In his latest cruising feature, Peter Cumberlidge picks out the best remote island destinations you can easily reach from the UK by boat

How can anyone resist islands, particularly small islands where the feeling of being completely surrounded by water is obvious as you wander round and glimpse the sea in all directions?

To visit a real island in your own boat is a magical experience, one of the finest, most exclusive rewards of independent travel. It is what boats were made for, a luxury only a boat can provide.

Some cruising areas are awash with island destinations. The Mediterranean has some of the most famously seductive islands in the world. The ‘South Seas’ still conjure images of luxuriant atolls and paradise lagoons.

Most of Scandinavia is fringed with thousands of rocky islands and Denmark is virtually all island. Sunseeking boaters jet off to charter in exotic archipelagos in the Caribbean, Seychelles and the Maldives.

But there are also many fascinating island destinations in our own home waters which you can reach and explore during a normal summer holiday cruise.

Ile d'Yeu - Anse des Soux

Anse des Soux on Ile d’Yeu – Picture: Peter Cumberlidge

In this article I have picked ten of my favourites, all small enough to create that unique sensation of being, quite literally, isolated from the rest of the world.

This selection includes several French islands, three British, one in Ireland, a Dutch island, and perhaps the most detached Channel Island.

They can all loom on the horizon as you approach, sometimes looking mysterious, sometimes inviting and occasionally a touch hostile.

They are islands whose changing moods appeal to cruising folk, used to dealing with the vagaries of the sea.

They are places which, once visited, will bring back vivid memories, especially in winter when, perhaps while browsing a pilot book, you wonder how these tiny offshore communities are faring.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sark, Channel Islands
  3. 3. Yeu, The Vendée
  4. 4. St. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
  5. 5. Skomer, Wales
  6. 6. Cape Clear Island, Ireland
  7. 7. Île De Sein, Brittany
  8. 8. Île de Groix, Brittany
  9. 9. Coll, Scotland
  10. 10. Houat, Brittany
  11. 11. Vlieland, Netherlands
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