Outdoor Space

Burgh Island, Devon

Burgh Island, Devon

Nearby archaeological discoveries have pinned the origins of Burgh Island’s human inhabitation around the Iron Age or Sub-Roman times. Yet despite our history long being intertwined with this magical setting, it still manages to inspire in visitors an unfailing sense of awe and mystery.

An iconic South Devon island that is surrounded by sandy beaches and silvery seas, Burgh Island is one of the UK’s most enchanting destinations. Famous not only for its renowned 1929 Art Deco hotel commissioned by the lavishly wealthy film maker, Archibald Nettlefold, Burgh Island is also well-known for its fickle relationship with the land, disconnecting and reconnecting with the tides. 

Perched directly opposite Bigbury on Sea beach, access to the remote Burgh Island is possible via a single strip of sand at low tide. Upon the flood tide, the only way to get there (or leave!) is by boat or the island’s unique sea tractor – the only one of its kind in the world. When the tide is low, the tidal passageway opens up to reveal a beautiful stretch of golden sand that is ideal for long, lazy hours under the sun, building sandcastles and tucking into a picnic lunch. 

If you would like to get a little closer, there are a number of walks around the island that will reveal the remains of an old chapel and the abundance of wildlife who call the area home. Tread the paths and look down onto rocky coves that were once used to secretly haul pilfered goods, and later, wend your way to the 14th Century Pilchard Inn – a former haunt of roughened smugglers and salt-scarred pirates many years ago. 

Of course, no trip to Burgh Island would be complete without marvelling at the famous Burgh Island Hotel too. Full of romance, drama and mystery, the island’s hotel has hosted some very famous names over the years, including Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, and Liverpudlian rock legends the Beatles. It is even said to have been where Eisenhower and Churchill met in the weeks before the the D-Day invasion.

One of the most famous names to have been inspired by the island though was none other than Agatha Christie. Although featured under different names, Burgh Island was the inspiration behind two of her most well-known novels: And Then There Were None and the Hercule Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun. In 2001, the TV adaptation of the latter was filmed on-site at the island, and several scenes from the BBC’s 1987 dramatisation of her detective fiction series Nemesis were filmed in the hotel too. 

Feeling inspired to explore Burgh Island? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Devon here.

Sign up to receive our boutique stories…

Stay connected with retreat magic and be the first to know about our new additions. We promise to only fill your inbox with the dreamiest staycation stories and luxury travel moments.