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Visiting the Island

The only way to visit Steep Holm is on organised trips run for the Trust by Bay Island Voyages. Please visit our Sailings page for more information.

Occasional day trips operate between Spring and Autumn and are largely dependent upon the forecast weather conditions. Individuals, families and groups are all welcome, but it is vital to book in advance to secure a place. Trips, particularly on summer weekends, fill rapidly, and leaving booking until close to the date you would like often results in disappointment. As our visits are also tide-dependent, a typical day on Steep Holm is around 12 hours from departure to return to the mainland.

Volunteers also visit the island and more information on how to volunteer can be found under The Trust.  The number of volunteers attending each visit is limited to necessity for the trips and the range of tasks and skills required on the day.  Please bear with us in dealing with your offers of help, some of which may be onshore, as much as offshore.

All trips depend on the weather conditions and anticipated return times are for departure from the island and may vary according to conditions on the day. Check with Bay Island Voyages the day before you visit. Do not assume that if it is a warm sunny day the trip will automatically go ahead. Checking the status before you leave home will save a wasted journey.

  • Are there conditions and restrictions? (Please read carefully before booking)
    Important Conditions ​ You must read the Terms and Conditions (including cancellation policy) and Safety Information on the Bay Island Voyages website. ​ The boats are chartered and if sufficiently booked any small surplus goes toward the maintenance of the island. ​ The Trust reserves the right to cancel any trip if insufficient bookings would mean financial loss to the Trust. ​ The gradients on Steep Holm make it unsuitable for those who are unable to walk unaided or who are otherwise unfit. If in doubt, please ask at the time of booking. For those living locally it is roughly the equivalent of being able to walk up the length and steepness of Manor Road in Weston-super-Mare but over rougher ground. However, once the top is achieved most of the island can be walked more easily. ​ Restrictions ​ Children under the age of 18 years must be accompanied and supervised by their parent or guardian at all times when on the island. ​ There is a minimum height restriction operated by Bay Island Voyages along with ability conditions. ​ Dogs and any other animals are not permitted on the island. ​ Metal detectors, drones, smoking, fires and barbecues are all strictly prohibited. ​ Unauthorised caving and climbing is prohibited. Swimming is strictly prohibited due to very high tides and dangerous currents. The Kenneth Allsop Memorial Trust is unable to accommodate overnight visitors.
  • When/where do you sail from and how do I book?
    Currently most departures are from Knightstone Causeway, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 2AD. ​There are also some opportunities to depart from Cardiff at Lower Board Walk, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5BZ. ​ ​Please see our Sailings page, then telephone 07393 470 476 or visit to book online. There are separate pages for sailings from Weston-super-Mare and sailings from Cardiff.
  • Which facilities are there on the island?
    The Visitor Centre housed in the Victorian barracks will be your base for the day, with plenty of tables and chairs. Items you do not need on your exploration of the island may be safely left there. ​ Sales of hot and cold drinks, home-made cakes, confectionery and crisps. A selection of beers, wines and cider is available at the licensed bar. There is a toilet block for men and women with water provided by the underground reservoir and pumped by our generator so is not for drinking. Fresh water is brought to the island for drinking from the barracks cafe, otherwise you will need your own water flask. Please avoid bringing plastic bottles as these cannot be recycled on the island and have to be returned to the mainland for recycling. ​ Souvenirs include a wide selection of books about Steep Holm – some only available on the island or through The Garret Press – teas and sweats, caps, fridge magnets, postcards, unique Steep Holm stamps, and much more. Royal Mail postage stamps are also available. Modern toilet facilities are located adjacent to the barracks.
  • What is there to see on the island?
    Depending on the time of year, rare and unusual plants, including the wild Mediterranean Peony, large colonies of gulls, Cormorants, Peregrine Falcons, Ravens, other resident birds, and Muntjac Deer, may be seen. Victorian gun emplacements with their original seven-ton cannons, Second World War gun emplacements, and underground ammunition stores. A German field railway recycled on Steep Holm to take wartime ammunition to the summit. A concrete stair case goes down to one of the WWII search light landings. The steps are steep and you should use the railings installed by our volunteer deputy warden Mark Harris. An on-going archaeological dig – visitors are welcome to help. An exhibition room with artefacts found on the island, where you can follow the story of Steep Holm and its many occupiers. Please note that the terrain is rough, with a moderately steep path to the summit.
  • What should I bring on my visit?
    Warm and waterproof clothing for the ferry crossing, sturdy non-slip footwear (flip flops are not adequate for navigating the pebbles and walking the rugged terrain), a hat (essential when the seagulls are nesting), packed lunch, camera plus spare batteries or phone charger back up battery, binoculars, a torch to explore the underground ammunition stores, flask/water bottle, cash for refreshments and souvenirs. Don't forget to bring high factor sun-tan lotion and protection from the sun. You can burn even on a cloudy day in summer. We cannot recycle on the island so please take your rubbish home with you and avoid bringing plastic bottles to the island. We need to protect this precious wildlife sanctuary from pollution. Please note that credit and debit cards are accepted, although connection may be limited, dependent on local weather conditions.
  • Where can I park in Weston-super-Mare?
    In Weston inexpensive parking is usually available at Madeira Road car park, around 300m north-west of Knightstone (BS23 2HA). On-road parking may also be available on hillside roads. ​ You should arrive at the small slipway at the seaward end of Knightstone Causeway (BS23 2AD) at least 30 minutes before the departure time in order to check-in, and receive a safety briefing. Life jackets will be issued before you board the boat.
  • Is there a Safe and Sound Policy?
    Please click here to see our Safe and Sound Policy.

Common Questions

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