Even more getting away from it all - our top island campsites
We like islands, we do. The scenery, the wildlife, the coastline to stamp moodily along, the crashing waves and catching our own fish. From the wild remote islands of the Hebrides to the festivals of the Isle of Wight, British islands have some of the best scenery around and are full of things to see and do. And they’re usually full of places to stay too: here’s our pick of a few of our best island campsites – with a favourite coastal one thrown in too.
If you’re going along to the world-famous Cowes Week but still want to have a peaceful break, Sunnycott will keep the mood shipshape – it’s only a couple of miles from Cowes Beach but is rural, family-run and quiet. (The sands at Gurnard are even closer and the water here is also listed as of excellent quality.) You’ll also be only a couple of miles from Queen Vic’s old hangout Osborne House, and there are three pubs nearby too. Sunnycott has holiday homes for hire from £119 for three nights sleeping up to four, and is open all year.
For a bigger, family-oriented site, Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park has indoor and outdoor pools, evening entertainment and lashings of activities, with pitches starting from £10 a night, while for Isle of Wight glamping, furnished bell tents at Wight Bells in Sandown start from £150 for four nights.
Island holidays in the UK don’t get much more rugged than the Scottish islands, with scenery you’ll be photographing and sharing on Facebook before you’ve even unpacked (take the binoculars too). The Isle of Skye is the biggest island in the Hebrides and has eye-watering mountain scenery, golden eagles overhead and boat trips and fishing galore – with plenty of restaurants about to sample fresh Skye seafood. Rubha Phoil is an eco campsite based in organic woodland on the island, with a beach cave and wildlife hides within an easy walk. Pitches start from £15 a night for tents and motorhomes, and there's also a secluded fisherman's hut with cooking facilities from £30 a night. Rubha Phoil is open all year.
Also in the Hebrides is the tiny Isle of Lismore, in the middle of the Lynn of Lorn National Scenic Area and a five-minute passenger ferry crossing from Port Appin. Lismore has music events and ceilidhs to try (everyone should go to a ceilidh at least once) and plenty of wildlife and scenery for those who prefer the contemplative life. Like Rubha Phoil, eco-camp also has firmly green credentials, with solar showers and natural spring water, and you can hire bikes, kayaks and DVD players for private cinema in your berth. Have some Lismore luxury by booking the heated camping pod, from £40 a night.
Anglesey is known as ‘the Mother of Wales’ and has pretty much all you need for a Welsh break: coastline, castles, old stone circles, Snowdonia National Park…and you can also reach Dublin within a couple of hours on the Holyhead ferry if you want to extend your break (yes). For those Welsh island views, pitch up at St David’s Park, set on a headland overlooking the Red Wharf Estuary towards Llandudno. It has its own private beach, and there’s a gastropub on site dishing up local produce. Electric grass pitches at St David’s start from £25 a night.
Our last site overlooks an island rather than being on one, but we’re including it anyway for its scenery – and because it overlooks Cardigan Island nature reserve 200 yards away, with bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the water surrounding the park and seals living among the nearby cliffs. The site also has quite the menagerie: as well as Scottish sheep and other farm animals, there are beasts you wouldn’t normally expect to find on the Welsh coast – llamas, wallabies and emus can all be seen here for the kids to coo at. Tent, tourer and motorhome pitches here start from £13.80 a night.
For Irish islands, go north to the tiny RSPB reserve Rathlin Island just off the Antrim coast and accessible by ferry crossings from Ballycastle six miles away. Glenmore Caravan and Camping Park just outside Ballycastle has several different areas to pitch up in, a fly fishing lake on site and traditional Irish music most nights in the Glenmore bar. Glenmore is open all year and has pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £16 a night.
Or head to Nagle’s Doolin Camping and Caravan Park on Ireland’s west coast with easy access to the Aran Islands: Doolin Pier is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the campsite. Pitches here are grass or hardstanding, and start from £14 a night.
For more getting away from it all, have a look at our guide to campsites and parks in remote locations, from making music under the stars in Somerset to bedding down in a restored gypsy wagon in Cornwall. And if sand's your thing rather than an actual island, look for one of our many sites within easy beach reach - you could, after all, point out that all of Britain is an island...