Dreaming of wiggling your toes in pale sand on an idyllic island, with the sun on your face? Well, you don't need to fork out thousands of pounds and endure hours on a plane with grumpy kids to make it happen. It may come as a surprise to know that the UK, itself the ninth-largest island in the world, is home to thousands more glorious islands dotted around its coastline. Many of them are just as dreamy as the Maldives or the Caribbean – and you can find the best right here.

1/11 Isles of Scilly, Cornish coast


Proud locals describe the Isles of Scilly as 'a place like nowhere else in England', and they're right. On a sunny day, the Isles of Scilly could easily be mistaken for a Caribbean paradise. An unspoilt haven of natural beauty, Scilly takes just 15 minutes to get to by private seaplane from Lands End, or a scenic hour from Exeter.

There are five separate islands, with St. Mary’s being a particularly good option for families. Kids will enjoy the two play parks and skate park, as well as horse riding, softplay and the local leisure centre. For more adventurous family members there is the rare option of snorkelling with seals, plus many watersports to try at the Sailing Centre.