of rat eradication to help other wildlife thrive, such as puffins and hedgehogs. 

Blessed with beautiful golden sandy beaches, secret coves, scenic walks and incredible views of Tenby and the south coast of England, Caldey is a must-visit on a holiday in Tenby

How to get there: Book your ticket from April to October from the Caldey Island Kiosk at the top of Tenby Harbour. At high tide, the boats leave from Tenby Harbour; at low tide, they leave from the landing stage on Tenby Castle Beach.

Tenby cottages

Ynys Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey, North West Wales

Ynys Llanddwyn Island

Ynys Llanddwyn is a small tidal island off the west coast of Anglesey. It's a magical island home to the Welsh patron saint of love, St Dwynwen. And what’s not to love about this special place? It's perfect for a romantic getaway

Discover the ruins of St. Dwynwen’s Church together, or wander the fantastic network of footpaths in the fairytale forest. Ynys Llanddwyn makes for an idyllic picnic spot or an exhilarating walk admiring its rolling dunes, iconic Twr Mawr lighthouse, historic buildings and large rocky outcrops. 

Llanddwyn Bay is a fine beach backed by stunning sand dunes, be sure to take a camera to capture the spectacular views of Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula. 

How to get there: The island is cut off at the highest tides so please check before venturing out. Extensive parking can be found at Llanddwyn beach/Newborough Forest and it’s around a 30-minute/1.5-mile walk to the lighthouse. 

North Wales cottages

Grassholm Island, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Grassholm Island

Grassholm Island National Nature Reserve is a small island located 11 miles off the coast of West Wales. It is home to around 39,000 pairs of breeding gannets (10% of the world’s gannet population), which is the only gannet colony in Wales and the third-largest in the Northern Hemisphere! 

Just missing out on Valentine's day, the gannets return from late February onwards, with lots of males bringing materials to build cosy nests ready to attract mates. An egg is laid in April and the baby chicks hatch in June; they’re cared for by their loving parents until they are ready to leave this special island in late August to September. Grassholm is the best place in Wales to see this amazing gannet gathering.

It’s not just the island that is a hive of activity; the choppy waters around Grassholm are also an ideal feeding ground for dolphins and porpoises. 

How to get there: Grassholm is an RSPB reserve with a no landing policy, so the best way to see Grassholm is on a Grassholm boat cruise with Pembrokeshire Island Boat Trips or Voyages of Discovery

Pembrokeshire cottages

Worms Head, Rhossili, Gower Peninsula, South West Wales

Worms Head

This tidal island is the furthest westerly point on the Gower Peninsula Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Breathtaking Rhossili Bay stretches along three miles of golden sandy beach overlooked by an oh-so-cute little lonely white cottage. 

A National Nature Reserve, this long, slender, serpentine-shaped island rises up from the seabed and takes its name from the native Old English word for dragon, Wyrm, and we can see why!

The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was stranded here once and described his terror at being cut off with just a bag of sandwiches and a book, so best check those tides before venturing out! 

How to get there: Access to Worms Head is possible for about two and a half hours on either side of low tide, so please always check the tide times to make sure it’s safe to cross

South Wales cottages

Flat Holm Island, Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan

Flat Holm Island

Five miles off the coast of Cardiff lies the stunning island of Flatholm. Spot this island in the distance from Cardiff Bay barrage on a clear day. 

With its wealth of wildlife and history, it’s easy to see the pull of this offshore island. Take a free guided tour and learn all about its smuggling past and lighthouse. In 1897, the first-ever wireless signals were transmitted across the sea by Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian physicist, the message being “Are you ready?”. 

After a day of learning and exploring, enjoy a drink at The Gull and Leek, Wales’ most southerly pub, and visit the souvenir shop for a memorable trinket. 

How to get there: A day trip from Cardiff by boat provides you with three hours to explore and marvel at the wonderful wildlife and spectacular views. 

South Wales cottages

Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Ramsey Island

Owned and protected by the RSPB, Ramsey Island National Nature Reserve is a haven for seabirds and seals. 

Peregrines and choughs nest here in the spring, taking advantage of the island’s high cliffs. A sea of beautiful heather comes alive in the summer, which attracts lots of beautiful butterflies and bees. And the outbursts of nature doesn’t stop there; Atlantic grey seals have their cute fluffy pups here in the autumn. 

How to get there: Land on Ramsey from April to October with Thousand Island Expeditions, leaving Thursday to Sunday (weather permitting) from the old RNLI Lifeboat Station at St Justinians, St Davids. On arrival, you’ll be greeted by one of the RSPB staff who will give you lots of interesting information about the island, along with a map for you to explore. 

Alternatively, take a boat trip around Pembrokeshire’s fantastic islands with Voyages of Discovery, who also run whale and dolphin trips as well as fishing trips.

Pembrokeshire cottages

Holy Island, Anglesey, North West Wales

Holy Island

Just off the west coast of Anglesey lies Holy Island, a charming island full of beautiful beaches and fun activities.

You’ll easily be entertained on this enchanting island with a vast range of activities such as golf, horse riding, sea fishing, water sports, climbing and bird watching. 

Holy Island gets its name due to the high number of ancient standing stones, burial chambers and other religious sites found there. 

Refresh at one of the local restaurants, pubs or ice cream parlours after a day of exploring and adventuring.

How to get there: Take the A55 straight through the middle of Anglesey and across a causeway towards Holyhead town on the island.

North Wales cottages

Please respect the countryside during your visit and leave nothing but warm memories of a day well spent. 

Map of Welsh islands

Enjoy a day exploring and plan your route to these top Welsh islands.

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Stay with us in Wales

We have a fantastic selection of hand-picked luxury cottages and magical places to stay in Wales to inspire your next UK holiday. Take your pick of luxury hot tub cottages, glamping experiences, cottages by the sea and pet-friendly palaces, and soak up Wales’s picture-postcard scenery. 

Start planning your memorable escape in Wales by browsing our wonderful Welsh cottages, and treat yourself to a well-deserved luxury break in Wales.

Discover more of Wales

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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