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  • Carolyn at Top of the Woods

Skomer Island: Pembrokeshire Puffin Paradise and Wildlife Wonderland


If you're a nature lover, bird-watcher, or just have a soft spot for puffins (arguably the most adorable of seabirds ever) then put Skomer Island on your staycation bucket list. Located just off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, this enchanting island teems with life, promising a wild and unforgettable experience.


Top of the Woods Eco luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales UK Sustainable Staycations Puffins on Skomer island.

Puffins steal the show on Skomer Island, but it boasts a wealth of other wildlife. Manx shearwaters dramatically swarm the island at dusk, razorbills and guillemots line the cliffs, and you may even spot seals.


Skomer Island, whose name derives from the Norse for "cleft island”, is a day trip away from our glamping and camping site in West Wales. So read on and get ready to plan your adventure with everything you need to know about Skomer Island.


Skomer Island Puffins


Top of the Woods Eco luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales UK Sustainable Staycations 2 puffins on Skomer Island.

Skomer Island is best known for its massive Atlantic puffin colony. The island bursts with life, especially during spring and early summer when thousands of puffins transform it into their breeding ground. 


During breeding season (April to July), thousands of these endearing bright-beaked birds return to the island, filling the cliffs and meadows with their vibrant colors and quirky antics. Witness them nesting, feeding their chicks, and waddling about - a truly heartwarming sight!


Beyond Puffins - Skomer Island Birds 


As well as puffins, over half the world's population of Manx shearwaters nest on Skomer. They emerge at dusk, creating a magical scene as they fly in and around their burrows. You can also spot guillemots and razorbills with their black and white plumage as they nest on Skomer's cliffs.


Skomer also boasts a whole host of birdlife, like kittiwakes, fulmars, and various gull species (herring, lesser, and great black-backed gulls) packed on the dramatic cliffs.


Top of the Woods Eco luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales UK Sustainable Staycations Guillemot on Skomer Island.
Not just puffins - gorgeous guillemots too!

Other breeding species include the curlew, chough, oystercatcher, raven, meadow pipit, wheatear, rock pipit, whitethroat, and dunnock as well as birds of prey such as the short-eared owl, peregrine, kestrel, and buzzard.


Skomer mammals


Will you spot a Skomer vole? This Pembrokeshire island is also the only home of a unique subspecies of bank vole. 


Added to this nature-fest, you may spot Atlantic grey seals basking on rocks or swimming near the shore. Common Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, and Harbour Porpoise are frequent visitors to Skomer waters.


Explore the Skomer Island Landscape


Head off on a walking trail of Skomer Island, following the marked paths leading you around the island, offering coastal views and access to wildlife-watching areas. The scene is set with pretty wildflower meadows. Skomer bursts with colour in spring and summer, with carpets of bluebells, red campion, and other wildflowers.


Now we’ve explored the beauty and wildlife of the island, let’s get on to the practicalities. 


Top of the Woods Eco luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales UK Sustainable Staycations Man And Woman on a boat to Skomer Island.


How to get to Skomer Island 


Skomer is open April-August (Tuesday-Sunday) and in September on a reduced schedule. Boat trips depart, which only take 20 minutes, regularly from Martin's Haven on the mainland and Pembrokeshire Islands Boat Trips is the only boat operator that land on Skomer. It's essential to book in advance, especially during peak season. 


Check out the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales website for more information. You can follow them on X (Twitter) for updates.


Accommodation near Skomer Island


A day trip to Skomer Island is easy from our eco-luxury glamping and camping site, Top of the Woods - around a one-hour drive to St Martin’s Haven. Enjoy your puffin spotting bonanza and then return to a peaceful sleep in our glamping accommodation or campsite to chat about your memories of the day.  


Practical Tips for your Skomer day-trip


  • Book well in advance: Skomer trips are popular, especially during puffin season. Pre-booking with a licensed boat operator is essential.

  • Pack for the weather: Weather can change quickly, so dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket.

  • Footwear: Wear sturdy walking shoes as the terrain can be uneven.

  • Food & Drink: Pack your lunch, snacks, a flask, and a water bottle. There are no refreshment spots on Skomer.

  • Leave No Trace: Respect the delicate island ecosystem by taking all your litter with you and staying on marked trails.

  • Respectful Tourism: Skomer is carefully managed for conservation. By visiting mindfully, you're supporting the protection of this precious wildlife haven.


Top of the Woods Eco luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales UK Sustainable Staycations Man and Women with camera on Skomer looking out to sea.

When is the best time to visit Skomer Island?


The best time to visit Skomer Island depends on what you want to see.


  • If puffins are your absolute focus, aim for mid-June to mid-July.

  • If you prefer fewer crowds and enjoy the whole springtime wildlife buzz, April-May.

  • If you're a dedicated birdwatcher, anytime during the breeding season (roughly April – August).


Top of the Woods Eco luxury Glamping Campsite in Pembrokeshire Wales UK Sustainable Staycations Skomer Island Pufffins.

Can dogs visit Skomer Island on a boat trip too?


Unfortunately, you cannot take dogs to Skomer Island. It's a strictly protected nature reserve due to its important seabird colonies and fragile habitats. But there are lots of dog-friendly beaches in the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastal areas. 


Are there toilets on Skomer Island?


Yes, there are eco-friendly compost toilets on Skomer Island, which don't use water and help reduce waste. The toilets are located near the farm buildings at the centre of the island. You'll find them clearly marked.


A Skomer Island day trip is calling you for puffins, bird-watching, and adventure


Skomer Island offers a unique blend of endearing wildlife, stunning scenery, and a commitment to conservation. Whether you're a seasoned birdwatcher or simply in love with the natural world, this island adventure will stay with you long after you return to the mainland.





 

Top of the Woods Provides the Best Eco Luxury Glamping & Camping Holidays in Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay in Wales, UK. Sustainable Staycations. Beaches. Nature. Woodlands. Dog Friendly.

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