Blog

Island Hopping Around The UK

8 February 2022

When it comes to an island adventure, where’s the first place that pops into your mind?  

Perhaps it’s the tropic islands of the Caribbean, with their luminescent blue seas skirting around white-sand beaches, bordered by palm trees and colourful wildlife?  

Or maybe your mind immediately heads the other way, down to Asia where the islands of Indonesia rise out of the ocean like a thousand pebbles in a shallow pool. 

But for a moment did it ever wander closer to home? 

Well, we’re about to show you why it should. 

Your next island adventure

Here, we’ve gathered two islands from around the UK, each with their own unique beauty and interesting things to do.   

So, cruise down to the coast and jump on a ferry, it’s time to get island hopping around the UK! 

Isles of Scilly

When you step foot out of the car and look out at the sea stretching away from Land’s End, it’d be easy to think you’ve reached the edge of the world, not just the UK.  

But on a day when the air is as clear as a pane of glass, you might just spot some arching shapes jutting out and silhouetted against the sky.  

Let us introduce you to the Isles of Scilly.  

One word: Beaches 

The archipelago sits 28-miles off the Cornish coast, and somehow manages to feel uncannily familiar to the mainland and a world apart at the same time.  

At Scilly, it almost feels like at the end of every street, there are white-sand beaches waiting for you.  

From Pentle Bay on the isle of Tresco, to Great Bay on St. Martin’s – you don’t have to go far before you’re lounging by the sea. 

Abbey Garden

But you can’t spend all your time at the beach, and there are so many other incredible things to see on the isles. 

Head to Tresco Abbey Garden if you’re looking to incorporate a little botanical flare into your adventure.  

Wandering around the gardens, you’ll be convinced at times you’ve been transported to the Caribbean.  

Along the intricate net of pathways through the area, plants and wildlife normally reserved to Mediterranean climate zones flourish around you.  

Be sure to spare some time to explore the Valhalla Museum within the gardens. They showcase an incredible collection of figureheads from shipwrecks around the islands. 

Get that swimsuit out 

When it comes to beaches, if seeing who can dig the biggest hole and sandy picnics aren’t your thing, it’s St Martin’s Watersports you’re after. 

Hire a kayak or paddleboard for a few hours and roll with the waves of the ocean around the edge of the island. 

The whole of Scilly feels like another world.  

On the sea all you can hear is the ocean lapping against your kayak and the gentle sway of the waves, leaving you with a new profound idea of what peace and quiet really is.    

A glass of wine and some sunshine

Once you’re finished on the water, head inland to St Martin’s Vineyard and Winery.  

James and Holly, the owners, moved to the island in 2020. They focus on “working with the land to make something truly unique and hyper-local” doing so “organically and regeneratively to ensure the vineyard supports as much biodiversity as possible”.   

Enjoy a self-guided tour before settling in the sunshine with a tasting menu of wines produced on-site.  

It’s the best of both worlds really - you get to enjoy a remarkable glass of wine and you’re supporting an independent business that are working with the earth and not against it. 

Isle of Arran

Just off the west coast of mainland Scotland you’ll find the Isle of Arran, surrounded by the cool waters of the north on all sides. 

Start your adventure off by exploring the nature of the island. Rumour has it Robert the Bruce took shelter at King’s Cave, in the west.  

After following the trail of the same name, through woodlands and along the shore, you’ll spot its arching sandstone entrance watching over the rocky beach below. 

From wine to whisky

From the wonderful world of wine, we move into the realm of single malts and aging oak barrels when we head into Scotland.  

Whether you’re wandering up north or down south on the island, you’ll find the Isle of Arran Distillery.  

Lochranza Distillery, in the north, focuses all its attention on an un-peated Single Malt – whereas Lagg, in the south, is all about that peaty flavour. 

Go for a tour around either accompanied by amazing guides before making a beeline for the tasting experience.  

The whisky is incredible, it’s a true art and incredible science how they get it to taste so divine. But truly it’s the passion that comes through strongest of all.   

“As one of the few remaining whisky producers who are independently owned, we are proud to represent such a beautiful island in the whisky industry,” says Jaclyn McKie, Marketing Manager of Isle of Arran Distillery. 

That sense of passion and love for the place around them somehow manages to be epitomised in the amber-coloured liquid swishing around the glass below you.  

It’s a sip of Arran. 

After all that walking, talking, and sampling – stop by CASKS Café if you’re at Lochranza for a delightful lunch before heading back out onto the island.  

Brodick Castle and Gardens

There’s only one country park located off the UK mainland, and it happens to be on Arran. Brodick Castle and Gardens dates back to the 19th-century and retains all of its old charm.  

Wander through the castle on a self-guided tour where you’ll learn about the intriguing tales of the people who once lived there. 

Explore the fairy-tale-like gardens or begin your adventure on one of the trails running through the country park. 

Whichever you decide, you’ll be met around every corner by the breathtaking beauty of Scotland’s spectacular nature and wildlife. 

The ferry awaits 

You could quite happily spend your whole adventure on both these islands idyllically strolling down every street and wandering through the incredible nature that fills them. 

And in one way, that’s the best way to explore them. Take a walk and simply see where it leads you. 

There’s something about being away from the mainland that’s completely captivating. The environment surrounding you is a reminder to slow down – to be still for just a moment.  

But if you’re looking to fill your day with activities then again, you’re in the right spot. The culture, community, and passion of the people living on these islands are contagious and sweep you up the second you arrive. 

Leave the long plane trips for another day, there’s a ferry to catch!