Visit Lundy: Places to stay, things to do

Small but perfectly formed - Lundy is a gem located close to the Devon coast

Published: September 11th, 2012 at 10:23 am

Why go there?


Lundy is a small lump of granite, situated 12 miles off the north Devon coast in the Bristol Channel.

But what a small lump of granite it is. Rising 400ft out of the sea, it might only be three-and-a-half miles long and just over half a mile wide, but visitors adore the peace and quite (it’s a car-free zone).

People visit for the walking, climbing, diving, photography and wildlife.

Home to seals, lobsters and multiple species of coral, the waters around it were deemed of sufficient importance for Lundy to be named England’s first Marine Conservation Zone in 2010.

Birdwatching is also popular and the island’s name is thought to have derived from the old Norse word for “puffin island”. While you’re less likely to spot one of these charismatic birds than you once would have been, numbers have recovered from their low point, when rats reduced the population to near-extinction.

Most visitors are day-trippers, making the journey there from Ilfracombe and Bideford on Lundy’s own ship, MS Oldenburg. It sails between March and October, so those looking to visit in the colder months (and with slightly deeper pockets) can get there by helicopter from Hartland Point, about 20 miles west of Bideford.

Lundy offers a chance to get away from it. You won’t get amusement arcades and fish and chip shops. You’ll get silence and stars.

Where to stay

Lundy has been owned by the National Trust since 1969 and is maintained by the Landmark Trust, which looks after the holiday cottages and runs the shop (think big shed rather than small supermarket).

Those looking to stay have a choice of 20-plus properties, rented by The Landmark Trust, a building preservation charity.

They include such gems as a 13th century castle, a lighthouse and the quirky electricity-free ‘Tibbetts’ which the Trust describes as “the sort of place where you can wander around in your pyjamas collecting mushrooms for breakfast”.

None of the properties has a television or a phone and the mobile phone signal across the island is patchy. There again, if you’re desperate to stay in touch with the outside world, you’ve probably come to the wrong place.

Where to eat

If you want a pub, there’s only one, the Marisco Tavern. It’s a friendly and welcoming establishment, which acts as a focal point for the island and which serves local lamb.

In you want to grab a sandwich on the hoof, there are countless great spots to eat looking out to sea (last time we were there, we enjoyed a picnic beside the island’s Victorian church). One note of caution: the two-hour ferry crossing can sometimes be choppy, quelling the appetite of those susceptible to seasickness.

Tell us a local secret


This is the only place in the world you’ll find the Lundy Cabbage (Coincya wrightii). Isolated from the mainland, it has evolved into a unique species. It flowers yellow between May and August and some people say it smells of rotten eggs.


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