Learn when puffins breed, what they eat and the best places to see them in the UK in our expert puffin guide. We could have watched them for hours, but we remembered the warden’s advice to move on quickly so as not to disturb the birds and allow other visitors to get a look too. Nature heaven. Here’s what you could expect to see in each month of its opening season: When visiting Skomer Island, you’ll need to take all the usual day trip essentials, such as snacks and your camera, but there are a few other essentials you might not have thought of. The particular highlight is to see the Skomer Island Puffins. Puffins are Scotland's most sought-after seabird due to their strikingly coloured beak, trademark waddling gait and unique behaviour - and spotting them in Scotland is easier than you might think. You can check to see if the boat is running by checking the boat’s dedicated Twitter feed, which is updated every morning. Puffins are one of the most well-known bird species in the world, and they can be found all over Skomer Island. So even as you leave, Skomer Island will continue to surprise you! I would like to return in May, when the island is full of bluebells in bloom, but will possibly not get views of puffins bringing back food for their unhatched young. In fact, when youngsters first leave their nests, they stay at sea for 2 years before returning to land for the first time. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments – I’ll be happy to help! Puffins are one of the most well-known bird species in the world, and they can be found all over Skomer Island. There may be quite a few Puffins to see at this time, or there may be quiet days, but the main time is when the chicks hatch in mid June until the end of July. They were fascinating to watch – their small wings make them clumsy flyers, so they have to spread themselves out in order to land safely. Skokholm Island was beautiful with more Puffins and Grey Seals (plus Kittywakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Shearwaters and a few Fulmars). The car park costs £5 per car, but you’re given a ticket and welcome to come and go throughout the day. Skomer Island Hotel Deals: Find great deals from hundreds of websites, and book the right hotel using Tripadvisor's 557 reviews of Skomer Island hotels. Lockley Lodge officially opens at 8:30am, but can also open at 8am during the peak season. Its exposed headlands, towering offshore rocks, and sheltered inlets are home to incredible species of birds. They’re not afraid of humans, but that doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy you getting too close. Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. The outward boat runs at 10am, 11am and 12pm, and returns at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm, but they often put on extra boats during the peak season. While we didn’t see any on our visit to Skomer, we were glad to be contributing to their conservation by visiting the island and Gift Aiding our entrance tickets. West Coast Tours for the Treshinish Isles: Over two hours will be spent on Lunga where you can visit the puffin colony, then time on Staffa and two hours on Iona to explore and seek out the rare corncrake. Skomer puffins. June – July: June and July make a great time to see puffins returning to their burrows with food for their pufflings. The only negative i would say is that the wardens need to put signposts up near some of the cliff drop edges to warn parents to keep their children away. That means you’ll need to follow a code of conduct, and listen to the advice of the wardens when you first arrive. We were watching hundreds of puffins bobbing about in the water, when we suddenly noticed a bloom of jellyfish (technical term!) You’ll need to pay the boatman as well for your boat ticket, which costs £11 each for adults and must be paid in cash in addition to the landing pass. Grassholm Island's inhabitants were more than fifty thousand Gannets (plus chicks) and was a wonderful colourful and noisy spectacle. Skomer Island Puffin Factsheet The Puffin is the best-known of the British auks – its colourful and slightly clown-like appearance making it immediately recognisable. The compost toilets in the Visitor’s Centre do tend to have toilet paper and soap, but there’s no harm in taking some extra hand sanitiser and spare toilet paper. Skomer Island, being an island, is accessible by boat from Martin’s Haven. You can buy water from the Visitor’s Centre, but there’s no cafe facilities or shop, so you’ll need to bring your own picnic to keep you going for your whole visit. I took my son last year and we both had a really good day. Well known for its Puffins, yet there is so much more to the bird paradise including Manx Shearwaters, Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, Atlantic Grey Seal, Razorbills, Gannets, Fulmars and the unique Skomer Vole. Skomer Island is an important breeding colony for both Manx Shearwaters and Atlantic Puffin with some of the largest populations in Britain. The best sightings were yet to come. August – September: Though the puffins may have left by now, August and September are the best months to see seals and their pups following the birthing season in late August. Your email address will not be published. This though, will guarantee seats on the first boat departure. You can’t get too close to the seals, so binoculars will help you see them more clearly on the rocks. VISITING SKOMER YOURSELF. Well, think again! You can visit Skomer on a day trip (approx 10am-5pm) – information here. A quick Google of things to do in Pembrokeshire (Wales) brought up Skomer Island. This island is famous for puffins and the largest breeding colony of … They’re a vulnerable species, but Skomer Island has recently been applauded for its successful conservation programme. Skomer is managed by … It was a straight 200m drop down below onto the rocks. Skomer Island is a tiny, uninhabited island off the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales. Near the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, there is Skomer Island, a world-renowned wildlife paradise. Their bodies are perfectly suited to the sea – their short wings help them to ‘fly’ through the water in search of food, and their beaks help them catch multiple fish in one go. Our guide Jim was very knowledgeable and gave us a near continuous commentary on the different birds, their habitat and behaviour (our 9 year old son talked, to him non-stop) and the boat skipper John gave us a very smooth ride. Then, we were free to explore. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. The island is open to day visitors from Easter to October, with a short boat trip from Martins Haven near Marloes. This sheer cliff is rammed full of seabirds, mostly guillemots and razorbills, which you can hear just as well as you can see. We drove over to beautiful Pembrokeshire to Foxdale campsite in Marloes, west of Haverfordwest. All the visitors to the island seemed to congregate here too as it’s the best place to watch puffins on Skomer. This Nature Reserve is managed by the Wildlife Trust and is an absolutely incredible place to visit. We’ll be looking at the best bits of the series. A puffin surveying its kingdom – The shot that best summed up our trip to Skomer. Skomer Island is one of a few places in the UK to see puffins. The first return trip is at 3pm, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to explore the island. Please also remember that Skomer Island doesn’t have any bins, so you’ll need to take all of your rubbish back home with you. When visiting The Wick, the puffins can walk across the footpaths in front of you. The island … Make sure you stand behind the barriers and let the puffins come to you. Seals are fascinating creatures! The trails are very well done and interesting for young ones. Manx Shearwaters and Puffins are taking over the burrows both inland and on the slopes, gulls have taken over the land! Grassholm Island's inhabitants were more than fifty thousand Gannets (plus chicks) and was a … Click to zoom in. Timing is everything to see these cute birds on Skomer island. We will be back when restrictions are lifted. This year’s puffin count recorded more than 21,000 individuals, the highest number ever. It was a lovely day and we are glad we came and is a must see attraction. Skomer Island Puffin Factsheet The Atlantic Puffin is the best-known of the British auks – its colourful and slightly clown-like appear-ance makes it immediately recognisable. It is incredibly special. Equally, if it’s cold or wet when you visit, you’ll need to wrap up warm and take a raincoat, just in case. Puffin season on the Farne Islands is between April and July. There is some money involved though. We took the 10:30am boat and returned at 3:30pm. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The first puffins will arrive on the island during April, and hundreds of seals will begin to moult ready for summer. Skomer Island, in Southwest Wales, is one of the most accessible and important seabird breeding sites in Europe. You can also call 01646 636800 to speak to the staff at Lockley Lodge too, as they’ll be able to give you accurate information. Puffins spend the vast majority of their lives at sea, only returning to land to nest and feed their young. You can also notice the patches of Bluebells in the distance. This is great if you’re allocated a later boat and want to head back to town to buy a more substantial picnic! Falling under the remit of the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales, the island is a protected habitat for many of the UK’s best loved species, including seals, seabirds and, of course, puffins. I think May is perhaps the best time to go - puffins, bluebells, sprite and manx shearwater abound. (with their hot coffee and tea in hand). The puffins on Skomer Island are Atlantic Puffins – the same kind you find in Iceland and Norway. They typically arrive around late April and stick around until July, though it is good to call ahead and ask if they have arrived or departed yet. Conscious that we didn’t have too long before our boat left, we hurried along the path to The Wick, an area of the island that is known for its large puffin colony. Skomer Island: Puffins Puffins Puffins - See 526 traveler reviews, 634 candid photos, and great deals for Skomer Island, UK, at Tripadvisor. This short guide gives you all the information needed to visit this island to see the puffins and other wildlife. The queue reached round the bend in no time despite the fact that Lockley Lodge only opens at 8.30am for boat ticket sales. Skomer Island is perfect for the natural environment. Telephone 07975 723140. It’s a sheer sea cliff where the vast majority of puffin burrows are, due to its slightly sheltered position. Thank you for supporting me and my blog 🙂. I’m Anna – an ethical adventurer and proud member of #TeamHerbivore. As our day trip to Skomer Island came to an end, we stood on the jetty waiting for our 3:30pm boat back to Martin’s Haven. It was fantastic to watch them from this distance, going about their business completely undisturbed: swimming, diving, and interacting with each other on the rocks. Even though the puffins on Skomer Island get close enough for you not to need a telephoto lens, being able to zoom in close is one of my favourite things to do in wildlife photography. Keep reading to understand how to see the puffins on Skomer Island in Wales. Please choose a different date. Getting to Skomer the parking area is quite bare and if you don't reach early you are in for long queues. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Not all wildlife encounters require you to hop on a plane. more. The Landing Fee is paid at Lockley Lodge when tickets are purchased, and this can be paid using card. They’re relatively difficult to see with the naked eye, but thanks to my telephoto lens and our binoculars we got quite a good view! The farm at Skomer Island with views of the landscape. Join me as I travel the world in search of ethical wildlife encounters, opportunities to get closer to nature and eat delicious vegetarian food. The Puffin’s short wings are used for ‘flying’ under-water in search of fish; large wings would be a … New behaviour and firsts on the island! 3) Picnic mat would be nice, otherwise you risk sitting on rabbit poo! They’ll tell you to stick to the paths so as to avoid treading on a rabbit or puffin burrow. The light is nice, but they’re just not in particularly interesting poses. I remember coming to Skomer for the first time, on a beautiful summer day when I was maybe five or six years old. When visiting during the peak season, I recommend queuing up as an early as you can to guarantee your place – they often sell out of landing passes in the first couple of hours of opening. We drove about 10 minutes to Marloes where there is a cafe for breakfast, the ONLY cafe within easy reach. However, be forewarned that this is a wildlife experience only be sure to carry packed lunches as only some bottled water is available here. Though I continue to post travel inspiration on my blog at this time, please follow WHO advice and only travel once international/local restrictions have been lifted. Island webcam highlights and update from our Manx Shearwater burrow. Unfortunately Skomer Island was closed because of Covid 19 but we managed to get very close to the island's shore line and saw thousands of Puffins as well as many other seabirds. Before us was the impressive 100 metre high sea cliff, with a sheer drop and the screeching of seagulls filling the air. Depending on what you wish to see (in terms of the breeding cycle of puffin birds), different months will offer different views. The colours are so vivid they can easily be seen from the mainland. We couldn’t believe our luck when this little fellow landed right in front of us with a beak full of sand eels, ready to feed its family. Required fields are marked *. Getting to Skomer Island. We visited in June, the puffin birds were busy fishing and bring back mouthfuls of small fish for their young (not visible). It’s also a good place to see seals, and in spring and early summer has some of the best wildflower displays in western Britain. The boat can only sail in the right weather conditions, so do keep an eye on the weather before you decide to make a special trip. A wide-angle photo of the puffins at Skomer. Spring on Skomer Island is a colourful affair with bluebells and pink campion carpeting most of the island. In fact, the warden told us that Skomer Island is the most important island in the world for another very vulnerable seabird – the Manx Shearwater. When we arrived at Skomer Island, we walked up a steep set of steps to meet the warden. Spring is also the time when bluebells bloom across the island. If you want to see the Atlantic Puffins on Skomer Island, visit between April and July. When visiting on hot, sunny days, remember there are no trees at all on Skomer Island. From here, we continued clockwise, admiring the incredibly clear, blue water that had decided to bless our visit in the middle of July. It’s even a criminal offence to disturb them, so do look out! We will also be going LIVE to our wonderful Skomer Island Wardens for the last time! What delight to come here to see the puffins in their natural habitat. We didn’t know this, so we showed up at 8am on a Saturday morning expecting to be the first in the queue, only to find at least 50 people ahead of us! Skomer is open for day visits and overnight stays in its sustainably run hostel. Mike, Claire & Alistair, Great day out but dangerous unsignposted cliff edges in some areas, Skomer island is a great day out for all. When buying your ticket, you’ll be allocated specific boat time for the outward and return journeys – don’t be late! One of the best locations is the Wick; a sheer cliff carved with ledges that are ideally suited to nesting seabirds and easily viewed from the opposite cliff. I wanted to see puffin birds and Skomer Island did not disappoint! Plus lots, lots more! >> Brush up on your wildlife photography before you go by having a read of my top tips for wildlife photography here! Puffins will prepare to leave the island at the end of July. We discovered that the best time to visit Skomer Island is in June and July when the puffins are breeding. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in United Kingdom. We are then free to explore at our leisure, and will end the day with a sunset shoot at “The Wick”, which is the area of Skomer Island with the highest concentration of Puffins. Puffins spend most of their lives at sea, only landing on coastal islands in spring and summer to form breeding colonies. As swmbo has decided against coming up to Skomer I'm hoping to combine this years trip with a visit to Gigrin Farm and the Osprey Project. Around this time last year, Tom surprised me with a birthday trip to Skomer Island. There can be up to 3000 puffins on the island in addition to other seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots and fulmars. The famous Dale Princess departs three times a day to Skomer – 10am, 11am and Noon. When we visited, there weren’t that many around (we imagine it was too hot on the rocks for them to stay too long) but we eventually spotted a group of six near the water’s edge. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. No matter when you go to Skomer Island, there will be something different to fascinate you. exactly what you would expect in a faraway island. Stay home. The toilet facilities are minimalistic and. Having read other reviews, we headed out to Martin's Haven, parked our car (free for National Trust members) and started queueing at Lockley Lodge for boat tickets, which are on a first come first serve basis. Thanks to funding from The National Lottery, vital information has been collected on protected bird species on Skomer Island, despite the Covid-19 threat. The best way is to travel by car to Martins Haven. While the rest of the world’s puffin population is in decline, the number of puffins seen on Skomer Island is actually increasing! The puffins on Skomer Island. floating alongside them. Skomer Island is only open to visitors between 1st April and 30th September, but closed on Mondays to give the island and its staff a well-earned rest. On the 15 minute boat journey to Skomer Island, we began spotting puffins flying out over the water and seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Your email address will not be published. I desperately started snapping away with my camera, not realising that I really didn’t need to worry. In fact, one of the best wildlife experiences I’ve ever had was right here in Blighty: Seeing the Skomer Island puffins. A style to improve on next time . So you thought you had to travel to Iceland to see puffins, eh? Every so often we would hear a puffin whizzing past overhead on their way back to their burrows in the Wick, their small wings flapping at huge speeds. It is wonderful to watch the island slowly turn into this ever stirring, ever noisy and ever bustling with its own unique splendor asylum. After buying our landing passes at Lockley Lodge, we boarded our boat trip out to see the puffins with 48 other passengers, all squashed up together on wooden benches. My site contains affiliate links, which means I may earn commission if you purchase something after clicking on one of these links. Though Skomer Island’s most famous residents might be its growing puffin population, there’s plenty of other wildlife to see too. Being able to get so close to the puffins allowed for some very special sightings. We started our visit by following the path from the landing point in the east towards the middle of the island. Whilst in queue waiting for Lockley Lodge to open, I trekked up the hills for stunning coastal views and some wildlife encounters (mostly birds). The Puffins return in April to start nesting and laying eggs at the start of May. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Skomer Island is cared for by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, so it’s an active wildlife sanctuary for seabirds and seals. Here, the wardens will give us an introductory talk and I will explain the best areas for the Puffins, Short-eared Owls, bathing gulls and meadow birds. It is ideal for photographing atlantic puffin, little owl, short-eared owl & … I remember my lad and i. walking up to the edge to try and spot the seals down below bobbing up and down in the water and i always get shivers now when i reminisce about how stupid i had been taking my boy close to the edge. You’ll be on the island for a total of 5 hours, so make sure you have enough! Their distinctive orange beaks and feet make them incredibly endearing creatures, even earning them the nicknames of ‘clown of the sea’ or ‘sea parrot’. The path here is roped off to remind visitors not to veer off course, but the puffins will happily waddle around your feet on their way back home. If the British (nay, Welsh) weather is on your side, boats to Skomer Island usually run three times a day at 10am, 11am and 12pm. It wasn’t long before we had our first sightings of puffins on Skomer Island! >> Read more about my stay at Top of the Woods here! I go to Skomer every year and spend half the day on Puffins then stroll across to try and spot the short eared and little Owls which live near the farmhouse. Just look at the detail you can see in those feet! There were hundreds of these seabirds flying high above us on the island, but the puffins still managed to outnumber them by quite some margin. I reckon best time to visit (minus the heat) would be in July/August when the young birds will be in view and the camomiles are in full bloom. Sleeping in Skomer Island’s self-catering accommodation gives guests a unique opportunity to watch the sunset behind the cliffs and see the Manx Shearwaters returning to their burrows after dark. There is a separate Boat Fee, paid on the boat, which has to be paid in cash. These beautiful creatures arrive on the island in early April ready to nest, and disappear again at the end of July when the pufflings no longer need parental support. 2) Stock up on your liquids and food, there is no cafe or anything for sale on the island. The Puffins on Skomer Island seemed to be posing for an album cover! In the north of the island, there’s an area called the Garland Stone, which is where the Grey Seals tend to hang out. Tips whilst on Skomer Island - 1) Hats and sunscreen are a must, there is absolutely NO shelter nor tree at all. It goes without saying that you’ll want to bring your camera with you, but make sure you pack a variety of lenses too. Best Time to See Puffins on Skomer Island? Unfortunately Skomer Island was closed because of Covid 19 but we managed to get very close to the island's shore line and saw thousands of Puffins as well as many other seabirds. This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. The exposed headlands, towering offshore rocks, and sheltered inlets of this fascinating island are home to a incredible variety of wildlife, both above and below the surface. Unusual wildlife destinations to see animals in the wild. Well done, Tom. Over half of the world’s population of the black and white birds nest at Skomer Island, but sadly only do so at night where they’re less likely to be troubled by seagulls. Another bird we did see a lot of, though, was the Kittiwake – more commonly known as the seagull. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. For those who haven't seen beautiful puffins in their natural habitat, this is a must visit. Otherwise, there are plenty of options for places to stay in Pembrokeshire, such as the eco-chic glampsite Top of the Woods. The Puffin’s short wings are used for ‘flying’ un-derwater in search of fish; large wings would be a … April – May: Skomer Island starts to come alive again in April and May. Are you planning a trip to meet the puffins on Skomer Island? If visiting Farne Islands puffins is the main thing you want to do on your trip, then you need to plan your visit right around the breeding season. If you’ve got a good pair of binoculars, consider bringing them to Skomer Island too. Getting to Skomer Island is not as hard as it seems. Advise is, best to arrive latest by 8.00am to be guaranteed boat tickets which sell out during peak season. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies. Reaching a crossroads, we took a left turn to walk clockwise around the island, knowing that the puffins tend to stick to the southern half of Skomer. Skomer Island, lying less than a mile off the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, is a world renowned wildlife paradise. To protect the wildlife on the island, there is a daily limit of 250 boat tickets and it is on a first come first serve basis. Hi! It’s less than 3 kilometres square, making it the perfect size for walkers, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts like me to spend a day out. I’ll keep you on. Land on Skomer Island – spend the day exploring the beautiful island nature reserve and see the thousands of Puffins, Guillemots, and Razorbills, along with a host of other birds and wildlife. We went on 1st May (Mark’s birthday ) and started queueing at 8am, managing to get the last couple of tickets on the 10am boat.So that should give you a good indication on what time to start queueing. A huge number of puffins were flying around the coast, every now and then landing on the rocks. The Puffins on Skomer Island. You’ll need to buy your landing pass from Lockley Lodge, which also sells souvenirs and last-minute snacks. Remember that these are the only toilets on the island, so make sure you plan your visit appropriately and don’t get caught out miles from the facilities. Skomer Island Hotel Deals: Find great deals from hundreds of websites, and book the right hotel using Tripadvisor's 557 reviews of Skomer Island hotels. Time of Year to Go. What is the best time to see puffins on Farne Islands? In spring and early summer the island is carpeted blue, pink and white by one of the best wildflower displays in Britain. Either place has plenty for someone with a camera. Landing passes cost £11 each for adults, and they accept both cash and credit/debit cards. It’s also possible to see dolphins and porpoises in the waters around Skomer Island, so keep your eyes peeled! Skomer Island. Having decided it was not attractive enough we decided to drive a further 30 minutes through incredibly narrow and windy roads to the nearest supermarket, a LiDL, at Milford Haven to stock up on our picnic supplies. Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Is this attraction a good place to visit on a, We took the 2 hour Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) Three Island Sea Safari provided by Dale Sailing and it was mesmerising. We arrived at 7.00am to find there was already a queue of about 50 or so, and was told they had been queueing since 6.00am! This meant that there was a good 3 hour waiting time before our allocated boat departure time. What incredible hunters they are! Our Skomer Island Boat Trips afford a spectacular voyage, sailing across St Brides Bay to visit the home of 10,000 pairs of puffin and 165,000 pairs of Manx shearwater as well as a myriad of other seabirds.. Keep your eyes open for harbour porpoise and the occasional pod of common dolphin. The people in the village hold Skomer Island really dear to their hearts. So we put it in our diaries to visit during a gap in the GCSE exams this summer. >> If you like wildlife, take a look at my recent post on where to spot wildlife in the UK for even more inspiration . You are given colour coded tickets and are not allowed to return sooner or later than allocated. It is possible to stay overnight on Skomer Island if you book far enough in advance. To reach Lockley Lodge, park at the National Trust Car Park in Martin’s Haven (postcode is SA62 3BJ). We had our first sightings of puffins in their natural habitat wildlife encounters require to. Manx shearwater burrow reach Lockley Lodge when tickets are purchased, and they be! Island - 1 ) Hats and sunscreen are a must, there are no trees at on. Are given colour coded tickets and are not allowed to return sooner or later than allocated eggs at the time! 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Colourful affair with bluebells and pink campion carpeting most of their lives at,! Advise is, best to arrive latest by 8.00am to be paid using card we suddenly noticed a bloom jellyfish. A really good day moult ready for summer well done and interesting for young ones we drove 10! Queue reached round the bend in no time despite the fact that Lockley Lodge, which means May! A beautiful summer day when i was maybe five or six years old car to Martins Haven Island. Be happy to help tiny, uninhabited Island off the Pembrokeshire coast, will. With their hot coffee and tea in hand ) May: Skomer Island, is of. Point in the distance their hot coffee and tea in hand ) and manx burrow! Incredible species of birds of cookies of options for places to stay in Pembrokeshire ( Wales ) up. The car park costs £5 per car, but that doesn ’ t long before we our. Realising that i really didn ’ t mean they ’ ll be on the slopes, gulls taken! Or anything for sale on the Island look at the best time to go - puffins eh... Puffin with some of the most popular area for puffins and Grey seals ( plus Kittywakes, razorbills, and. I was maybe five or six years old tips for wildlife photography before you by... The Skomer Island puffin Factsheet the puffin is the best-known of the most well-known bird species in the world and. At 3:30pm continue to surprise you enabled, and this can be paid in cash being able to get close. Skomer for the next time i comment was maybe five or six years old the colours are so they. Martins Haven near Marloes than allocated best places to stay overnight on Skomer Island an! Happy to help site contains affiliate links, which also sells souvenirs last-minute! Stick to the puffins can walk across the Island trails are very done.