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Relax & unwind on Flat Holm Island

Rich in wildlife and steeped in history, Flat Holm is a uniquely wild Welsh wonder, situated just five miles off the coast of Cardiff.


(Flat Holm Island)

Accessed by boat, the stunning island is a different world with a wealth of heritage to explore and wildlife to see and hear. This hidden gem might be small, but you’ll be amazed by how much there is to discover – it provides the perfect adventure for any island lover.


HISTORY AND HERITAGE

Since the Dark Ages, Flat Holm has acted as a retreat for monks and a sanctuary for Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, silver miners and smugglers. Fortified in Victorian times and again in World War II, it’s perhaps most famous for playing host to pioneering wireless radio experiments in 1897.


A WELSH ICON

Because of frequent shipwrecks, a lighthouse was built on the island, which was replaced by a Trinity House structure in 1737. In 1988, it became fully automated and the keepers were withdrawn; then in 1997, the light was modernised and converted to solar power. The lighthouse has now become a treasured Welsh landmark that is often photographed.


WONDERFUL WILDLIFE

The island has a significant breeding colony of nearly 2,000 pairs of lesser black-backed gulls, 400 pairs of herring gulls, two pairs of great black-backed gulls and varying numbers of common shelduck and Eurasian oystercatchers. It is also home to slowworms with unusual blue markings, and you’ll see rabbits and wild sheep grazing.


(Flat Holm Island)

HOW TO GET THERE

A day visit by boat (bookable from spring to autumn) provides you with up to three hours on the island. Two boat operators travel to Flat Holm: for an exciting, high-octane ride, Bay Island Voyages’ fast RIBs fit the bill; while Cardiff Cruises offer a more leisurely trip, enabling you to sit back, relax and take in the scenery. Passengers get to experience locking out of Cardiff Bay Barrage, before embarking on the short journey on the Severn Estuary.


MAKE A NIGHT OF IT

For those with an appetite for even more adventure, why not extend your visit with an overnight stay? You can camp in the paddock that overlooks West Beach and the sea, cook over a campfire, watch the serene sunset, drift off to sleep to the sound of waves breaking on the pebble beach, and wake up to fresh sea air. Dormitory-style accommodation is available in the farmhouse for visitors wanting to spend quality time with friends and family, as well as a self-contained, fully furnished cottage for smaller groups.


TOURS AND FACILITIES

Upon arrival at the island, you’ll be greeted by an enthusiastic warden and volunteers. You can purchase a self-guided tour pack so you can explore at your own pace, or go on a free, entertaining accompanied tour, led by the experienced team who live and work there.

After the tour, visitors can relax and soak up the tranquil atmosphere and spectacular views, and enjoy a drink at The Gull and Leek, Wales’ most southerly pub. The small gift shop provides an opportunity to buy postcards, snacks, and a range of souvenirs as a memento of your island outing.

ISLAND EXPERIENCES

The options don’t end there – as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s investment in Flat Holm, more tempting trips are available. From inspirational photography weekends and creative writing sessions, to relaxing wellbeing retreats and overnight family fun stays, there’s an exciting range of activities with something for everyone during the warmer months.


For the latest updates, follow the island on Facebook and Instagram, and head to flatholmisland.com for more information.

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