After doing some research, I wanted to provide an in-depth guide on how to see the puffins on Skomer Island in Wales. It was one of the highlights from my time in Wales and truly a bucket list experience. Puffins are special birds and incredibly difficult to see, so when I knew there was a good chance of seeing them in Wales, I made it a priority to go photograph them.
It’s an opportunity to see these incredible birds, right in their element. They are funny birds, incredibly sociable and photogenic, I must say. A day out on Skomer Island was incredible for both its scenery, hiking, and for viewing other wildlife like seals and dolphins!
Here’s a step by step guide to how to see the puffins on Skomer Island in Wales.
How to See the Puffins on Skomer Island in Wales
Time of Year to Go
Timing is everything to see these cute birds on Skomer island. They typically arrive around late April and stick around until July, though it is good to call ahead and ask if they have arrived or departed yet. Keep reading to understand how to see the puffins on Skomer Island in Wales.
How to Access the Island (read thoroughly)
This was the most challenging part to figure out — how to get on the island of Skomer and logistics. There’s one company who has the rights to land on Skomer Island and it’s the Welsh Wildlife Trust. They don’t sell tickets in advance so you have to show up the day of to get on. The other catch is they only allow a certain amount of people (I believe around 150 or so) and it’s first come, first serve. High season can often have waits in line to get tickets.
You head down the long road to Martins Haven to Lockley Lodge to purchase tickets and you board the boats just below.
The boats run Tuesday-Sunday, and each day they announce at 8 am on their Twitter if the boats are going out (high winds often cancel the day.) The boats go out at 10 am, 11 am, and noon and return after 3 pm. I’d suggest getting there early, around 30-45 minutes before they open to ensure you get on a boat. We arrived 10 minutes before and got on the boat no problem, but busier seasons I’d suggest much earlier. The boat ride takes about 15 minutes.
The price is 22 pounds per Adult and cash is needed.
What’s Available on the Island
Essentially nothing, except one bathroom! So be sure to pack a bag with lunch, snacks, and enough water for the day. I’d also suggest sunscreen as there’s no shade or covering.
You’ll need to do a bit of hiking (uphill), so dress with appropriate footwear as well. The paths are small and have a ton of holes as well, so be sure it’s a good fit as far difficulty goes.
Seeing the Puffins
If they are out, it’s incredibly easy to see the puffins. They are often within footsteps of the paths, so you will get a close look at them. Many people showed up with huge wildlife lenses, and others caught great content on their iPhones. I’d suggest a zoom lens to catch good images in case they are far out. A pair of binoculars could also be nice to have to see the other birds on the island.
Headed to Wales? Check out this road trip blog post!