With summer creeping ever closer, it's time for us all to start planning our holidays. Of course, if you're at uni or in a graduate job (or maybe just living in London) then you might not be able to afford to go abroad. The good news is, there are tons of amazing islands in the UK you can visit without breaking the bank. Here are 11 of our favourites...
Skye is one of those places that is so beautiful it seems like a landscape from another world. Located in the Inner Hebrides on the western coast of Scotland, Skye is easily accessed by a (cheap) ferry that runs from Mallaig on the mainland, or by the bridge that crosses the Kyle of Lochalsh. Major highlights include the Old Man of Storr (seen in the photo above), Dunvegan Castle and the Fairy Pools, which you can swim in if you're feeling brave enough.
Oh, and if you're driving over the Skye Bridge on your way out, don't forget to pop by Eilean Donan Castle. If you don't recognise the name, you'll almost certainly recognise the photos...
For the ultimate secluded getaway, head to Lundy Island, off the coast of North Devon. This island has a permanent population of less than 30 people and tip to tip is only about three miles long - meaning, in theory, you should be able to walk the length of it within an hour. Of course, it doesn't tend to work out that way, seeing as there's so much to stop and gawp at on your way.
Top sightseeing spots include Marisco Castle and the Old Light, and if you're lucky you'll even get a glimpse of some nesting puffins ("Lundy" coming from the Old Norse word for puffin). There are several places to stay on the island, but the ferry service (which runs from Ilfracombe and Bideford) operates daily arrivals and departures, giving you a good few hours to explore if you don't want to stay the night.
Mull is another Scottish island in the Inner Hebrides, accessed by ferry from nearby Oban. Its main attraction is the colourful waterside town of Tobermory (seen above) on the northern point of the island, which you might recognise as the setting for Balamory. The ferry comes in here, and if you're just visiting for the day there's plenty to keep you entertained in the town and the surrounding area. Head south, though, and you'll discover a whole host of things to see and do.
Loch Frisa lies not far from Tobermory and is lined by the beautiful Calgary Beach. Further south you can tour the grounds of the charming Duart Castle and brush up on your history at the Ross of Mull Historical Centre.
Wales is known for its beautiful rolling green landscapes and some of the best can found on Anglesey. The island is located off the north west coast of Wales next to Bangor, and is famed for its historic sites and quaint seaside villages. Wildlife enthusiasts can get their fix at the Anglesey Sea Zoo and the RSPB Reserve, while history buffs will enjoy touring Beaumaris Castle and the island's ancient burial chambers.
Anglesey is easily accessed by train or car and is home to many cheap camping sites, making it the perfect spot for a budget holiday.
Nope, that's not a Caribbean island, that's Tresco in the Scilly Isles. Though the Scilly Isles have a reputation for being rather posh, they are actually a great travel spot if you're seeking something budget as well. Go in the summer months (via ferry or plane) and the balmy weather will make camping at one of Tresco's campsites a joy.
The island is also home to a lot of great attractions, including the Abbey Garden (where you'll find 20,000 species of plant) and the white sand beaches at Pentle Bay and Rushy Porth.
Though Jersey and Guernsey are the best known Channel Islands, there's just something special about Sark. This car-free island is packed with beautiful little coves, beaches, coastal walks and sightseeing spots.
You can access Sark on the passenger ferry from Guernsey, and once you're there you can enjoy being taken around in horse-drawn carts, walking, kayaking, wildlife-spotting and admiring the stunning La Seigneurie Gardens.
7 Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is the largest island on this list and, in fact, the largest island in the UK. Though it may not feel as secluded or rustic as other smaller islands, there are still plenty of adventures to be had. There are tons of excellent beaches and lots of opportunities to walk, cycle, horse-ride, golf and do water sports. Plus, there are some local wildlife species that you won't see often in mainland UK, including the red squirrel.
Best of all, because the Isle of Wight is so big, there are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation, meaning you can go budget at a campsite or treat yourself to a fancy hotel if you're feeling flash.
Lindisfarne, or Holy Island as it is more commonly known, is located off the coast of Northern England not far from Berwick-upon-Tweed. It's notable for being accessed by a narrow causeway that only appears during low tide, meaning that it is sometimes possible to get trapped on the island if you don't plan well enough. Luckily, there are places to stay on the island should you get stuck!
Though small, Holy Island is full of tourist attractions and rich with history. It is famous for being repeatedly attacked by Viking invaders during the 8th century, and is home to a castle (seen above), the ruins of the Lindisfarne Priory, and an excellent museum and visitor centre.
9 Mainland Orkney
Though Orkney is actually an archipelago made up of around 70 islands, you'll find that there's plenty to keep you entertained on the main island alone.
Orkney Mainland can be accessed by plane or boat, and is home to several car hire companies which make it easy to rent a vehicle once you've arrived. The top attractions on the island are mostly historical - or in Orkney's case prehistorical. Start with the breathtaking Ring of Brodgar (shown above), the third largest stone circle in the UK, and then move on to Skara Brae to marvel at the remains of a Stone Age village. If you've got a car, take a little trip down to the tiny island of Lamb Holm, just south of Mainland Orkney, where you'll find the seemingly out-of-place Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war during World War Two.
10 Rathlin Island
Rathlin might not be as well known as the Scottish, Welsh or English islands on this list, but it's certainly worth a visit if you love your rugged, remote landscapes. It's located off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Island and has a small population of around 140.
The distinctively L-shaped Rathlin Island can be easily reached by ferry from Ballycastle and once there you'll find seals, seabirds and tonnes of opportunities for walking, cycling, and delving into the island's intriguing history. There's also plenty of accommodation, and - most importantly - an island pub by the name of McCuaig's Bar.
11 Lewis and Harris
You might not expect an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland to look like this but, well...it does. That beach you're looking at is Traigh Iar on the Isle of Harris (which, slightly confusingly, shares the same body of land as the Isle of Lewis). It's just one of many reasons to visit this part of the world. Others include the tremendously atmospheric Callanish Standing Stones, the Victorian era Lews Castle in Stornoway, and Luskentyre Beach.
You can also use Lewis and Harris as a starting point to visit other nearby islands, such as Taransay, Great Bernera, and even the remote St Kilda, which has lain deserted since 1930.
Feature image © Wikipedia/Pixabay