Visiting Skomer Island

The beautiful island of Skomer is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and is famous for its colourful puffins, vibrant wildlife and is a brilliant family day out. It’s about a mile off the south west coast of Pembrokeshire and just 23 miles from Bluestone.

The island's worth a visit during your stay for the spectacular views and rugged island walks. Keep an eye out for Manx Shearwaters, Guillemots, Razorbills, Great Cormorants and Black-legged Kittiwakes, as well as the unique puffins.

The island is also home to Short-eared Owls and Peregrine Falcons as well as Grey Seals, and Harbour Porpoises. It also has a very special resident, the unique Skomer Vole, of which numbers can reach up to 20,000 during the summer months.



Planning your Skomer trip

The boat journey to Skomer and around island tours are organised by Pembrokeshire Islands Boat Trips who have been operating boat trips for over 40 years. The boats operate out of Martin’s Haven which is also where you need to go to collect your hard copy tickets.

Due to the island being a national nature reserve they are restricted to the amount of visitors that can land on the island every day, so it is first come first served until all the places are filled. To book your tickets visit   

Once the online booking is confirmed, visitors can change their e-ticket on the day of departure at the Wildlife Trust's Lockley Visitor Centre which opens at 8:30am. The Wildlife Trust's Lockley Visitor Centre opens at 8am and there is a pay and display car park.

Please note the Lockley Lodge is closed on a Monday. Passengers need to check in 1 hour before their boat is scheduled to depart.

On the water

The first boat is usually scheduled to leave at 10am. There is some fantastic scenery to take in if you have to wait for a while.

The booking office has souvenirs, drinks, and some snacks; this will be your last chance to buy any bits and pieces during your trip as there isn’t a shop or cafe on the island itself.

It’s only a 15-minute journey by boat on the Dale Princess to Skomer and there are some great photo opportunities as the island comes in to sight.

Between mid-April and July the island is home to the Atlantic Puffin, and you’ll see them flying around overhead and bobbing around on the sea.

Numbers are above 20,000 for plus 300,000 Manx Shearwaters - which make up half of the world’s entire population!



Island life

After you dock you are free to explore as long as you stick to the designated pathways. In five hours you can walk around the majority of it.

On your average walk you can expect to see puffins, Manx Shearwaters, gannets, peregrine falcons, Atlantic grey seals, kittiwakes, choughs and a pod of porpoises!


Top tips for a day out on Skomer

• There isn’t a cafe on Skomer so you have to bring a picnic but that is part of the fun!
• Get to the ticket office at Martin’s Haven in plenty of time, we recommend being there for when they open at 8am.
• Bring your camera as there are lots of amazing things to take photos of
• Pack a waterproof coat even if the weather is fine as it can get quite windy on the island.
• Use Bluestone National Park Resort as your exploring base as it’s nice and central

• Please ensure that all bags are sealed prior to boarding the boat, biosecurity is vitally important to protect the island.

Manx Shearwater

No bigger than a pigeon and able only to shuffle on land, the Manx Shearwater is a master of ocean flight and a pelagic wanderer that can clock up five million miles in its lifetime. And, if it survives the many perils it faces during its long ocean journeys and its lengthy annual stay on land during the breeding season when it is at its most vulnerable, it can live for over 50 years. Indeed, one ringed bird was 55-years-old when it was recaught on Bardsey , and it might well still be somewhere out in the wild North Atlantic today.

The Welsh population of Shearwaters is estimated at 487,000 pairs, over half of the world population and the Pembrokeshire bird sanctuary islands of Skomer and Skokholm hold the largest known concentration of these beautiful birds in the world, Skomer hosting 350,000 pairs and Skokholm 90,000 pairs. Manx Shearwaters arrive at the Pembrokeshire islands in March for the breeding season and depart in October to return to their winter wanderings around North and South America between November and February.
Birds ringed on Skomer and Skokholm have turned up at Lawn island, Newfoundland, Rhode Island, Argentina, Martha’s Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, thus the round-trip they make annually exceeds 20,000 miles.



Colourfully clown-faced, the puffin is probably the best-known and most popular of Pembrokeshire seabirds. Its image appears on advertising for local potatoes, coastal shuttle buses and various food products, and it is one of the most photographed of the auk family which inhabits the Skomer Island nature reserve. The boat trip out to the island from Martin’s Haven gives visitors their first glimpse of puffins as they raft off the island with their auk cousins the guillemots and razorbills.

The Puffin was considered as a possible emblem of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority when it was founded 50 years ago, but the committee plumped for the ‘Eligug’, the south Pembrokeshire name for the Razorbill. The worldwide population of puffins is estimated at about 15million, 60% of them breeding around the Icelandic coast, and some 700,000 around Great Britain and Ireland, the same number as in the largest single European colony at Røst, Norway. Skomer has in the region of 40,000 individuals and is the best place in Wales for a close-up of these comical ocean-wandering seabirds..



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