Local Legends

Stuff that matters

The island’s only pub has recently reopened, with campers pitching up tents to watch the island’s resident seals

One of the UK’s most unusual staycation spots is a tiny island with just a castle, a handful of houses and a pub.

Piel Island sits just off the coast of Cumbria, at the top of the Furness Peninsula, and campers can pitch up for the price of a pint.

The island’s only pub, Ship Inn, reopened under new management for the first time since 2019 earlier this month.

The historic boozer has stood on the island for over 300 years, and was threatened by permanent closure until the Piel Island Pub Co stepped in to take on the iconic venue.

Ship Inn has been described as the ‘main heartbeat of the island’, serving a range of local ales, spirits and pub grub.

Kirsty Ridge, a director of Piel Island Pub Co and the managing director of Cumbrian pub chain Lakeland Inns, said: “This project is certainly different compared to my other pubs, but it has been really exciting and a challenge we have all enjoyed.

“There’s been obstacles we have had to clear and there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes, but it’s all been made worthwhile when you see the reaction from locals and visitors who appreciate what we have done.

“The support from the public has been amazing and we’ve been really busy, and we’re grateful for such backing.

“The pub is a vital part of this unique and wonderful island, and we’re privileged to have played our role in getting it back up and running, much to the delight of our customers.”

Wondering where to eat, drink or visit for your next UK holiday? At 2Chill we help you decide where to go and stay next with hundreds of recommendations right on your doorstep.

Visit our brilliant new website 2chill.co.uk and start packing.

If you’d also like weekly inspiration and advice for your next trip, you can sign up to the Chill newsletter here.

For the latest must-have travel news follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Piel Island was gifted to the people of nearby Barrow as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War, and locals say the pub is the lifeblood to attracting people to the area.

The 50-acre island also features the 14th century Piel Castle, and three cottages with permanent residents.

Piel Island Pub Co are offering a unique camping experience to visitors for as little as £5 per tent per night, where campers will be able to spot the surrounding seal colonies that have made the Furness Peninsula their home.

To get there, make your way to Roa Island by car or train, and catch the ferry across to Piel Island.

From April to September, the ferry runs to and from the island each day between 11am and 4.30pm at £5 return per adult, £3 for children, and under 5s travel free.