Puffin Island is a small island found just off the coast of Anglesey in North Wales. Home to an abundance of wildlife from seabirds to Atlantic grey seals and if you’re lucky enough you may even spot some bottlenose dolphins. Puffin Island is listed as a site of Special Scientific Interest particularly due to the large breeding colonies of birdlife, including over 750 pairs of the cormorant. The island itself is unfortunately private and has a strict no access rule without permission from the landowner. However if you want to see guillemots, razorbills, kittiwake nesting, seals and of course the puffin, then get yourself on a Puffin Island boat cruise.
Puffin Island boat cruises operate from Beaumaris pier, where they run all through the summer months. There are around three different operators, but all the tours are generally very similar and provide great views along the Menai Straights. Enjoy the live commentary which points out places of interest on your way to Puffin Island, which include ship wrecks, Beaumaris Castle, Penmon Lighthouse and even the ruins of the old signalling station on the island.
Arriving at Puffin Island, you have the opportunity to see as many as 12 different species of sea birds in their natural habitat. As your boat cruise takes you around to the eastern end of the island keep your eyes open for the colony of Atlantic grey seals who frequent this area. You will most likely be able to spot the friendly seals in the water and basking in the sunshine on the lower rocks. Depending how lucky you are, people have even managed to see bottlenose dolphins and Harbour porpoise swimming around Puffin Island, who occasionally come to the surface by the boat. The Puffin Island boat cruise doesn’t cost much at all and to be able to view all of this to us is a definite must do!
Unfortunately rats were introduced to the island accidentally back in the 19th century which resulted in reducing numbers of puffins, which the island gets its name from. With originally up to 2000 pairs of Puffins, the island’s population reduced to only a few pairs left. The countryside council for Wales started a programme to remove the rats from the island back in 1998, since that time the population has shown an increase over time. If you are lucky you may spot Puffins as you cruise around the island.
During the Puffin Island boat cruise, you should be able to see the ruins of a 12th century church that was dedicated to St Seiriol, a 6th century monk who made his home on the island. It is said that he is actually buried on Puffin Island along with his patron, King Maelgwn Gwynedd, who was the ruler of North Wales.
Other highlights include an old signalling station at the east end of the island and the Trwyn Ddu lighthouse which was constructed after a passenger ship sank near Puffin Island back in 1831. The Trwyn Ddu lighthouse continues to keep watch on mariners to this day.
On your return back from the Puffin Island, you’ll be able to look across the Menai Straight and take in the stunning views of the Snowdonia mountain range – beautiful!
We would fully recommend the Puffin Island boat cruise if you are looking for something a little different. A perfect trip to take for everyone including families, especially with sunny weather like we had!
Article written by Adam Boston
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