A very special island
Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales
An island of sheltered bays, exposed headlands, offshore rocks and shaded inlets, all painted with the graduated colours of lichen.
Spring on Skomer Island is a colourful affair with bluebells and pink campion carpeting most of the island. The colours are so vivid they can easily be seen from the mainland.
One of the best locations is the Wick; a sheer cliff carved with ledges that are ideally suited to nesting seabirds and easily viewed from the opposite cliff. The Wick is also a great place just to sit and watch the comings and goings of the puffins. You won’t need your binoculars here but a camera is a must.
In the centre of the island is the ruined farm. An education room and interpretation centre can be found here as well as accommodation space for up to 16 people. Staying overnight is truly magical. Visit Pembrokeshire was lucky enough to spend 24 hours on Skomer last year – read about our adventures.
If you stay overnight, you can witness one of the most remarkable natural events in the UK, the Manx shearwaters returning to their burrows under the cover of darkness. Stay up late and take a walk back to the boat embarkation point for a truly once in a lifetime experience. The noise they make is quite something else.
The island has a ‘Shearwater Week’ in late August where volunteers can help the island researchers with their invaluable work. Visit Pembrokeshire spoke with researcher Sarah about her Summer of Shearwaters as she gave us a sneak peek behind the scenes at the work being done on the island.
Catch up with the latest gossip on the island including the boat sailings on their Skomer Island blog.
A short, bumpy boat ride brings you to the island, which rears above the sea like the fabled lost land of Atlantis, with ragged, lush green cliffs of ancient volcanic rock
Kerry Christiani, for Lonely Planet
How to get there
The Dale Princess runs from Martin’s Haven between Good Friday or 1st April (whichever is earlier) and 31st August. It runs Tuesdays to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays and leaves from Martin’s Haven at 10am, 11am and 12 noon and has return sailings from 3pm onwards.
From 1st September until 30th September the boat runs Tuesdays to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays and leaves from Martin’s Haven at 11am only.
Sailings may be disrupted by the weather – check by calling Lockley Lodge, an information point and gift shop run by the Wildlife Trust, or check the Skomer boat sailings. Parking is available in a National Trust car park at Martin’s Haven.
There is a maximum daily quota for landing visitors. If you arrive too late, you could take one of the excellent and informative round-island boat trips. At weekends between May and early July, queues can be lengthy. There are no refreshments available on the island, but there is a toilet at the old farm.