TripAdvisor’s list is compiled annually and suggests the best islands in the UK, Europe and other regions in the world, and on the list for 2016, the UK’s best islands were, in fact, the Scottish islands. The Isle of Skye has been placed third, and although its dramatic landscape might seem a bit moody, the island is the perfect destination for everyone who loves the outdoors. With the opportunity for water sports, hiking and pony rides, there are plenty of activities, and its largest town, Portee, makes the perfect base for exploring the isle.
Packed with antique silver, porcelain and furniture, the red sandstone Brodick Castle is one of the highlights of the Isle of Arran, which has been listed seventh. Overlooking Goatfell, the castle is a popular day hike destination, and the isle also offers adventures such as a mystical field trip at the Machrie Moor and a tour of The Arran Malt Whisky Distillery.
Placed eighth is Mainland, the main island of Orkney, a collection of Scottish islands with serious Viking cred. Prehistoric ruins including a chambered tomb, ceremonial stone circles and a well-preserved Neolithic village can be found on the island. Other highlights are The Gloup – a collapsed sea cave – as well as the beaches Mill Sands and Dingieshowe Beach.
Joint ninth are the Isles of Lewis and Harris, an island split into two parts. In Lewis – the north of the island – the legendary Callanish Standing Stones can be found poking up from the ground like a massive rock city. In Southern Harris, the east side beaches feature some of the oldest known rocks in the world, dating back millions of years, and the whole isle offers an insight of what island life used to look like.
Rated as the UK’s top island is Jersey – a British Crown Dependency – and contrary to the Scottish Isles, the islands also made it onto the European’s top ten list.
By Johanna Gill