Flat Holm Island

Important Pre-booking Information for Residential Visits


Please read carefully all the following information about staying on Flat Holm to make sure that it is the right thing for you. It is a unique and rewarding experience if you are willing to accept some of the challenges which life on a small remote island creates. Flat Holm is a place to escape the everyday, make lasting memories, learn new skills, and forge lasting friendships.

If you have any queries which are not answered here, please do contact us on 02920 877900.


The departure point for residential trips to the island will be from the Water Bus-stop Pontoon at Barrage South, located adjacent to the public carpark at CF64 1TP opposite The Old Custom House restaurant. It would be ideal if you can arrange to be dropped off and picked up at the departure point or to arrive by public transport. The nearest train station is Cogan, around 20 minutes’ walk away. The nearest bus service is Adventure Travel route 89b which stops outside the Old Custom House Restaurant.

However, if coming in your own car then parking will be provided free for the duration of your stay either in the Barrage public carpark or on the side of the Cardiff Barrage roadway – details will be provided on booking. Please note although there is a 24-hour staff presence in the Barrage Control building, and CCTV in operation we cannot guarantee the security of vehicles or accept any liability for loss from or damage to vehicles or their contents.

The trip to the island will normally be in a fast Rigid Inflatable Boat which seats 12 passengers. Boat transport is provided by a third party and please note that for Health and Safety reasons the following conditions apply:

“Trips conducted by Bay Island Voyages are NOT Thrill Rides.  However, due to the manoeuvrability of the boats anyone with pre-existing conditions such as back pain, neck pain, previous injuries that could be aggravated by any sudden movements; or if you are pregnant will not be able to participate.

We reserve the right to refuse to carry anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We also ask that if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, for example epilepsy, you let us know before travelling so we can be aware of them.

Whilst we are an inclusive provider, safety of our passengers comes first. There are limitations for access onto the boats, therefore we ask that anyone with a physical disability contact us prior to booking, to ensure that we are able to safely get you aboard.”

For more information and FAQs relating to the boat trip please visit: Bay Island Voyages | Disclaimer & T&C’s

Island accessibility

The island has uneven stone and concrete steps to climb from the island jetty, which are sometimes slippery, therefore a certain level of fitness is required to access the island. There is a handrail to assist. Once on the island most footpaths are relatively level but note that they can be uneven with grass tussocks and rabbit holes in places. We regret that neither the boat trip nor the island infrastructure is suitable for wheelchair users at this point.

If you have any queries about accessibility, please contact us on 02920 877900.


For safety reasons boats to the island cannot travel under certain conditions of wind, tide, and waves. Final decision on this is made by the highly experienced boat skippers. While we endeavour to give people a minimum of 24 hours’ notice it is unfortunately the nature of the island situation that trips can sometimes be cancelled or postponed at short notice.

It is also possible, though this is very rare, that return trips from the island can be unable to proceed meaning visitors may need to remain on the island until conditions are suitable for a boat transfer back to the mainland. You should be aware of this before booking and avoid making any critical appointments immediately after a planned trip.

Note that in this rare event we will provide food from the island’s emergency stocks and you will not be charged any additional cost for this or for any continued use of the accommodation.


We reserve the right to cancel the event under the following circumstances:

  • Insufficient bookings to make the event financially viable
  • Weather conditions meaning the boat journey is not possible
  • Failure of the island power, water, or other critical support systems
  • Other unforeseen circumstances which make the event unsafe or unviable

In all such cases we will endeavour to arrange an alternative date for the event, and you will have the choice to either transfer your booking to that new date or accept a full refund of your event fees.

Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any incidental costs incurred by yourself with respect to the event for instance travel to or from the event – we recommend that you are adequately covered by your own travel insurance against such circumstances.

Cancellation by you

If you wish to cancel your booking up to 4 weeks before an event, then you are entitled to a full refund of fees paid. If you cancel less than 4 weeks before the event then we regret we can only refund fees if the place is resold.


Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the island due to the ground nesting bird colony and restrictions of boat travel.

Life on Flat Holm – what to expect

Life on the island is certainly a different experience to mainland living, and this is an integral part of its unique charm. Many visitors have commented on how refreshing they have found it to get away from everyday life and its distractions and experience a simpler life on the island.


Accommodation is basic but comfortable in shared dormitory rooms in the Farmhouse which serves as a residential study centre and a base for island staff – re-live those school trips! The building has a comfortable lounge with books and board games, well equipped kitchen, dining room, drying room, and male and female toilets and showers. Outside there is a pleasant Victorian walled garden and stone BBQ. There are additional visitor toilets, a small pub (The Gull and Leek) selling a selection of bottled alcohol, soft drinks, crisps and chocolate, as well as a small museum and shop selling a selection of gift items and books in the Victorian Barracks. NOTE PUB AND SHOP PURCHASES ARE BY CASH ONLY.

Water and power

The island has no mains services and is therefore self-sufficient in water and power. Tap water is collected from rainwater which is filtered, purified, and tested regularly. Due to limited power and water hot showers cannot always be guaranteed 24/7. When they are available we ask visitors to keep them brief to ensure everyone is able to shower. Power is supplied by a renewable solar energy system with a back-up generator. Please do not bring high-energy electrical appliances such as hair dryers or straighteners.

Free time

During your free time you can take the opportunity to explore the island, make use of our pub facilities, sit in the garden or relax in the lounge.  If walking around the island, please be mindful to not disturb the gull colony which will be pointed out during your welcome and introduction by the Warden.

The Gulls

During the early summer months the island plays host to around 2,000 nesting lesser black-backed gulls – one of the largest and most important colonies in Wales for these endangered birds. Some people have concerns about “attacks” by gulls. Though the gulls can be a little defensive of their nests and chicks this is rarely a problem if you follow the guidelines from our staff and do not linger too long and too close to nests when passing through the main gull colony. We recommend wearing a hat, baseball cap, or headscarf to protect from well-aimed gull poo! Please do not let this deter you from the unique experience of staying on Flat Holm.


Unless stated in the course details all our events are self-catering and you should bring sufficient food for the duration of your event for all participants in your party. You will have shared use of the fully equipped kitchen and fridges to store fresh food etc. and indoor or outdoor dining tables and chairs. Crockery and cutlery and all washing up facilities and products are provided

If your course is catered, then we provide:

  • A self-served breakfast with a choice of cereals, breads, spreads and fruit
  • A simple lunch of soup, with rolls and a choice of sandwich fillings, salad, cake/biscuit and fruit
  • A cooked evening meal


The island operates with a small team of volunteers so we ask that in the spirit of “communal living” guests help with clearing and laying tables, self-serving meals, and keeping the kitchen and dining areas clean and tidy.

What to bring

Please note that space in the boats is limited therefore please try to keep all kit to a minimum amount and size where possible – you should aim to keep your luggage to the size of one standard airline carry-on bag. A soft hold-all or rucksack is ideal rather than a rigid suitcase.

Essential items to bring are:

Personal Luggage

Unless stated in the course details when you make your booking, duvets and bed linen are provided.

  • Clothing suitable for the weather conditions and outdoor working
  • Additional warm clothing for cold conditions
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
  • Walking boots/safety boots, outdoor trainers, or wellingtons
  • Small rucksack and drinks bottle
  • Indoor shoes and clothing
  • Towel and all toiletries
  • Torch and spare batteries – head torches are ideal
  • Any medicines or other essential items for your stay plus enough for additional days
  • Sunscreen and/or sunhat and water bottle
  • Phone and charger
  • Other personal items

Camping Equipment (if camping):

  • Small tent – (e.g. one or two person lightweight backpacking tent)
  • Sleeping bag/sleeping mat/camping pillow


Specialist equipment:

If your event requires any specialist items, you will be informed of this separately with the Event Information

If you have any further queries, please email on flatholmevents@cardiff.gov.uk or call 02920 877900

See also