Honeymoon islands in Britain

Honeymoon islands in Britain

Fancy a bit of British romance for your honeymoon? Look no further than these coast-hugging isles, recommends Alexandra Gregg

There's something hopelessly romantic about fleeing the big cities - London, Paris, New York - and trading them in for a secluded isle. And, clinging to the coastline of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, woven into Britain's abundant waterways, there are thousands of them. Here's our pick of the 10 most honeymoon-perfect landmasses in the UK.

1. Isle of Man, British Isles

If stargazing is your thing, head to the folklore-filled Isle of Man (pictured). Part of the British Isles, but not the UK, the Isle of Man has long been recognised for its dark skies and visitors can even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights at the right time of year. Newlyweds who love the outdoors can tackle challenging coastal footpaths, hire a quad bike, or take a romantic ride on the rails with the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

Getting there: You can fly to the Isle of Man from over 20 UK airports. Alternatively, sail from the north of England, Belfast and Dublin. Prices vary.

2. St Mary's, Scilly, England

St Mary's is the gateway to Scilly. The largest of the 56 islands, it has the ability to refresh and revitalise, while adding a dash of the tropics to a quintessentially British honeymoon. Its emerald waters, paired with sparkling white sandy beaches, are ideal for ocean lovers and offer sailing, windsurfing, fishing and even diving opportunities. Venturing inland, squash, tennis, cycling and golf will keep you both occupied.

Getting there: Catch the Skybus from Land's End, Exeter and Newquay (prices start at £70p/p) or sail on the Scillonian III from Penzance for £42p/p. Book via Isles of Scilly Travel.

3. Arran, Scotland

Often described as 'Scotland in miniature', Arran is one of the most southerly Scottish islands and sits in the Firth of Clyde between Ayrshire and Kintyre. It is only 19 miles long and 10 miles wide, but in that tiny space it packs a diverse range of rugged landscapes and seascapes - great for wild walkers.

Getting there: The ferry (from £49.50 per car each way) departs at Ardrossan Harbour, in North Ayrshire, and lands in Brodick. The crossing takes 55 minutes. In the summer you can also sail from Claonaig on the Kintyre Peninsula to Lochranza in the north of Arran.

4. Alderney, Channel Islands

Alderney is the least-known and most northerly of the Channel Islands. Small enough to cycle round, it is uncrowded and unassuming, its quaint cottages and cobbled streets taking you back to a simpler time: one of fresh fish and sandcastle holidays. Keen twitchers are blessed with more than 250 species of bird too, including the Dartford warbler, puffins, gannets and storm petrels.

Getting there: Aurigny Air Services flies direct from Southampton, London, Bristol, Manchester and East Midlands. Fares from £113 each way.

5. Isle of Wight, England

When it comes to British islands, the Isle of Wight isn't exactly the best-kept secret. That said, head to West Wight and you'll discover a less developed side - good job too, as this is where The Needles are! Declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1974, the west is not only a haven for wildlife, such as the native Red Squirrel, but its tranquil coastline of low sloping clay cliffs is a haven for walkers too.

Getting there: Catch the car ferry from Lymington, Portsmouth or Southampton. Prices vary.

6. Mull, Scotland

Oft featured on Springwatch and Coast in celebration of its impressive wildlife, Mull is one of the best places in the UK to spot white-tailed sea eagles, otters, dolphins and whales. As far as landscapes go, the rocky peaks and green slopes of the Mull Mountains are pretty impressive too, as are the island's untamed beaches.

Getting there: Fly into Tobermory by seaplane from Glasgow (£179 rtn) for views of the beaches, bays and brightly-coloured cottages below. Alternatively, ferries cross to the island at three points: Oban, Lochaline and Kilchoan.

7. Tiree, Inner Hebrides

Tiree is one of the sunniest places in Britain thanks to the pleasant Gulf Stream, not to mention a windsurfing paradise. Its unspoilt beaches stretch for miles across a virtually flat landscape. There's nothing but uninterrupted views of sand, sea and sky here, a seemingly enchanted place disturbed only by the sounds of crashing surf and birdcalls…

Getting there: The ferry (from £54 per car each way) departs from Oban. Flybe operates a regular air service from Glasgow Airport too, which takes 45 minutes and offers sweeping views of western Scotland and the isles. Fares from £31 each way.

8. Barra, Outer Hebrides

Touch down on Barra's beach for a once-in-a-lifetime experience together. The sandy runway at Cockle Strand is the only beach-based landing strip in Britain and, at high tide, it disappears beneath the waves. You can cycle along the island's beaches too, before kayaking around the 15-century Kisimul Castle, snorkelling offshore with wrasse and sand eels, and visiting Allasdale, a Bronze and Iron Age burial site.

Getting there: Fly from Glasgow Intl to Barra with Flybe from £36 each way. Barra is also accessible by ferry, which arrives at the main settlement, Castlebay.

9. Skomer Island, Wales

If you're looking to keep it simple on your island honeymoon, look no further than Skomer. Flung just off southwest Wales' Pembrokeshire coast, the isle is a National Nature Reserve that's best known for its considerable breeding seabird population, including manx shearwaters, guillemots and razorbills. It's also home to grey seals, puffins and just one secluded hostel for overnight stays. Think bare essentials.

Getting there: A 50-seater passenger boat transports visitors to the island from Martin's Haven six days a week (Apr-Oct). Fares are £11 for adults plus a £10 landing fee.

10. Rathlin Island, NI

Calling all fish and chips lovers! No visit to Rathlin Island is complete without a trip to the award-winning Emma's Chip Ahoy, in Church Bay. This volcanic landmass is also home to abundant shipwrecks and a colony of seals, as well as an RSPB nature reserve, which has helped see the return of uncommon birds like the red-billed chough.

Getting there: Rathlin Island Ferry connects Church Bay with the mainland at Ballycastle. Crossings are £12 return.

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Image: Peel Castle on the Isle of Man. Originally constructed by the Vikings in 800AD.

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