Access to Skomer Island

Razorbills on Skomer

Razorbills on Skomer Andy Davies

Skomer Island lies just off the Pembrokeshire coast, south west Wales. A 50-seater passenger boat transports visitors to the Island from Martin’s Haven (OS Grid Ref: SM 760 091), a small cove two miles on from Marloes village, which is 12 miles south west of the county town of Haverfordwest.

Around 15,000 day visitors visit Skomer every year

Landing at Skomer

The boat, the Dale Princess, runs between Good Friday or 1 April (whichever is the earlier) to 30 September each year.

Sailings are weather dependent with the final decision resting with the Boatman; decisions on sailing are made each day at 8.00am and are dependent on both conditions and forecast.

A strong northerly wind will prevent departure from Martin’s Haven and access to Skomer landing.

The boat runs to the island six days a week (Tuesday to Sundays). On Mondays the boat does not land on Skomer but offers round Island cruises, visits to Grassholm, and occasional day visits to Skokholm see Pembrokeshire Islands for further information.

The boat departs for the island between 10am and 12noon. An average stay on Skomer is four hours long, return boat times depend on weather conditions and demand.

The boat travel time is approximately 10 minutes, plus embarkation and disembarkation. No booking is required for the boat, which takes passengers on a first come first served basis.

Landing fees for Skomer are paid on the mainland at Lockley Lodge – the Wildlife Trust’s sale and information centre. For landing fee details please go here.

As a member of the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales you can collect your free landing ticket on production of your membership card at Lockley Lodge.

You will be given landing tickets which are colour coded to tie in with the departure time of a specific boat – the landing ticket should be shown to the boatman so that he knows you are on the right boat. You will not be able to board the boat without a landing ticket.

Dale Princess Landing on Skomer

Dale Princess Landing on Skomer

There is a limit of 250 people per day allowed on the island in order to protect the wildlife.

No dogs are allowed on the island, but dogs are allowed on the non-landing Round Island Cruises; information about local kennels can be obtained from Wendy Barnes-Jones at the Welsh Wildlife Centre, 01239 621600.

On arrival at Skomer Island you will disembark from the Dale Princess from the front, or bow, of the boat, again assisted by a member of the boat crew and also a member of the island team.

Depending on the state of the tide there might be quite a step down from the boat. There is then a steep and quite long flight of steps to climb, however there is no rush, there are plenty of chances to rest, and lots to look at on the way up.

The weather can effect your chances of landing so we try to keep our Twitter feed up to date to let you know about the boats:

Skomer Boat on Twitter

Skomer from east Sid Howells Skomer from west A sea of red campion on Skomer Atlantic grey seals hauled out on North Haven beach, Skomer Razorbills on Skomer Puffin gathering nesting material on Skomer Island
Skomer Island from the West Photo by Sid Howells

Information and Welcome Point: from the steps there is a short walk uphill to the Information and Welcome Point where the Warden or Assistant Warden will give an introductory talk on where to go and what to do and see on the island.

There is a large map of the island on display to orientate yourself, and copies of the Skomer Guide and other leaflets and postcards available to purchase. Please take particular note of the Health and Safety information given, emergency contact numbers and times of return boats.

Skomer landing

Skomer landing

The Skomer Guide contains details of a number of self guided walks that you can take round the island, with distances, suggested timings and descriptions of the terrain as well as features of interest described.

There is a binocular hire service available at the Information and Welcome Point, and this is the only place on the island to purchase bottled water.

From the Information and Welcome Point there is a 200m walk uphill to the plateau of the island which is mainly flat.

Please note the island paths are uneven and many are narrow, good footwear should be worn. Visitors are requested to always stay on the clearly marked paths, the island is honeycombed with burrows, homes to nesting birds – it is very easy to crush these fragile burrows and their occupants if you stray off the paths.

We also have more information on visiting the area