Bardsey Island, Wales: Britain’s least-populated island

Why go there?

If you really want to get away from it all in the UK, you have to jump ship to one of Britain’s small island outposts. From Bryher in the Scillies to Fair Isle in the Shetlands, there are scores of wonderfully quiet offshore retreats. But not many offer such primitive isolation as Bardsey, the sacred Welsh ‘Island of the Bards’.

What to do

Guests have a unique chance to explore this historic mile-wide traffic-free island, including its one steep hill, unusual square lighthouse, ruined monastery and internationally renowned wildlife. Spot seals, dolphins and porpoises, and thousands of rare birds.

Where to stay and eat

The Bardsey Trust rents out nine basic houses (from £270 a week). None of them have electricity or bathrooms – although they do have lighting, fridge freezers and outside toilets. Cold running water comes from wells or a mountain spring. The four island inhabitants can sell you home-grown vegetables, a fresh lobster or free-range eggs; other than that you have to bring your own food.

How to get there

Park at a remote farm, then carry your gear down a long, steep trail to the sea at Porth Meudwy. A small open boat takes 20 minutes to cross to Bardsey and the Trust advises you wear waterproof clothing. Treacherous waters make timetables unpredictable. And it’s not unknown for rough weather to leave visitors stranded on the island until it clears!