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

Houat - deserted beachHouat, Brittany

Size: 2nm long
Population: 300
Watering holes: My favourite restaurant is the Hôtel des Îles, on the north side of the village looking over the harbour

Nine miles south of the Gulf of Morbihan, this wonderful island is the star of Quiberon Bay.

Near the east end of Houat’s north coast, tiny St Gildas harbour is sheltered by a right angled breakwater and used mostly by fishing boats, though on summer weekends yachts pile in around them, mooring to trots.

In calm weather it’s better to anchor in the sandy bay east of the harbour, or off the stunning sweep of east coast beach backed by dunes and tamarisk.

Low and windswept with few trees, Houat is enchanting as you wander its sandy tracks in drowsy summer weather. All around are vistas of mainland, other islands and glittering sea.

The pretty village is above the harbour, a cluster of white Breton cottages, many with bright blue shutters.

You’ll find a boulangerie, two general stores, the mairie and an imposing church. From the square a hill climbs out to the east coast beach and an old harbour breakwater.

Houat - landing slipWalking west you follow a country lane along the spine of the island, with panoramic views across Quiberon Bay and seawards towards Belle Île.

Houat is shaped like a lobster on the chart and its protruding, claw-like promontories provide a tempting choice of anchorages to suit most winds.

There is no finer tonic than lying off one of its fine sandy beaches, where the swimming and snorkelling is out of this world.

Don’t miss: Anchoring in Béniguet, Houat’s most westerly bay. A gem in quiet spells or light easterlies

  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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