Seven flight-free island holidays for a summer escape, from the Isles of Scilly to the ‘Breton Caribbean’

Seven flight-free island holidays for a summer escape, from the Isles of Scilly to the ‘Breton Caribbean’


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Rosslare in County Wexford is the main southerly gateway to Ireland by sea, with regular ferry crossings from Pembroke and Fishguard. Ireland’s south-east corner has been a popular summer getaway for generations partly due to its proximity to Dublin, but also thanks to its broad, sandy beaches. Among them is golden Curracloe Beach, which featured in Saving Private Ryan.

Mount Congreve, a country estate overlooking the River Suir, in neighbouring Co Waterford, is a must-visit. Home to one of the world’s largest private plant collections, it recently reopened after a multimillion-euro restoration. As well as the gardens extending for more than 70 acres, there is a shop, a café, walking trails and a gate lodge-turned-holiday let.


The estate is hosting the Restival wellness festival this summer (19 and 20 August; tickets €39pp). The Waterford Greenway, a 28-mile path along a disused railway line, passes by the grounds.


Saint-Nicholas, Glénan Archipelago, France

Variously described as the Breton Caribbean or Tahiti thanks to its limpid waters and gleaming beaches, the Glénan archipelago – a group of nine islands and islets 10 miles off the southern coast of Finistère – is gloriously remote.
A small huddle of houses count for the centre of the action on the main island of Saint-Nicholas. It is also a biosphere reserve supporting 42 species of birds.

Traditionally known for its shellfishing, these days the freshly-landed catch is kept on the island, with lobster and crab served up harbour-side at the rustic Les Viviers des Glénan.


The turquoise waters of the Glénan archipelago in Brittany (Photo: Mathieu Rivrin/Getty Images) 

Options for staying overnight are limited to the volunteer-run Sextant Glénan seaside refuge. Availability is often limited (€65 per night).

Get there from the mainland from Bénodet, Concarneau or Fouesnant-les-Glénan.


Isles of Scilly, England

Scattered in the Celtic Sea 28 miles off the Cornish coast and owned by The Duchy of Cornwall, the five inhabited islands among the 140 Isles of Scilly have is distinct sense of otherness.

Reached by air or the daily ferry from Penzance between March and October, the jumping off point is St Mary’s, the largest island and its dainty capital, Hugh Town.


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