A Look At The UK’s Most Remote Retreats

Shutterstock / oksana.perkins ©

With the expectation that international travel will be unlikely this summer, the folks at Flogas  have put together this list of remote retreats around the UK, for a restful staycation.

Flogas is one provider of LPG tanks that allows people to enjoy life “off the grid” around the UK. So they know a little about escaping the usual towns and cities!

remote retreats


Fair Isle, Shetland

Population: 55

Renowned for its community spirit, cultural heritage and wildlife, Fair Isle is only three miles long and measures just one and a half miles wide.

The island’s amazing wildlife ranges from black guillemots, fulmars, puffins and razorbills to both grey and common seals as well as whales and dolphins.

Since 1954, the island has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The island which sits between Orkney and Shetland is mostly inhabited by people at the south end of the island.

You’d be tricked by its small size, but there’s still a fair amount to see on this island.

The Fair Isle Bird Observatory is world-famous for its scientific research. The George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum is the place to find a huge collection of artefacts that offer a glimpse into the location’s rich past.

There’s even a golf course — arguably the most remote one across all of Britain.

Photograph by Lis Burk, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Foula, Shetland

Population: 38

Foula’s name means “bird island”, a title that certainly lives up to expectations by being host to one of the largest colonies of Great Skuas — or bonxies — across Britain. Foula sits 20 miles to the west of Wells in the Shetland Islands.

It’s not just amazing wildlife you’ll find here, Foula is also the place to find the huge 1,200-foot-high Da Kame.

These cliffs rise so high from the sea that on a clear day views can be enjoyed from their tip all the way across to neighbouring locations like Unst and the above mentioned Fair Isle.

remote retreats


Knoydart Peninsula, Highlands

Population: 98

You can only get to the Knoydart Peninsula by either boat or foot. That, probably allows you to understand how isolated this 55,000 acres site is. It’d be a pretty extreme tourist site.

Located in the Lochaber district of the Scottish Highlands, the site is nestled between Loch Hourn and Loch Nevis.

The Knoydart Peninsula has been hailed as one of the last great wilderness areas in Scotland.

Fortunately, the saying ‘leaving the best until last’ holds true here, with heart-pumping mountain passes to hike along, sandy inlets to explore and so much breath-taking coastal and mountain scenery waiting to be discovered.

Where could you live or visit?

Well, Inverie is the main settlement area of the Knoydart Peninsula and is the place to find the region’s primary school, post office, a selection of community shops, the Knoydart Pottery & Tearoom and The Old Forge Inn — the most remote pub in mainland Britain.

remote retreats


Holy Island Of Lindisfarne, Northumberland

Population: 180

The home of English Christianity, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne sits off the Northumberland coast. The island is so isolated that it is entirely cut off from the rest of the world twice a day when its paved causeway becomes submerged during times of high tide.

It’s incredibly popular with pilgrims and tourists alike, offering a wide range of sites to visit and activities to take part in. A peaceful and unspoiled land awaits, as does Lindisfarne Priory. Once the home of St Oswald, it was here that the precious Lindisfarne Gospels were created.

It’ll be hard to ignore Lindisfarne Castle, especially since the 16th-century structure — which now serves as a quirky holiday home following a makeover by architect Edward Lutyens — sits high atop one of Lindisfarne’s craggy hills.

calf of man


Calf of Man, Isle of Man

Population: 2

You’ll find the Calf of on the southern-most tip of the Isle of Man — hence its name. The Calf of Man is only one and a half miles long and one mile wide. It’s surprising just how much can be packed into this 600-acre rocky outcrop though, which is currently owned by the Manx National Heritage.

Perfect for wildlife lovers, you’ll find a bird observatory and nature reserve.

The Calf of Man plays host to many species of birds — both seabird colonies and migrating birds. It also boats a significant population of rabbits.

Fans of nature will also be happy to hear that the island is primarily a destination filled with flat heathland and coastal grassland, while ancient burial grounds will appeal to those seeking history.

remote retreats


Lundy Island, Devon

Population: 28

In 2017, Lundy Island gained the moniker of being England’s first Marine Conservation Zone. Lundy Island is a small wind-swept destination, situated 12 miles off the northern coast of Devon.

You won’t enjoy a shopping holiday on this isolated island. Owned by the National Trust, Lundy Island is a peaceful retreat where no cars can be found and there’s only a single shop and a single pub to explore alike.

Fortunately, there’s so much wildlife to seek out to make the most of the time. A variety of seabirds, grey seals, dolphins and even a basking shark or two can be viewed on the island on a given day.

Travel restrictions may still be in place. Please check latest advice before planning your trip.

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Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.