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Great Britain, the large island in the North Sea, is surrounded by plenty of smaller isles and islets, which offer unique opportunities to go for a walking or cycling holiday.
Just the fact that you are on an island gives an instant and sheer holiday feeling. On top of that, there is the special journey to reach the island; which often includes a short ferry or boat ride to increase the sensation even more. Island life is usually slow-paced and local people seem more relaxed, hospitable and are often in for a chat. Add to that a constant sea breeze, fresh seafood and stunning ocean vistas and you’ve got yourself the perfect great British island holiday.
Below, we list five of so called British isles that you can choose to discover on several of our cycling and walking holidays.
#1 Isle of Wight
Queen Victoria, despite ruling a quarter of the Earth and being Empress of India, elected to spend her holidays on the Isle of Wight. Here she had a little holiday cottage build called Osborne House - her little pied-à-terre. She painted and sketched the island’s nature, rode horses and went for long walks and swimming.
The island is relatively quick and easily reached from London on a 2-hour train ride plus a ferry or hovercraft trip.
>> Discover the Isle of Wight on foot with the Isle of Wight Coastal Walking holiday
>> Discover the Isle of Wight by bicycle with the Isle of Wight Cycle holiday
Jersey is the biggest island of the Bailiwicks of Guernsey & Jersey who have a separate economic and political life from Great Britain. The island has an ancient history: it was until several thousand years ago attached to mainland France with many Palaeolithic dolmans or burials from that period. It was known about in Roman times and later came under the control of the duke of Brittany during the Viking invasions. All in all, lots of historical and natural interest for the walker or cyclist.
>> Discover Jersey on foot with the Jersey: the Channel Island Way holiday
>> Discover Jersey by bicycle with the Channel Islands Cycle holiday
#3 Isle of Man
According to legend, this British island was once ruled by Manannán who would draw his misty cloak around the island to protect it from invaders. One of the principal folk theories about the origin of the name Mann is that it is named after Manannán. The ancient Romans knew of the island and called it Insula Manavi, it is uncertain though whether they conquered the island or not. However, the Manx Gaelic for the island is Ellan Vannin, which just means island of Man.
Learn about Manx history and myths in the Manx Museum in Douglas, your port of arrival.
>> Discover the Isle of Man on foot with the Isle of Man Coastal Path holiday
Known for scenic cliffs and beaches, small towns oozing old world charm, and coastal defences dating from the Palaeolithic period through to the Second World War, Guernsey has been a favourite holiday destination for active adventurers. After a long and turbulent history, Guernsey, similarly to Jersey and other islands, is now a British crown dependency, albeit not part of the UK or of the European Union.
Another island that is part of the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey. Each of the small islands have their own character and customs and this is very clear when you visit them all.
>> Discover Guernsey on foot with the Guernsey Islands – Channel Island Way holiday
>> Discover Guernsey by bicycle with the Channel Islands Cycle holiday
#5 Holy Island
A causeway leads across the sands to Lindisfarne on Holy Island, just off the area of outstanding natural beauty that is the Northumberland Coast. Correct timing is essential here as the causeway gets covered by water for almost two quarters of each day. With Sherpa Expeditions you can overnight at this tiny British island, allowing you plenty of time to roam around.
When you have made it to Holy Island, the 16th Century Lindisfarne fortress and the priory ruins are a must-visit. The castle has even featured in films such as Macbeth and Cul-de-Sac, both by Roman Polanski.
>> Discover Holy Island on foot during the St Cuthbert’s Way holiday in 8 days
>> Discover Holy Island on foot during the St Cuthbert's Way holiday in 10 days
Curious to learn more about some of these British isles? Or if you would like to make an enquiry to discover one of the above-mentioned islands on a cycling or walking holiday, please contact the team at our London office.
From spring next year (2018), you will have even more choice to go on an active holiday in the UK as we will be launching several brand-new trips again.
Next year, we will be adding three new walking programmes spread out over England and the isles, plus a completely renewed cycling holiday that will follow one of the UK’s most popular walking trails.
Isle of Man Coastal Path >> new walking holiday
- Beautiful Coastal scenery on quiet trails
- Cultural heritage towns such as Castletown, Peel, Ramsey and Laxey
- Wildlife spotting opportunities
- Seascapes embracing views to England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
- Bathing opportunities
- A network of steam, electric, mountain and horse drawn railways
- Interesting histories to discover
>> View this new self guided walking trip in England now
The Richmond Way >> new walking holiday
- Magnificent Lancaster, Bolton and Richmond castles and the 'motte' (remains) of several others
- Ingleton Village and waterfalls
- Walking on ancient Roman roads
- Beautiful 'Green' villages such as Bainbridge and Reeth
- High limestone walking with views over the Yorkshire fells
- Beautiful valleys of Wensleydale and Swaledale
- Ribblehead Viaduct – a mecca for railway enthusiasts
The Cyclist’s Coast to Coast >> new cycling holiday
- Ride across England from Irish to the North Sea, crossing the Lake District and Pennines
- Biking through the hills & dales of northern England
- Attractive hamlets and traditional villages
- Industrial heritage, lead mines and the River Tyne
- A satisfying and very challenging ride
>> View this new self guided cycling trip in England now
Jersey Island – Channel Island Way >> new walking holiday
- Discover legacy of wars, occupations & pirates
- Second part of the Channel Island Way
- Magnificent rock pools & sweeping dunes
- Follow rugged cliff paths sprinkled with wildflowers
- Charming seaside pubs & fishing villages
>> View this new self guided cycling trip in England now
We are currently finalising the details for these new trips, so stay tuned on this page (perhaps you like to bookmark it) for updates and to find out when the trips are available next year.
If you like to enquire or like us to send you a message as soon as the trips are available online, please contact our team of travel experts in London.