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Lundy Island

lundy island

A Guide to Visiting Lundy Island

Sitting tantalisingly on the horizon 12 miles off the North Devon coast, remote and rugged Lundy Island promises a true escape into life at the edge of the British Isles. Reached only by boat, visitors flock to hike its windswept granite cliffs, discover an island thriving with endemic wildlife, learn about the island’s captivating past as a pirate haunt and outpost, and find tranquility surrounded by the wild Atlantic ocean.

With no cars, just a couple of pubs and miles of traffic-free coastal paths to roam, Lundy delivers solace, nature immersion and adventure. Here’s everything you need to plan your island getaway.

lundy island

Getting to Lundy Island

The Landmark Trust’s passenger ferry MS Oldenburg sails to Lundy from:

  • Ilfracombe – mid March to early November
  • Bideford – late March to late October

Sailings take 1.5-2 hours depending on departure harbour. Booking well in advance is essential as trips fill fast.

By Boat

You can choose to visit Lundy for just the day or overnight stays. Return boat fares from Ilfracombe or Bideford start at around £70 for adults and £35 for kids, with discounts for longer stays. Chartered boats and small rib cruises are alternative options for accessing Lundy.

ss oldenburg

By Helicopter

A charter helicopter service from Hartland Point in Devon provides an exhilarating 8 minute transfer if you want speedy arrival. Return helicopter trips cost around £150 per person. Flights must be booked in advance directly with the company during summer months when the service runs.

Where to Stay

With no roads or cars, accommodation on Lundy centres around:

  • 23 self-catering Landmark Trust holiday properties from lighthouses to fisherman’s cottages sleeping between 2 to 14 guests. Some pet-friendly cottages accept dogs.
  • Camping is permitted in certain designated areas. Bring all your own camping supplies.
  • B&B rooms at the pubs and Millcombe House.

There is no electricity network on Lundy. Properties rely on solar, wind and diesel generators providing limited power. Pack torches! Internet is limited to the pubs.

Exploring the Island

The real joy of a stay on Lundy comes from soaking up island life filled with nature, discovery and adventure:

  • Roam the cliffs on over 10 miles of walking trails taking in towering seascapes and grassy moorland.
  • Spot endemic wildlife species like the Lundy cabbage and puffins. Bring binoculars!
  • Learn about the island’s heritage at the old lighthouse, the castle, the tavern or Marisco Tavern museums.
  • Relax with a pint from Lundy’s microbrewery at one of the two historic pubs.
  • Try a diving or climbing course run by the island’s adventure team.

Let the island rhythm take over as you embrace simpler pleasures and landscapes.

view of lundy

Walking and Hiking

With no motor vehicles, exploring Lundy is all by foot, bike or tractor/trailer ride. Use Landmark Trust maps to navigate:

  • Easy Access Trail – Graded path to the village and North Lighthouse suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
  • Coast Path – Circumnavigate the whole island (13 miles) on dramatic cliff-top trails. Allow 8-10 hours.
  • Inland Trails – Explore the more sheltered moorland and valleys on myriad inland paths.
  • Guided Walks – Join informative tours like the Warden’s walk or historic tours.

With sweeping seascapes, scenic forests and curious archaeological remnants, all trails unveil the island’s spirit.

Beaches and Coves

It’s easy to find seclusion on Lundy’s pristine shores. Some to discover include:

  • North East Side – Exposed and rugged beaches like Harpers Cove reached only on foot. No lifeguards.
  • East Shore – More sheltered spots like Quarry Beach and Millcombe House Beach.
  • West Side – Greener coastline with small sandy coves like Portuguese Cove along the central west coast path.

Pack picnics, your swimsuit and a towel to make the most of beach pitstops surrounded by the sound of the waves and cries of seabirds.

seal on lundy

Wildlife Encounters

Boasting hardy endemic species, birds thrive on remote Lundy. Keep an eye out for:

  • Puffins – Seek out puffin hotspots like Jenny’s Cove and Halfway Wall. Best viewed April to July.
  • Seabirds – Razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes and fulmars glide on coastal winds.
  • Lundy Cabbage – Notice this unique brassica clinging to rock crevices along the cliffs.
  • Grey Seals – Spot seals basking on rocks and swimming in the waves.
  • Deer and ponies – Moorland grazing species brought over from the mainland.

With big skies and swirling seas, there’s a sense of wilderness and freedom that makes Lundy so special.

seal

Practical Visitor Information

To make the most of your Lundy escape:

  • Pack wisely as all supplies must be transported over. Bring essentials only and limit luggage.
  • Reserve accommodation, transport and activities like diving well in advance of travel. Spaces are limited.
  • Expect changeable coastal weather and come prepared with layers, waterproofs and sturdy footwear.
  • Don’t rely on mobile reception or WiFi – limited options exist near the tavern.
  • Travel light for easy walking and bring binoculars for wildlife. Cash only accepted.

With an intoxicating sense of disconnect, nature immersion and coastal charm, visiting Lundy feels akin to stepping off the map into somewhere mystical. Use the opportunity to embrace life simply and soak up the island atmosphere.

lundy map

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is Lundy Island? – It covers an area of approximately 1.5 square miles

When is the best time to visit Lundy? – Generally we suggest during the summer months, from May to September, when the weather is usually milder and more facilities are open for visitors.

Where is the island? – Lundy Island is located in the Bristol Channel, approximately 12 miles off the coast of North Devon, England

Other places to visit in the area

If you are going to Lundy Island, there are some other great places in North Devon to visit while you are there. Have a look at some of these:

  • Valley of the Rocks – Dramatic natural rock formations on the coast near Lynton forming a scenic valley inhabited by wild goats. Striking coastal cliffs and scenery.
  • Watermouth Castle – Picturesque 19th century folly castle set in beautiful cliffside gardens with family theme park, harbour and restaurants.
  • Dunster Castle – Historic castle transformed into an elegant stately home with expansive gardens boasting views over Exmoor National Park.
  • Clovelly – Picturesque ancient fishing village with cobbled streets and whitewashed cottages cascading down a steep hillside to the harbour.
  • Braunton Burrows – Vast sand dune system and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Stunning and tranquil scenic walking spot.
  • Big Sheep – Family attraction with shows, exhibits and sheep races. Opportunity to walk with alpacas and feed lambs.
  • Arlington Court – Elegant Regency mansion once home to the Chichester family, set in acres of parkland. Carriage museum on site.
  • Surfing at Saunton Sands – Take lessons or just enjoy the waves at this vast beach backed by impressive dunes. Great for watersports.

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