If you are planning family holidays and are looking for kids’ day trips that will be both fun and educational, a cruise to Puffin Island while taking a break in Anglesey is likely to fit the bill.
Anglesey is one of the best destinations for UK family holidays, with lots of fun activities for children available, together with some beautiful scenery and all the facilities you will need for your break. There is a wide choice of accommodation, with everything from campsites to country house hotels to choose from, so there is sure to be an Anglesey holiday to suit your budget.
Once there, all you will have to worry about is picking the best activities for all the family. One that is certain to be a memorable experience is a cruise around Puffin Island – a real treat if you are keen on wildlife and something that is sure to stimulate your children’s interest in nature.
The island used to be the site of a monastic settlement, but is now uninhabited – by humans, at least. Its location in the fish-rich seas off the east coast of Anglesey, coupled with its steep cliffs, make it a perfect place for colonies of birds to call home. These qualities mean it is now a Special Protection Area, helping to ensure the seabirds’ habitat is not disturbed.
You could be forgiven for thinking you are bound to see puffins during your cruise around Puffin Island, but that may not be the case. There were once 2,000 pairs of the seabirds with the brightly-coloured bills in the colony, but rats wiped out many of them. Measures are now in place to control the rat population on the island and puffins have started to return, but don’t be surprised if you do not see any.
One of the most common species on Puffin Island, which is also known as Ynys Seiriol, is the cormorant. One of the UK’s biggest colonies of these large black seabirds live here and watching them fly and hunt is a spectacular sight.
Thousands of guillemots and razorbills live on the island, as the craggy cliffs make the perfect place for them to nest – and you are sure to marvel at the sight of them landing in seemingly impossible spots.
Kittiwakes and eider ducks are also among the residents, while you may be lucky enough to see gannets, choughs, storm petrels and peregrine falcons. Committed ornithologists are certain to love the mix of species, but they are not the only ones who will enjoy the sights and sounds of Puffin Island.
If you’re a fan of nature documentaries, you are sure to be fascinated by the action as the birds swoop through the air and plunge into the sea at high speed in the hope of catching fish. Seeing the birds up close is a very different experience to watching them on television, with the deafening noise of thousands of their calls adding to the thrill.
Your boat trip to Puffin Island will also provide you with opportunities to spot other wildlife apart from birds. A colony of grey seals live there and your children are sure to love seeing these cute creatures relaxing on the rocks. If you are very lucky, you may also get a glimpse of some bottlenose dolphins or porpoises.
There are a number of different operators running boat tours to Puffin Island, meaning you can choose from a small group trip or travelling as part of a larger party on a catamaran. If you are hoping to learn something about the birds try to book a trip with an expert guide, such as those run by RSPB Cymru.
While in Anglesey for activity holidays for families, you will find plenty of other nature-related things to do. Take a walk or a bike ride through the countryside and you will see plenty of wildlife, together with some great views.
Head to the beach and you can help the kids explore the creatures in the rock pools, before perhaps indulging in something a little more adventurous. There are lots of facilities for kayaking, diving and windsurfing on the coast, or you could hire a boat for a relaxing fishing trip.