More information on: Scilly Isles, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands.
The Scilly Isles
With five inhabited islands, each with their own unique personality and distinctive way of life, and countless uninhabited islands to explore, there is always plenty to see and do when taking a luxury holiday in the Scilly Isles. The rugged, distinctive and unspoilt coastline yields magnificent walks and stunning white sand beaches with picture-perfect clear waters, ideal for going diving.
If you’re an avid walker, a great idea would be to visit the Scilly Isles in March, during the period of the WalkScilly Festival. This is a great time to explore the wide variety of flora and fauna in the region, distinctive across each island. Tresco Abbey Garden is one of the UK’s most beautiful gardens, and is well worth a lazy afternoon visit.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is a proud island which has a rich culture and heritage. Of course the most notable annual event in the Isle of Man is the TT Races, but there is so much more to this small and rather isolated part of the UK and it is truly a brilliant location for your luxury self-catering holiday. Take a ride on the horse-pulled trams along the promenade in the main town Douglas for a truly nostalgic experience, or visit Milntown historic house where you will find a number of vintage cars and motorcycles alongside a beautiful country home and stunning walled gardens.
With over 40% of this small island remaining completely unpopulated, there are plenty of opportunities for taking lovely country walks on the Isle of Man. Hills roll out to the picture-perfect coastline and through 18 beautiful national glens. We recommend a walk through the secluded and picturesque Glen Maye, to the awe-inspiring waterfalls and then on to a beautiful sandy beach – it’s a near-perfect day’s walking, with uninterrupted countryside and coastal views. Perhaps the best views on the island, however, can be found at The Sound on the southern tip of the Isle of Man: here you can gaze out over the spectacular Calf of Man.
For a fun day out with the kids, animal lovers will enjoy the Mann Cat Sanctuary and the home for retired horses, which are close to each other. The Mann Cat Sanctuary has hundreds of animals (not all cats!) to pet, and is a great place to see the famous Manx Cat.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is truly a beautiful place to take a luxury romantic break, with over 500 miles of footpaths and bridleways to walk and explore and numerous stunning sandy beaches. Perhaps the most recognisable attraction on the island is Alum Bay: if you haven’t seen it, you simply must as it is one of the most beautiful views in the British Isles; spectacularly coloured striped cliffs lead down to a multi-coloured sandy beach, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Nearby Needles Park also provides a chairlift down to the beach, which offers spectacular views both of the island and coast and across the English Channel.
There are a number of interesting National Trust properties on the Isle of Wight, but our favourite is the Bembridge Windmill. This fascinating windmill was built in 1700, and is particularly special as it is the only one left of the Isle of Wight and retains much of its original machinery, still intact and in working order. This really is a beautiful place to visit, and legendary Romantic watercolour landscape artist Joseph Turner was inclined to agree, finding inspiration here when he painted the windmill in 1795.
The Channel Islands
Jersey and Guernsey are geographically much closer to France than they are to England, but are loyal to the British Crown.
Guernsey is a beautiful island on which to enjoy a relaxing luxury self-catering holiday. The main town of St. Peter Port is a rare jewel; a town which has retained its unique identity for hundreds of years. You are unlikely to find a better shopping town for picking up unique treasures and gifts, with numerous colourful independent and boutique shops dotting the cobbled streets. Historically, Guernsey could not be more interesting as it is full of Napoleonic towers, Neolithic burial chambers and WWII relics. Castle Cornet has watched over the town for more than 800 years, and is an unmissable attraction, as well as the lovely church in St. Peter Port.
If you like to take long country walks while you are away, Guernsey could be the perfect destination for you. The cliffs to the south offer stunning views across the sea towards France and there are 27 bays to explore – all offering unique and beautiful coves and sandy beaches. Renoit loved Guernsey, and Moulin Huet Bay is renowned as Renoit’s favourite spot on the island.
Jersey is a very unique island; a perfect mix of English and French cultures. Jersey has many, many spectacular beaches along the south and west coasts, but we recommend the lovely Plemont Beach to the north of the island, which is backed by high cliffs and has many fascinating caves and rock pools to explore. When the sea is rough, Plemont is the ideal place for a day’s surfing, but when it is calm the sandy beach is a perfect relaxation and picnic spot for the family.
If you are interested in history, Jersey is the perfect spot to rent a luxury cottage. Jersey is a fascinating place to explore due to the scars left by its five-year German military occupation during the Second World War, when the Channel Islands became the Nazis’ “impenetrable fortress”. Grosnez Castle is also a very interesting spot on the north west headland, a ruined castle in a well-renowned beauty spot against the backdrop of the vast Atlantic Ocean, where you can look across to see Guernsey and the smaller Channel Islands Sark and Herm.
Recommended attractions across the English Islands:
• Beauport Beach on Jersey is a fantastic spot for sunbathing, with its deep blue waters and golden sands
• A fantastic walk from Guernsey is over to Lihou Island, which can be reached within 10 minutes via a cobbled path which is accessible for about 2 weeks in every month when the tide is right.
• The Ayres on the Isle of Man is a brilliant nature trail and wildlife hotspot, affording generous views and the chance to see myriad flora and fauna.
• The Isle of Wight is famous for its festivals: the brilliant Bestival happens every September and the Isle of Wight Festival kicks off the music festival season in June. They are both brilliant weekends with a great atmosphere.
• When visiting the Scilly Isles for your luxury getaway, be sure to take a boat trip out to some of the many, varied but all exquisite, uninhabited islands, where you will find something very close to paradise.