Sandy beaches, secret coves, idyllic picnic spots, and walks with the most incredible views. Yes, you can get all this at Caldey Island! After you read this article, you will be sure to add Caldey Island to your bucket list. Here is all you need to know about Caldey Island and how you can visit.
Caldey Island is one of the UK’s holy islands and boasts a fascinating history stretching over 1500 years. In the 5th Century, the first Celtic monastery was built here. It has been the home to Cistercian monks since the early 20th Century, who farm the land and sell their produce to visitors. You can find a detailed history of Caldey Island here.
There are also around 40 permanent residences on the island. Visitors are welcome through the spring and summer. Caldey is a place of peace and tranquillity for people and wildlife! It’s a beautiful place to spend the day with friends or family. Here you can find many rare species of flora and fauna found on its shores. It is also one of the rare places in the country where you can see red squirrels. They were brought to the island in 2016 to control rats.
There is also an adjoining island named St Margaret’s Island, a small rock formation at the south point homing the UK’s largest colony of cormorants as well as strong colonies of Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake. You can often spot seals here, too, if you are lucky.
Though small, there is plenty to do and see at Caldey Island. From the main jetty located on the beach, you can choose to head into the village or out along one of the walks on the island’s coastline. Pick up a map from the post office on the island to help you plan your day, or view the map online here.
The village has lovely places to visit, such as The Old Priory, St Iltyd’s Church and St David’s Church. Unfortunately, the Abbey here and the Monastic Enclosure are not open to the public, but you can view services from the Abbey Church viewing gallery.
The monks at Caldey Island make their own perfume and chocolate, which is available to purchase at the village shop. The chocolate factory here is also open to visitors to see how it is made. Then, moving away from the village, you can walk out to the impressive lighthouse and enjoy the views out towards Devon. Click here for a list of Caldey Island walks.
You can get to Caldey Island via one of the shuttle boats; this is a lot of fun before you even get there! You can park in the town and head down to the harbour where boats to the island leave.
The boat shuttle is available Monday to Saturday, running around every 20 to 30 minutes. The island closes to visitors on Sundays. In addition, you can buy return tickets from the Caldey Island Kiosk in the harbour. Here you can also find more information about the crossing and the expected time of the last boat to and from the island. This slightly changes through the season.
It’s a short 2.5-mile journey to the island from the harbour and takes around 20 minutes. At low tide, boats leave Castle Beach, while you can catch them from the harbour at high tide. If you are confused, ask any questions at the kiosk. An adult must accompany children under the age of sixteen. The ticket price includes the return boat fare. You can travel and return on any boat.
Please be mindful that there are no vehicles on the island. Therefore, you will have to get everywhere on foot. Support is provided for anyone with limited ability, but getting in touch directly before you set off is best. All crossings are weather dependent, so changes to opening times are expected.
On the island, boats leave from the beach or jetty where you arrived. Always check the departure time for the last boat of the day.
Opposite the village post office is Ladies and Gents toilets, a baby changing table and a disabled cubicle, fully adapted for independent wheelchair users.
Food and Drink
The village has a tea garden and ice cream shop with an outdoor seating area. They offer hot and cold snacks and a variety of drinks. If you wish to bring your picnic, benches are situated at numerous points around the island.
Village Centre Shops
There is an Island Gift Shop, a Perfume Shop that sells a range of items produced on the island, a chocolate factory / fudgery and a Post Office, which also has a small shop and a museum charting the island’s history.
*Please note that part of the island’s appeal for many visitors is its tranquillity and an escape from everyday life. Therefore, camera drones are forbidden anywhere on Caldey Island without written approval from island management.
That’s all you need to know about getting to Caldey Island and things to do there. We love to visit with our family and soak in the peace and tranquillity of this unique place. Let us know if you have ever visited Caldey Island and your thoughts in the comments. We love to hear your opinions!