Lundy Island: England’s Best Kept Secret?

As a lover of travel, I’m forever booking flights to far-flung places and researching the next incredible destinations to visit. But quite often, the remarkable places close to home fly completely under my radar.

This was the case with Lundy Island. I’ve lived in the UK all my life, and in Devon for the last six years. But I only learned about Lundy Island four months ago. In fact, if it wasn’t for my parents, I would still be completely oblivious to its existence.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

Lundy Island is a granite outcrop, three miles long and half a mile wide, just off the coast of North Devon, England. The epitome of the word ‘unspoiled’, Lundy enjoys peace and tranquillity in abundance. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to get away from the constant hum of traffic. But Lundy Island truly provides respite from the rat race.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

With no roads, vehicles or pollution and only a limited amount of visitors each day, Lundy offers a secure and isolated home to an impressive variety of wildlife. The unique, rugged terrain and wide, open seas provide refuge for dolphins, whales, porpoises, seals, puffins, Sika deer, Highland cattle and ponies, to name just a few. So, whether you’re a lover of landscapes, nature, or both, Lundy Island is the place for you.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

How do you get to Lundy Island?

Lundy Island is only accessible via one boat – the MS Oldenburg. Built in 1958, the MS Oldenburg retains many of her original fixtures and fittings, making the boat trip an experience in itself. The journey to Lundy takes approximately two hours, with up to four scheduled sailings each week from either Ilfracombe or Bideford. 2018 day return tickets cost £38 for adults and £19 for children.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

If you’re lucky enough (as we were!!!), you may even be treated to a friendly pod of dolphins following the ship! It was truly amazing!

One of my favourite things about Lundy? It never feels crowded, due to the fact that the MS Oldenburg only carries 267 people to the island each day.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

How long can you spend on Lundy Island?

Well, it’s up to you. If you’re visiting for a day trip, you get between about four hours to explore the island. But if that’s not long enough, you can book one of the 23 holiday cottages on the island and stay for longer.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

Personally, we found that four hours was nowhere near long enough to see the entire island. We managed to hike about a third of it but it felt rushed at times and it would’ve been great to take our time and really soak it up.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

The island has everything you need for a short stay with a shop, pub, church and well-equipped accommodation. The only thing to note is that there are no TVs, radios or telephones in the cottages, which really forces you to disconnect from the world and connect with your surroundings instead. You can also camp on Lundy if you’re feeling brave, although I was told that the weather can be somewhat unpredictable.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

The good thing about staying overnight? Once the day-trippers have gone home, you have the entire island to yourself.

What is there to do on Lundy Island?

Look out for puffins (and other birds)

The word ‘Lundy’ is Norse for ‘Puffin Island’, so it’s no wonder that thousands of people are keen to catch a glimpse of these magnificent birds each year. Head to Lundy between April and July, while they are nesting, for the best chance. Other birds you can spot include Manx Shearwaters, Razorbills, Guillemots, Water Rails and many more.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

Snorkelling and scuba-diving

When you think of England, I bet you don’t think of scuba-diving! Well, Lundy is about to correct that notion. As one of the British Isles’ prime diving sites, Lundy offers rich and diverse marine life and a bounty of shipwrecks to explore. While scuba-diving on Lundy Island is best suited to experienced divers, the Wardens also run Snorkel Safaris, which last one hour and cost a small £10 (incl cost of equipment hire).

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

Hike to your heart’s content

If you love hiking, boy you are in for a treat! While the island is only three miles long, you won’t be able to hike it quickly, purely because the views are so jaw-dropping you’ll have to stop repeatedly to take it all in. Whether the sun shines from wall to wall or you get drenched by rain, I suggest you just go for it. Of course, if you’re visiting Lundy on a day trip, it’s important to be mindful of the distance back to the boat to make sure you’re not left behind!

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

Other things to do on Lundy:

  • Climbing – Lundy is a popular destination amongst avid climbers and for good reason. The Devil’s Slide is a particularly common route.
  • Fishing – Lundy promotes sustainable fishing and is home to a wide variety of fish.
  • Enjoy a bite to eat in Lundy’s only pub, the Marisco Tavern.
  • Check out Lundy’s historical buildings and monuments – some of which include the Victorian church, the 13th-century castle and the UK’s tallest lighthouse.

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

We had a fantastic day on the island of Lundy. Living such busy lives, spending quality time with your loved ones sometimes gets put on the back-burner. But Lundy allowed us to get back to basics and connect with each other and with nature once again. Fortunately, the weather held out and we were able to explore to our heart’s content.

Thanks to my parents for this fantastic anniversary gift. We loved it and we love you!

Lundy Island: England's Best Kept Secret?

Have you been to Lundy? Would you like to go? What did you love about it?

For more in-depth information on Lundy Island, head to the Landmark Trust’s official website.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. All photographs were taken by, and are the property of, James and Zara Aitken. 

Lundy Island - England's Best Kept Secret

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