There are a number of beautiful islands off the coast of Britain where you can enjoy wonderful coastal walks. Some are tidal islands where you can walk across the sands at low tide such as Hilbre Island in West Kirby. Most you can enjoy a nice boat trip from the mainland before exploring the island.
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Island Walk Map
|Anglesey Coast Path||121 miles (195 km)||Follow the beautiful coastline of the Isle of Anglesey on the fabulous walk. The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path falls within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covering 95% of the coast. It passes through landscape that includes a mixture of farmland, coastal heath, dunes, salt-marsh, foreshore, cliffs, woodland and a National Nature Reserve.
Highlights on the route include the lovely Cemlyn Bay Nature Reserve with its shingle beach and pretty lagoon. It's a great place for wildlife spotting with various coastal birds to look out for. These include Ringed Plover, Arctic Terns, Oystercatcher and Shelduck. The colony of Sandwich terns is the third largest in the UK.
Also of note is the splendid Breakwater Country Park where you can climb Holyhead Mountain for wonderful views over the island.
Also on Holyhead is the spectacularly positioned South Stack Lighthouse. You can descend the 400 steps to the island and enjoy fabulous views on the way. The area also includes the South Stack RSPB nature reserve where you can look out for puffins and porpoises.
At Red Wharf Bay is area of outstanding natural beauty located on the east coast of Anglesey. The coast path passes right along this expansive bay with its rock pools, beautiful beaches and pretty village. Just east of the bay the path takes you to Penmon Point where you can visit the Trwyn Du Lighthouse and enjoy wonderful views towards Puffin Island, Great Orme and Snowdon.
|Brough of Birsay||3 miles (5 km)||Visit this tidal island on this short walk on Mainland Orkney. Access to the island is via a 240m causeway across the Sound of Birsay. It is only crossable at low tide - click here for tide times. On the island you will find the remains of Pictish and Norse settlements and a modern light house. |
You can extend your walking in the area by visiting the nearby Marwick Head RSPB nature reserve.
|Brownsea Island||3 miles (5.5 km)||This circular walk takes you on a tour of the beautiful Brownsea Island off the coast of Poole in Dorset. The island is owned by the National Trust and has a number of delightful paths and tracks for walkers to follow. You will enjoy fabulous views of Poole harbour on the coastal stretches and see red squirrels and peacocks on the inland woodland sections. The island also has a number of bird hides where you can look out for the huge variety of birdlife that visit the island all year round. Also of note is the Baden-Powell Outdoor Centre where you can follow in the footsteps of Lord Baden-Powell and the very first Scouts who camped on the island in 1907. |
Ferries can be caught from Poole Quay or Sandbanks - click here for information and times
If you click on the street view link below you can enjoy a virtual tour of the island!
|Burgh Island||1 miles (1.5 km)||Visit this beautiful island off the south coast of Devon on this lovely coastal walk. Burgh Island is located just a few hundred metres from the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea. You can walk to the island at low tide or catch the sea tractor which is run by the island's hotel. |
On the island you will find three private houses, a public house, the ruins of the former chapel and the restored 1920s Art Deco-style hotel. The island has a strong assocation with Agatha Christie,serving as the inspirational setting for both Ten Little Niggers and the Hercule Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun with the 2002 TV adaptation of the book filmed here.
This walk starts at the car park on the sea front in Bigbury-on-Sea and walks out across the sands to the island. There are lovely walking trails taking you around the island with its beautiful coves, rocky outcrops and beaches. The view of the Devon coast and countryside is also marvellous.
Burgh Island is on the South West Coast Path so you can easily extend your walk by heading along this fantastic trail.
|Caldey Island||2 miles (4 km)||Follow the walking trails around this fascinating and beautiful island off the Pembrokeshire coast, near Tenby. You can catch a boat from Tenby Harbour to the island. A short stroll from the jetty takes you to the attractive monastery, village green and pretty cottages of the inhabitants. There is also the fascinating Old Priory and two medieval churches to explore. Caldey is one of the Holy Islands of Britain and has a history stretching back 1500 years.|
There are good footpaths to follow to the south of the island where you will find a lighthouse and wonderful views of the Pembrokeshire Coast. There is also a lovely beach at Priory bay on the north of the island.
Caldey is also rich in interesting flora and fauna. The country's largest colony of cormorants is located at St Margaret's Island at the western end of Caldey. It is also covered in pretty, rare flowers.
|Canvey Island||7 miles (11 km)||Enjoy a waterside walk along the Thames Estuary on this route on Canvey Island in Essex. You can follow coastal footpaths for several miles along the estuary. There's lots to see with several bays, beaches, creeks, lagoons, marshland and an abundance of wildlife. There's also great views across the water to Hadleigh Country Park and its castle.|
To extend your walking in the area you could cross the bridge over Benfleet Creek and visit Hadleigh Country Park in Castle Point. The 400 acre park has a number of good walking trails taking you to woodland, pasture, hay meadow, marsh and the ruins of the 13th century castle.
Also just across the water near Southend you will find the splendid Two Tree Island nature reserve. Here you will find nice footpaths taking you around grassland, scrub, reedbed and lagoons.
|Cudmore Grove Country Park||4 miles (6 km)||Located at the eastern end of Mersea Island this super country park is perfect for an easy coastal walk. You can stroll along the lovely sandy beach and enjoy views across Brightlingsea Reach towards Brightlingsea. There's also marshland and grassland which is perfect for picnics. The circular walk below starts at the car park and follows the beach for about a mile before returning through the countryside on a mixture of walking paths and country lanes.|
The park is located about 7 miles south of Colchester.
To extend your walk you could pick up the Mersea Island Walk which takes you around the whole island.
|Farne Islands||1 miles (1 km)||The Farne Islands are located just 1.5 miles from the Northumberland coast at Bamburgh. You can catch a boat from Seahouses harbour to Inner Farne, the largest of the islands. Here you can see colonies of grey seals and up to 37000 pairs of puffins. The islands attract many other seabirds including Guillemots, Razorbills, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns, Roseate Terns, Arctic Terns, Shags, Cormorants and Eider Ducks. There is a lovely walkway around Inner Farne taking you past the interesting buildings which date from the monastic period. These include the remains of the old Guest House, the Chapel of St Cuthbert with fine stained-glass windows and the Pele Tower. The islands are run by the National Trust so entry is free for members.|
|Hayling Billy Trail||6 miles (9 km)||This trail uses the Hayling Billy Coastal Path
which runs along the west coast of Hayling
Island near Havant.|
The trail gives fabulous views of Langstone Harbour which is an internationally important site for its wildfowl and wading birds. Also watch out for brent geese, oyster catchers and dunlin in winter.
The route is very flat and entirely off road so is ideal for families looking for a safe traffic free cycle ride or for walkers looking for a pleasant waterside stroll. Please click here for more information on this route. This route links nicely with the Portsea Island Explorer
|Hilbre Island||4 miles (7 km)||Visit this beautiful island and nature reserve off the coast of West Kirby and enjoy some fabulous coastal scenery. |
The three tidal islands lying at the mouth of the Dee Estuary - Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre are designated as the Hilbre Islands Nature Reserve. You can access the islands by foot from West Kirby at low tide. The safest route to is to start from the slipway at Dee Lane, next to the Marine Lake in West Kirby, walk towards Little Eye, keeping it on your right. As soon as you pass Little Eye turn right and continue on the sand passing Middle Eye on your left. Between Middle Eye and Hilbre take the rough track over the rocks towards the small tidal pool. Once off the rocks turn left towards the gate at the south end of Hilbre. Do not cross direct to Hilbre Island, and do not cross from Hoylake. You must check the tide tables before you go and leave the island 3 hours before high water so you have plenty of time to get back to the mainland.
The islands are fantastic for wildlife with an abundance of wildfowl and waders visiting the estuary. Grey seals can be seen swimming around the island most days and whales and dolphins have also been spotted.
|Inchcailloch Island||2 miles (3 km)||Follow the lovely nature trail around this small island on Loch Lomond. You can catch the ferry to Inchcailloch Island from Balmaha then pick up the round the island footpath on pleasant woodland trails. On the way you can do the short climb to the island summit where there are fabulous views across the loch to Ben Lomond. At the south western end of the island you will also find Port Bawn with its little beach, picnic tables and jetty.|
|Inchmahome Priory||1 miles (1 km)||Enjoy a stroll around Inchmahome Island on Lake Mentieth and explore the fascinating Inchmahome Priory.
You can catch a boat to the island from the Port of Mentieth in the summer months. It's a special place where you can enjoy a stroll around the 13th century ruins of the priory before heading into the surrounding woodland. The ruins include cloister buildings, a church and a chapter house with a collection of stone memorials, including one of a 13th-century couple in a loving embrace. There's also a variety of wildlife to look out for and fine views across the lake to the other islands. Inchmahome Priory is located just a few miles east of Aberfoyle.|
The island has a fascinating history too. In the 16th century Mary Queen of Scots was brought to Inchmahome for her safety, when an English invasion looked likely.
If you would like to extend your outing then you could try the Loch Venachar and Loch Drunkie in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
|Isle of Portland||8 miles (13 km)||Follow the Portland Coast Path around the Isle of Portland on this wonderful coastal walk in Dorset. There's spectacular cliffs, wide ranging views and lots of seabirds to look out for on this exhilarating walk.|
The walk starts near the village of Fortuneswell at the northern end of the Isle. You'll start by passing the King Barrow Quarry Nature Reserve which is well know for its wildflowers, blue butterflies and bird species. The path then takes you to the coast at West Cliff where there are lovely views over West Bay. You head south along the coast to Weston and Portland Bill Lighthouse at the southern tip of the Isle of Portland. Here you can enter the lighthouse and climb to the top for some truly wonderful views. This is probably the most expansive view along the south coast with Durlston Head and Start Point in Devon visible on a clear day.
The return leg takes you along the eastern side of the Isle, passing Southwell, Easton and the Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve. Other highlights include Durdle Pier, a disused 17th-century stone shipping quay. Look out for wildlife including peregrines, guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes.
To extend your walking in the area you can visit the wonderful Chesil Beach.
|Lindisfarne Castle and Holy Island||4 miles (6 km)||This is an atmospheric circular walk around the fascinating Holy Island in Northumberland. You will visit the dramatic 16th century castle, the beautiful walled castle garden and the nearby lime kilns. The route also passes the ruins of the ancient Lindisfarne Priory.|
The coastal scenery is also beautiful with views of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve where you can see a variety of wildlife.
|Looe Island||1 miles (1 km)||This delightful island of the Cornish coast is well worth a visit. You can catch a boat from East Looe during the summer months and then enjoy a 1km walk around the beautiful little island. It's a fantastic place for wildlife lovers with grey seals, cormorants, shags and oystercatchers to look out for. There's also wildflower meadows which attract different types of butterfly. Keep your eyes peeled for speckled wood, meadow brown and red admiral as you make your way across the meadows.|
The island also includes mix of grassland, scrub, woods and fabulous views back along the Cornish coast.
The South West Coast Path runs through Looe so you could try the Looe to Polperro coastal walk to extend your walking in the area.
|Lundy Island||6 miles (9 km)||Visit this beautiful island off the Devon coast and enjoy coastal walks and a variety of wildlife. The island is designated as a marine national nature reserve so bring your binoculars to look out for the seals and puffins that visit the island. You can reach the island by catching a boat from Bideford or Ilfracombe from mid March to the end of October.|
It's a splendid place for walkers with miles of footpaths taking you to rugged cliffs, coastal viewpoints and grassy slopes with wildflowers in the summer. Look out for wildlife which includes sika deer, wild goats and the only native mammal, the pygmy shrew. Birdlife includes puffins, chaffinches and stonechats while butterflies such as the Red Admiral can be seen in the summer.
The seas around Lundy are home to fascinating marine wildlife such as cup corals, pink sea fans and sponges. Keep your eyes peeled for grey seals, basking sharks and killer whales too.
There's also a terrific climb on the west side of the island where you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area.
|Mersea Island||13 miles (21 km)||Explore the coastline of the most easterly inhabited island in the United Kingdom island on this circular walk near Colchester. The route takes you along the coastline visiting beaches, Cudmore Grove Country Park and the settlements of West Mersea and East Mersea. Look out for wildlife including Marsh harriers, watervoles, red squirrels, and numerous wintering birds.|
The route starts from West Mersea and passes along the Strood Channel with lovely views over the water to Ray Island Nature Reserve and Langenhoehall Marsh. You continue to Reeveshall Marsh where there are good views over the Pyfleet Channel to Pewit Island.
The route continues to the south side of the island to Cudmore Grove Country Park. Here you can stroll along the lovely sandy beach and enjoy views across Brightlingsea Reach towards Brightlingsea. There's also marshland and grassland which is perfect for picnics.
The walk then passes along the south side of the island with great views over the Mersea Flats to the Blackwater Estuary. The final section takes you along the coast through West Mersea to the finish point.
If you'd like to extend your walking in the area then you could head north to the lovely Abberton Reservoir. The reservoir is excellent for bird watching with thousands of wildlfowl to look out for on the water.
|Mull Head||4 miles (6 km)||This circular walk visits the Mull Head Nature Reserve on Mainland Island in the Orkney Islands. There are 200 acres of grassland, heath and sea cliffs to explore with a wide variety of birdlife to look out for. The walk also visits the Gloup. This fascinating collapsed sea cave is about 40 yards long and 80 feet deep. There are viewing platforms and parking is available at the Gloup car park.|
|Old Man of Hoy||5 miles (8 km)||This walk takes you to the amazing 449-foot sea stack on the island of Hoy in the Orkney Islands. The walk begins from the Rackwick car park and follows a popular signposted footpath to the Old Man of Hoy. There are splendid views of the beautiful Rackwick Bay and of the surrounding countryside and hills on this varied walk. Look out for peregrine falcons near the spectacular sea cliffs.|
|Ramsey Island||4 miles (6 km)||Explore this beautiful island and RSPB Nature Reserve on this circular walk off the Pembrokeshire Coast. There are great walking trails running from the ferry landing taking you around the southern and middle section of the island. Ramsey is run by the RSPB so it's wonderful for bird watching with guillemots, razorbills, kttiwakes and fulmars to look out for. The island also has 120m high cliffs where you may see choughs and peregrines. In spring and summer Ramsey is covered in pretty flowers including bluebells, spring squills, pink thrift and purple heather. |
To reach the island you can catch a boat from St Justinians from April (or easter if it comes sooner) to October. See the RSPB link below for details.
If you'd like to continue your walking in the area then you could try the Treginnis Peninsula walk.
|Skomer Island||4 miles (6 km)||Visit this beautiful Island on the Pembrokeshire Coast and enjoy wonderful coastal views and thousands of breeding seabirds. The island has lovely walking trails along the coast and down the centre of the island. |
You can visit the island from April to October by catching a boat from Martin's Haven near Marloes village (Click here for information on sailing times). The island is fantastic for wildlife watching with Puffins, Manx Shearwaters, Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, Razorbills, Gannets and Fulmars to look out for. In April you can see the Atlantic Grey Seal as they gather to moult at North Haven.
The island itself is lovely with fields, cliff tops and interesting coastal rock formations. In the spring and summer months it is covered with pretty flowers such as Bluebells and Campion. Look out for the Skomer Vole and the multitude of Rabbits as you make your way across the reserve. It's a special place and a must see if you are visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
To continue your walking in the area you could explore the wonderful Marloes Peninsula on the Martin's Haven Walk.
|St Mary's Coast Path - Isles of Scilly||9 miles (14 km)||Follow the beautiful coast path around St Mary's - the largest of the Isles of Scilly. You will pass lovely beaches, picturesque harbours and rocky clifftops as you make your way around the island's perimeter.|
|Two Tree Island||2 miles (3 km)||This expansive nature reserve in Leigh-on-Sea covers 257 hectares (640 acres). The site is located just a few miles along the coast from Southend and contains miles of nice walking trails. It's a lovely place with lots of little lagoons, pretty streams and great views across Hadleigh Ray to Canvey Island.|
There's a huge amount of flora and fauna to look out for on the island. Saltmarsh plants include Sea Purslane, Common Sea-lavender, Sea Arrow-grass, Common Saltmarsh-grass and Sea Aster. There's lots of birdlife with thousands of waders including Avocets, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank and Grey Prover. You'll also see lots of butterflies around the plants and wildflowers in the summer months. Look out for Marbled White, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper as you make your way along the footpaths.
The reserve is accessible with an on site car park and Leigh-on-Sea rail station within walking distance.
Two Tree Island is located very close to Hadleigh Country Park where you can visit the ruined castle and explore the extensive grounds.
You could also cross the water to Canvey Island and enjoy a nice walk along the coastal path.
|West Island Way||30 miles (48 km)||Explore the beautiful Isle of Bute on this stunning walk.|