Lundy Island: Wave the crowds goodbye and enjoy isolated island living at it’s best
Beauty, isolation, & wildlife
Lundy Island is simply one of the coolest places to visit in the UK.
Located far out in the Bristol channel it has beautiful scenery; walks; rock climbing; bird, seal, and dolphin watching; treasure hunting; history; lovely beach; great pub…. I could go on. You name it, Lundy has it! We booked to stay in the Landmark Trust’s Lighthouse ‘upper’ accommodation for 4 days over Easter (all the houses on the island are owned by the Landmark Trust). So we were staying in a lighthouse… doesn’t get much better than that! We booked about 6 months in advance because Lundy is very popular and the accommodation very scarce.
Travel to Lundy Island
Our excitement began on the ferry over. You can only reach Lundy by the small ferry the MS Oldenburg (or helicopter in winter). It’s a 2 hour crossing from either Ilfracombe or Bideford, the sun was shining, we had our binoculars at the ready, and everyone was in Easter festive spirits. When the beautiful, rugged outline of Lundy finally came in to view everyone on the boat gasped with excitement… along with the excited shrieks from dolphin spotting, jelly fish spotting, puffin spotting etc etc. You really appreciate the fact that you’re one of the special few to be in that place, at the moment.
But it gets better….
Arriving on Lundy, you wander up the path to the top of the island, stopping to appreciate the incredible views. For most around us, their trip was to be a short 3 hour stint before the boat was to take them home again that afternoon, but for us and a very few others, we had the luxury of staying on the island. In a relaxed manner, we headed straight to the quirky, super-friendly pub, the Marisco Tavern, which is the hub of the teeny tiny island. Sitting in the sunny garden, drinking a pint of local ale, you really start to appreciate where you are.
Lundy has the atmosphere of a small, luxury island…. which is beautifully rustic and unpretentious. We headed out for a short walk along the coastal path to take in the staggering views and do a little light-hearted bird and seal spotting. At 3pm we saw the boat that we arrived on departing, taking away most of the people on the island. And that’s it. No one comes back for 3 days. There’s no news. No phone signal. Very limited internet (you’re fined if you’re caught on your phone in the pub). All electricity is switched off at 11pm. All water is filtered rain water. This is as isolated as many of us will ever be. And yet it’s the most incredible, warm-hearted, fuzzy feeling. It was OUR island.
That evening, we wandered along the coast to sit on a gigantic rock and watch the sun go down. It was honestly one of the most peaceful, happy moments I’ve ever had.
So much to explore
I’ve already waffled enough but I’ll say this… over the next 4 days of our visit to Lundy we felt like we explored every inch of the little island (3 miles x 1 mile) but I have no doubt there’s so much more to see. With it’s unique, we learnt about the incredible flora and fauna, the wonderful animals that live there and how they got there, the incredible work that is going on there by its small team of ecologists. We saw seals, dolphins, birds, beetles, lichen, lambs, jelly fish… and we snorkled, walked, climbed, rock-pooled, caved, picnicked, letter-boxed (fantastic Lundy scheme that the kids loved). As a history geek, I totally embraced the bonkers history of the island and got very over-excited by cave graffiti from the 18th century.
Eating & sleeping on Lundy
On a practical level, the accommodation ranges in size from 1-12 people. They’re all well-equipped, cosy, and good value for money (don’t expect 5* luxury though). Do expect pygmy shrews living in the walls and starlings roosting in the chimney.. for me this was an added bonus but I get it’s not for everyone. There’s a small, but well stocked shop which is open all day on day-trippers days, and shorter hours on other days. You can pre-order your food to arrive at your accommodation which makes it very simple. There was wine… I needed nothing more! The pub serves 3 meals a day if you really don’t want to cook. There are also a few guided walks and talks and the staff on the island are all very friendly and happy to chat.
For the children, it was the ultimate wild playground. They loved every second of their stay, as did we all. I would highly recommend booking a place at one of the accommodations or the campsite. Perhaps an October trip so you can see the Seals pupping on the landing beach? It’s a wild, comfortable, stunning, and totally unique experience. Find out more about a visit to Lundy Island here: https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/lundyisland/
If you like the look of Lundy, how about Snowdonia? Read about our awesome time in Snowdonia here.