Cool Place of the Day: Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

Every day, a new place to discover or explore in the UK, from

Martin Dunford
Wednesday 13 April 2016 12:00 BST

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

Just a mile off the mighty Pembrokeshire coast and the small town of St David’s, Skomer Island has an awful lot going for it. It’s a national nature reserve, an SSSI, a registered ancient monument and is managed by the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust due to the fact that it’s home to large numbers of seabirds all year round, including guillemots, razorbills, and the world’s largest breeding colony of Manx shearwaters, as well as lots of seals and occasional sightings of dolphins. But it’s most famous for its puffins: as many as 6,000 pairs breed and nest here in late spring, arriving in mid-April (when the island is carpeted in bluebells) and leaving at the tail-end of July.

Ferries to Skomer run from the end of March to the end of September, and you can land on the island for a few hours, or just take a look at it from the sea on regular cruises either at lunchtime or (from mid-April to August) at dusk to see thousands of puffins, guillemots and Manx shearwaters return from a hard day’s fishing. If you book ahead, you can also stay the night oj the island in one of the very reasonably priced rooms at the Wildlife-Trust-owned Old Farm. Alternatively, there are ‘Sea Safari’ trips in summer on high-speed rigid inflatables, some of which also go out to the more distant guano-peaked island of Grassholm, with its gannet colony. You can’t book the regular Skomer boars, so turn up early to be sure of a place and to buy landing tickets for the island at the Wildlife Trust building at Martins Haven.

Martin Dunford is Publisher of Cool Places, a new website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (

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