When you think about days out in Cornwall, you think about the Eden Project, Lands End or Newquay Zoo right? But what people don’t think about is the tiny islands that dot our coastline and provide sanctuary for some of the sea-faring animals and birds that surround our skies.

Some of these islands are completely uninhabited by humans, and only accessible by tour boat, but what’s better than seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. So here are our favourite mini islands that are well-worth the visit.

The Rumps Headland (Newlands Island and The Mouls) – North Cornwall.

With groups of puffins nesting on the islands of Newlands and The Mouls (one of the only places in Cornwall to see this spectacle), this stretch of coastline near Polzeath is not only owned by the National Trust, but has been designated A Site of Special Scientific Interest thanks to the abundance of flora and fauna. There are regular sightseeing boat tours conducted from nearby Padstow which travels around the coastline, and gives way to spotting dolphins, sunfish and even basking sharks.

St. Clements Isle (Mousehole)

As you round the corner from Newlyn towards Mousehole, you’ll spot the rocky islet known as St Clements Isle. Roughly around 500m from Mousehole harbour, this island is a sanctuary for seagulls and other sightseeing birds, but it has been known to host grey seals on its small beach. It is also popular with wild swimmers.

Looe Island/St George’s Island – Looe

Just off the coast from the stunning town of Looe, this marine nature reserve is one of the best places to see sea-faring animals in their natural habitat. The island provides a quiet haven for animals of all shape and size, and visits to the island are strictly limited to lessen damage to the creatures that call this place home.

Tickets are available by the RNLI slip in East Looe. 


Seal Island (St Ives)

Situated just 6km west of St Ives, this aptly named outcrop has been a sanctuary for the Grey Atlantic Seals, as it provides protection from the wild Atlantic waters and predators that lurk further offshore. From St Ives, you can be part of the popular Sea Safari boat trips and witness as these seals – inquisitive and friendly animals anyway – come right up to the boat.

Tickets available for these boat trips from outside St Ives Lifeboat Station.


Mullion Island (and Asparagus Island) – The Lizard.

East of Mounts Bay, this collection of uninhabited islands stretch out from Mullion Cove. From Mullion Island, breeding groups of razorbills and oystercatchers have been spotted. And interestingly enough, upon Asparagus Island, rare wild asparagus is found growing there, however picking of this plant is highly prohibited.