Lifestyle

The best private islands around Britain



The tiny one

Ynys Castell, Anglesey

Ynys Castell

With its lush foliage, this pebble-sized island looks like it could be anywhere in the exotic world… apart from, er, Wales. Peeking out of the Menai Strait between Anglesey and the mainland, the seven-bedroom house has 360-degree views of the water. Besides charming gardens, you make your own entertainment here. There’s plenty nearby, but the tide will dictate when you can drive on and off the island (surely all part of the adventure). From £1,599 per week (sykescottages.co.uk)

The heroic one

Spitbank Fort, The Solent

Spitbank Fort, The Solent (Alamy Stock Photo)

This giant hunk of granite near Portsmouth has seen plenty of action over the centuries. It was built to counter the threat of Napoleon and came under enemy fire in both world wars. Now a boutique hideaway with nine ample rooms and a rooftop hot ‘pool’, it’s either the perfect romantic getaway to show your eccentric side — or, if you and your mates book the entire place, it’s paaaarty time! Rooms from £649 (solentforts.com)

The wild one

Ronay Island, Outer Hebrides

Ronay Island, Outer Hebrides

Leave your pretences on dry land: this 597 hectares of wilderness is for real. No internet, no mobile signal (apart from at the top of a random hill), no boat… Once you’re dropped off, you’re here for the week. Just you, the noble stags, soaring eagles and your unfinished novel. Perhaps a lover, too, as the landscape is absurdly romantic. Five-bedroom cottage, £1,400 a week, late spring and summer only (ronayisland.com)


The glam one

Burgh Island, Devon

Burgh Island

Don’t confuse glam with bling: built in 1929, Burgh Island hotel is a refined art deco wonder, oozing with the glamour and nostalgia of the era. Edward and Mrs Simpson, Noël Coward and Churchill all lived it up here. Why not stay in the beach house where Agatha Christie wrote two novels? As befits the hotel’s storied history, enjoy live music in the grand ballroom or even a foxtrot on the outdoor dance floor. Burgh has a rugged side too: its roughly hewn Pilchard Inn dates from 1336 and, as it’s a tidal island, if the water is high, you’ll be jumping in a sea tractor to get there. Rooms from £328; whole island all-inclusive for 50 guests, £21,500 per weekend (burghisland.com)

The local one

Monkey Island Estate, Berkshire

Monkey Island Estate, Berkshire

Monkey Island is the closest of the bunch to the capital and steeped in history. Rubble from the Fire of London raised this sliver of land in the Thames above flood levels before the Duke of Marlborough bought it in 1738 as a retreat. Elgar wrote his first symphony there and both HG Wells and Edward VII visited. An insane George III was even rumoured to have been banished here with his pet monkey (one theory as to how the place got its name). These days it’s an urbane, country house-style retreat. If you fancy stretching your legs, take a stroll to nearby Bray and fill up at its many Michelin-starred restaurants. Rooms from £275 (monkeyislandestate.co.uk)



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