Visiting one of the UK’s islands is like going abroad but without the hassles: no passport control, no foreign language, no funny banknotes. Yet, simply by crossing a stretch of water and leaving the mainland behind, you feel as if you're in another country: the climate is different (usually they have their own micro-climate), the food is different, and often there are a host of traditions that have been lost on the mainland. Stay in one of the UK’s island hotels and you really have a chance to soak up an island’s particular charm and atmosphere.
The UK is blessed with numerous islands - accessible by ferries and sometimes by air - all around its coastline, from the balmy Scilly Isles off the south-western tip of Cornwall to the wild beauty of the Outer Hebrides.
The Channel Islands are like in England in miniature - charming villages, neat hedges, rolling farmland, beautiful sandy beaches. And the island of Herm has a very particular charm as it is only one-and-a-half miles long by half-a-mile wide, and no cars are allowed. There are beaches, cliff walks, ancient history and wildlife-spotting. It truly is a place to get away from it all. Fly or take the ferry to neighbouring Guernsey, and then it’s a short ferry-hop across.
Lying off the coast of Cornwall, and the most westerly part of England as well as the most southerly point of the UK, the Scilly Isles offer warmth, beauty and peace. Just 2,200 people live on the five main islands of St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes. There are the famed gardens of Tresco Abbey, the chance to spot seals and birdlife, unspoilt beaches and plenty of peaceful walks. You can fly direct from several airports in Cornwall, or take the boat from Penzance. Our pick of UK island hotels in the Scillies are situated on St Mary's and Bryher.
The Isle of Wight, off the UK's south coast, is the largest island in England. As well as the famed attractions of Osborne House (Queen Victoria’s holiday home), Carisbrooke Castle, music festivals, sailing and watersports, there are thatched-cottage villages, beautiful beaches and countryside - over half the island is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also claims to have more sunshine hours than anywhere else in Britain! The most popular way to arrive is by ferry from Southampton, Portsmouth or Lymington.
Just off the north-west coast of Wales, the Isle of Anglesey is easily reached across the Menai suspension bridge. But it feels like you’re in a different country. It’s very much a place for getting out and about - coastal walks, cycling routes, beaches and rock-pooling, birdwatching, Beaumaris Castle, wildlife walks … And there’s plenty of fresh seafood.
The west coast of Scotland’s islands are, for many people, some of the UK’s best-kept secrets. Skye, Harris, Lewis, Benbecula, North Uist, Colonsay … the words themselves are magical. Here you will find Caribbean-soft sandy beaches, strange treeless landscapes, jagged mountain ranges, rich wildlife, beautiful walks, mysterious ancient monuments, friendly pubs, rip-roaring folk music, and some of the freshest seafood. With regular ferry services, or flights, none of the islands is difficult to reach.
Use our guide to the best UK island hotels to find somewhere for a stay that feels abroad yet is comfortingly familiar. For a further selection of island properties, take a look at our pages for The Channel Islands, the Scilly Isles, the Isle of Wight, the Highlands and Islands and Argyll. Or for more information or help with booking, contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Family friendly hotel in stunning location on the tiny island of Herm - no cars allowed. Laid back retreat, devoid of TVs or telephones, for getting away from it all. With pool and award-winning gardens, and a beautiful island to explore.
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Delightful family-run hotel set in a star-shaped castle on St Marys Island. The newly refurbished rooms are extremely comfortable and well decorated, with quaint details. Fresh, local, seasonal produce sets the tone for the on site restaurant. Totally charming!
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
A stylish hotel on the remote Bryher Island. Homely suites follow a beach chic theme, think blues, whites and seashells. Most have patios with magnificent sea views. The on site restaurant produces a delicious range of dishes from seasonal locally sourced produce. A grown up beach hideaway.
Yarmouth, The Isle of Wight
Handsome, relaxed Georgian hotel in charming Yarmouth with great Solent views. Popular food, lovely bedrooms, some with antique panelling and private decks. Family friendly, a great base for sailing or exploring the Island.
The Isle of Wight
Stylish guesthouse in a charming thatched Georgian villa, overlooking Ventnor and the sea. Rooms are all white, with designer furniture and abstract art abound. Groups and families can also stay in the stables apartment adjacent to the house. A tranquil place to stay, with wooded gardens.
Valley, North Wales
A charming 16th century longhouse with stunning views over the Menai Straits to Snowdonia. Chic rooms and suites with creamy furnishings and original features. Walks on the beach, cycling, and much more. Romantic, lots of outdoor activities; the perfect location for a country escape.
By Oban, Argyll
An idiosyncratic and loveable private island resort and spa just off the western coast of Scotland. Antiques mix with contemporary interiors in this peaceful haven. Think cosy living rooms with roaring fires, Michelin star restaurant, luxurious suites and pampering spa. A remarkable rural retreat.
Isle of Skye
Remote but luxurious B&B on its own private peninsula on the Isle of Skye. 10 acres of land provide stunning views. Log fires and rustic charm. Luxurious rooms and tasty food.
Isle of Harris, Highlands & Islands
Old Georgian manse on the Isle of Harris, now run as a charming hotel. Fabulous views over the stunning coastline. Rooms are cosy and comforting and the food is delicious: the freshest seafood imaginable. Perfect for a romantic escape away from it all.
Isle of Colonsay, Argyll
Unpretentious nine bedroomed hotel on the beautiful island of Colonsay. Great for families and those seeking a break in a laid back Hebridean hideaway. Old house charm, roaring log fires, restaurant and bar.