Skokholm

Skokholm, Skokholm Island: Tickets, Tours, Address, Skokholm Reviews: 4.5/5

Islands • Nature & Wildlife Areas
About
This small island nature reserve, located off the west coast of Wales, is one of the most important seabird breeding sites in Europe.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
4 within 6 miles

4.5
10 reviews
Excellent
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Very good
1
Average
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Terrible
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Emma R
London, UK61 contributions
Skokholm adventure
Jul 2019 • Friends
My parents wanted to go to Skokholm as they had already been to Skomer and fancied something a bit more isolated. I didn't really know what i was in for to be honest! After the event I think I'd recommend it if you're into birds or painting, I'm moderately birdy but not hugely and it was good for me.

We booked 4 nights mon-fri and the more i read the more apprehensive I was! (No showers, bring all your own food, no phone signal, boat may not be able to sail there or back on the day planned, the puffins have fledged early and might all be gone... none of this was as bad as i feared!)

We set sail Monday morning as planned, sea was choppy. Once on the island was pleasantly surpised with the room, I'd been expecting basically camping but it was much posher than that (twin beds, sink in the room with oodles of hot water) and the toilet situation was fine (seperator toilet, clean, not trauma to use at all).

The puffins really are very cute and we managed to see them every day. The first few nights (11pm-4am) there was storm petrel capture, ringing, weighing and release. It was a privilege to be able to help with the releasing part and get up close to the stormies. We also witnessed gulls being caught and released for research and manx sheerwater ringing.

The island is small but the number of people is also small so there is plenty of space and we went hours sometimes without seeing anyone. But equally you can always find someone more knowledgeable about birds or wildlife than yourself to ask questions of. There is 4G+ phone signal but only on one specific bench. The island shop is well stocked with lots of options inc mars bars (80p). We got stuck and extra night due to a heavy swell but this was fine. Not washing my hair for 5 nights was not so bad.
Written July 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Richard M
London, UK49 contributions
Too risky to attempt a trip as access arrangements are inadequate.
Jul 2018 • Solo
I had booked four nights on Skokholm from Monday 30th July to Thursday 2 August 2018 in order to be able to enjoy the puffins at all hours of the day. I live in London and use public transport. I had pre-booked one night in Marloes on the Sunday prior to my promised departure for Monday to Skokholm and one night in Marloes for Friday night to cover my return from Skokholm.

Things got off to a bad start when I received a call from the warden at 10.23 am on Sunday 29 July 2018 while I was on the train from London to Haverfordwest. I was informed that the sea conditions were not going to be suitable for landing on Monday 30th, but that it was hoped to get me on the island on Tuesday 31 July, or more likely, so it was said, on Wednesday 1st of August. This caused me massive inconvenience, but I was able to book at the last minute alternative accommodation in two separate guest houses in Marloes for Monday and Tuesday evenings.

The conditions on Monday and Tuesday were good for sailing. Although the public are not taken to nearby Island of Skomer on Mondays, I saw several boats sailing in the area, including one taking a couple of people to Skomer to work. On Tuesday all three boats that were scheduled to land on Skomer did so. On both days it was bright and sunny with very little wind.

I was therefore very surprised that not only did I not sail to Skokholm on either Monday or Tuesday, but also at 1pm on Tuesday my entire trip was cancelled. When I raised with the warden and subsequently the Trust why this was so despite the apparently good weather conditions, I was told that it is much harder to land on Skokholm than Skomer. Landing on Skokholm was said to be "problematic". This important information was not disclosed in advance as it should have been. I had been to Skomer several times before and had never had a cancelled boat trip. In the absence of any information from the Trust prior to me booking for Skokholm that landings there were problematic, I had no reason to suppose that trips there would be any more difficult than at Skomer.

The Trust has refunded me the cost of staying on Skokholm and has promised to pay for two of the four nights accommodation I had in Marloes. I am though substantially out of pocket, not only in relation to the cost of the other two nights in Marloes, but also the cost of transport to and from London. I had a wholly abortive trip and am very disappointed. Despite me asking for it, the Trust have not even now provided me with adequate information that would enable me to judge what the chance of a successful landing at Skokhom is. They simply gave me the phone number of the boatman. It is a matter for regret that the Trust not only does not publish in advance what the percentage chance of a successful landing at Skokholm is, but also when asked to provide that information, does not do so.
Written August 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hazel L
Morecambe, England, United Kingdom17 contributions
Fabulous Experience!
Jun 2018 • Couples
Our 3 nights on Skokholm were fabulous. The organisation of this whole trip was perfect and left nothing to chance. We found no flaws in the system, from preparing and packing to sailing over and "chaining" our luggage on and off the boat, to learning how to live "off grid" and to keeping the wildlife safe from human disturbance. As far as the Wardens and Volunteers were concerned, it was an honour to meet them and we felt so welcome. Their knowledge of the natural world was imparted generously and we were lucky enough to pick Steves brains whilst he was ringing a willow warbler, learning a whole lot more about the minute details of this little birds life. Everybody made a contribution to the Log call in the evenings, so we all felt useful as extra eyes on the island watching the comings and goings of birds, butterflies and moths.
As far as the wildlife experience went, as long as we stuck to the marked paths, we had full run of the island. Life slows down out there and you notice the detail. Watching from a grassy slope or a hide, minutes and hours slip away as you become involved in the "soap opera" side of social life as a guillemot or puffin. Discovering the drama of night time bird activity was amazing. A torch was required for walking in the dark but the best way of experiencing the Shearwaters coming to their burrows was just to sit in the blackness on the path and listen to them calling. If you love nature and want to immerse yourself in the fauna and flora of an isolated spot, then Skokholm is ideal.
Written July 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gaynor T
Swansea, UK77 contributions
Commune with the puffins
Jul 2017 • Friends
I have just got back from a wonderful weekend on Skokholm island with a couple of friends and had a fab time. I wasn't sure what to expect before leaving, so I thought I'd write a review with some top tips while they're fresh in my mind!

Boat etc - We had an early start, so we stayed at Allenbrook B&B in Dale the night before - the owner very kindly let us leave our two of our three cars there (we all came separately) meaning we only had to leave one car at the farm near the drop-off point.

Practicalities - The literature they send out states there are no showers and a composting toilet. I can understand people balking at this. Fear not, it's not as bad as it sounds. It's not a long drop toilet or anything, it's a normal toilet you sit on and is cleared out by the volunteers every 1-2 days or so. Quite civilised. One of the toilets even has a stained glass window on the door! You get your own sink in your room, so is perfectly OK to stand on a towel and flannel yourself down. If the sun has been shining, the water is warm due to solar panels.

Accommodations - most people have their own room, either in the cottage, or in the converted out building, both of which are comfortable options. There are single, twin
and double bed rooms too. Bring your own bedding with you - sheet, duvet cover and pillow - a duvet and two blankets are provided.

Cooking - No need to bring any cutlery, crockery etc, everything is there - saucepans, frying pan, steamer, lasagne dishes, utensils...everything you could need. Just bring your own food. There are two ovens and at least 8 rings that run on gas. So you can cook up any meal you like as long as you bring the ingredients. (Don't worry about salt and pepper, fry light etc - that's provided). I even did a vegetable lasagne one night, so a wide range of dishes is possible. There is a chest freezer and a large chest fridge - each room gets a basket in the fridge. You also get your own shelf in the pantry. There's a large table to eat at, or eat outside on a picnic table if the weather is good enough.

Clothes - bring enough warm clothes with you - even if it's July and it seems warm on departure! It can be cold in the sea mist and the air can be damp - I was glad of my fleece hat on those days. Having said that, it can be very warm when the sun is shining and the mist is burnt off - I was in my shorts at times. If the weather is fine, trainers are OK for walking around the island, but if it's damp/wet, boots are must haves.

Phone coverage - I wasn't expecting any coverage, but it's pretty good considering you're on an island four miles off land. My SIM card is TalkTalk which piggybacks on Vodafone - I had good signal for texting and 3G data in the accommodations (obviously it drops out around the island when you lose sight of the mainland). Apparently 4G is also accessible from the accommodation sections, particularly the benches facing the mainland! So perfectly possible to keep in touch for those who like that sort of thing. I'm not sure about other networks, but Vodafone is good. You can charge your phone in the library which has electricity and 3 pin plugs.

There are no structured activities on the island unless you count the optional introductory walk the warden gave us, and a night walk to see the storm petrels through infrared equipment and the Manx Shearwaters (fab!). Other than that, you can wander the island to your heart's content (via the very well marked paths - white stones show you the way). If it's raining, you can have a short walk and shelter in the 7-8 hides around the island, or if you don't fancy walking in the rain, chill out in the library, or on the comfy sofas in the cottage and have a bit of a read or whatever. On clear nights, those who like astronomy will be treated to a view of the Milky Way.

I can't praise the wardens and volunteers enough - they are fabulous people and really know their stuff. They're friendly and personable too! It couldn't hurt to take some chocolate/alcohol/eco logs from Wilkinsons if you want to give them an extra inexpensive present!

As for the island - I'm not a birder, but I had a wonderful time. My favourite thing to do was to go up to Crabb Bay about about 8pm when there were thousands of puffins on the cliff-side. From the hide, they're at arm's length away. There are loads of short walks around the island (it's only a mile long) so if you've had enough it's not far to nip back for a cuppa or go to the loo! You can go for walks on your own where you see no-one, or chat to your fellow islanders back at base.

There are rabbits hopping around, gulls/puffins, butterflies, seals basking on the rocks, loads of other stuff - bird paradise. My favourite is the puffins - be warned, they go to sea for the rest of the year in mid-July, so visit before that if you're partial to the puffin. The Skokholm Log at 9pm in the cottage is good - everyone says what birds etc they've seen for the records (stretching back to 1927!) As a non-birder, I couldn't really contribute to this, but lots of nuggets of info come up, so it's well worth it!

Beware that you *could* be stranded for a few extra days if the weather turns bad - just take a bit of extra food in case that happens (although there was ample in the island shop for contingencies to be honest!)

I've added some photos of the accommodations - for many photos of the wildlife, check out the Skokholm Island Twitter feed :)

Take cameras/binoculars/suncream/waterproof jacket and enjoy!
Written July 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AliceS212
Cardiff, UK7 contributions
Beautiful, magical island - not be to missed!
May 2017 • Couples
We have recently returned from a long weekend on Skokholm Island & had the most incredible experience.

The island is open throughout the summer, and holidays are booked via West Wales Wildlife Trust. Be quick though, as spaces go early!
We left St Martin's Haven on the Pembrokeshire mainland not knowing what to expect… we were greeted on the island by the super friendly wardens, Rich & Giselle, and thousands of seabirds flying overhead!

The accommodation is basic - twin / single rooms in a stone lodge - but clean and comfortable, with a sink in each room. There is intermittent hot water and solar-powered lighting (when the sun's shining!) and 3G mobile signal.

We spent our days wondering around the island, bird watching, swimming with the seals, chatting to the lovely group we were with, and chilling out. We ended up getting stranded for a couple of extra days due to bad weather - we were delighted!

I don't want to say much more, as I don't want to spoil it… other than we've been fortunate to travel across the world to various isolated islands and countries, but there was something extra special about this experience.

Beautiful, magical island… once in a lifetime experience.

PS. Before going, I read Ronald Lockley's book Dream Island - he moved to the island by himself before WW2 when he was the only person living there! Fascinating read.
Written May 31, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ieuan E
161 contributions
Best island in the world!
Dec 2016
This place is magical, especially if you like birds. The island is inundated with seabirds during the spring and early summer so it has Puffins, Razorbills & Guillemots to see during the day, and if you're lucky Storm Petrels and Manx Shearwaters at night. The accommodation is basic but warm, dry and comfortable. The wardens are absolutely lovely and unbelievably knowledgeable. There's a great little library and quite a few little hides/blinds to sit in. As there is no regular ferry the island is very quiet and it's easy to find your own space. The scenery is beautiful, the wildlife fantastic and the island magical. Bet you'll want to go back!
Written December 7, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Ieuan, Thank you so much for your lovely review of Skokholm Island. We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay and we hope that you visit again soon. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
Written January 3, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

370jrf
Scotland, UK16 contributions
Viking navigational milestone!
Jul 2016 • Couples
Anyone can circumnavigate the island on tour boats, but no landings/day visitors. Seasonal stays (min. 3/4 days) possible by advanced booking in simple hostel-style self-catering accommodation in former farmhouse & associated buildings (no showers, composting toilets etc.; bring your own food and carry it down to Martinshaven!). Spectacular in seabird breeding season & in good weather (puffins, shearwaters, guillemots/razorbills etc.); also spring flowers, sloworms, seals & historical features (field walls, lime-kiln, lighthouse, light railway fragments etc.). But you need to keep to marked paths & keep clear of the unfenced cliffs. Little to do in wet weather but get wet, sleep, drink coffee, talk and/or browse in Wildlife Trust library!
Written August 6, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi, Thanks so much for leaving a review. We hope you enjoyed your stay on Skokholm Island and hope to see you again soon. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and the Skokholm Team
Written August 24, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sylvia B
Brighton, UK93 contributions
Bird island: lonely and wild.
Jul 2015 • Family
Skokholm Island is only a few miles from the Pembrokeshire mainland but you feel years away. There are no day visits, so you have to stay at least 3 days - sometimes longer if the weather's too bad for the boat to take you back. Getting there is an adventure in itself - the 'harbour' is tiny and everything has to be carried up and down a narrow path - that's all your food for several days (and more, in case the weather stops you leaving). A half hour boat trip - very wet - gets you to a tiny landing quay on Skokholm and a wild and windy island with no trees: only birds and grass. The accommodation is in the old farmhouse and converted outbuildings. Basic but fine. There are no showers and compost loos. We were lucky to be there with a group of bird ringers, there to ring and record the manx shearwaters, storm petrels and others. Our 15 year old daughter was so enthused, she got us up at 2 in the morning to come and help ring the storm petrels; we also had walks at midnight to see the manx shearwaters come in to land. Incredible!
There are walks around the mile long island, a lighthouse and bird hides to watch the puffins. We were there in July so missed the best of the wildflowers but just caught the birds before they migrated. We had good weather but it could be miserable if it rained every day...the only diversion (although a good one) is the extensive library on birds and local history.
Lovely!
Written September 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

J W
Ripon, UK97 contributions
Wonderful way to experience natural history
Aug 2015 • Friends
Stayed on the island for a week, assisting with natural history studies but you don't have to be mad on wildlife to enjoy the island! Stunning views, huge seabird populations (go in June/July for Puffins etc.), acres of beautiful pink Sea Thrift, watch cetaceans (dolphins, sometimes whales) from the comfort of the little hide below the lighthouse or just enjoy following the well marked (with white stones or painted wooden stakes) paths around the island. Certain areas are out-of-bounds, where scientific studies are taking place.
The main cottage has been beautifully renovated, with a wood-burning stove in the main room, off which are bedrooms. Other accommodation is in delightful converted buildings - simple but clean, thanks to the scientists who also help with the cleaning! Meals are taken in the Wheelhouse, at a long table overlooked by the wheel from a long-sunken vessel. Composting loos may sound odd but very clean and one even has a stained glass door panel! Take all your own food (there is a small shop) and bedding - and don't forget the binoculars!
Written September 1, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Annerly777
London, UK270 contributions
Fantastic day out
Go before mid July to see 13,000 puffins nesting, fishing and flying. Best puffin viewing site. Loads of other sea birds and lots of grey seals.
Written July 25, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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