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Top Puffin Watching Sites

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Puffins spend most of their lives out at sea, but during their breeding season from late March through to late July they come on land to nest.  The best time to visit the puffin nest sites is from mid June to mid July when the parent birds are busy flying back and forth from the sea to the nests with food for the chicks.

At some of these locations you'll be able to get very close to the puffins, but be careful as puffin watching can have it's hazards.  Wearing sensible clothing (including a hat) and shoes is a must.  Stick to the well worn tracks around colonies.  This way you'll avoid stepping on a burrow, crushing the occupants and possibly twisting your ankle.

Avoid the cliff edges too.  Getting a more distant photo of a puffin is far less painful than moving in for a close up and slipping over a cliff.  Take care and enjoy yourself.

Northern Ireland

Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland (ferry from Ballycastle)


St Kilda
Craigleith Island
Isle of May
Castle of Burrian, Orkney
Brough of Birsay, Orkney
Marwick Head, Orkney
John O'Groats (surrounding coastline)
Cape Wrath
Fair Isle
Sumburgh Head, Shetland Isles
The Isle of Noss, Shetland Isles
Fetlar, Shetland Isles
Hermaness, Unst, Shetland Isles
Foula, Shetland Isles
Staffa Island, Inner Hebrides


Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire (ferries from Martin's Haven)
Skokholm Island (ferries from Martin's Haven)
South Stack, Anglesey


The Farne Islands, Northumberland (ferries from Seahouses)
Coquet Island, Visit Northumberland
Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire
Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast

Channel Islands

Burhou (Google "Burhou puffin cam") off Alderney, Channel Islands
Herm (east/south coast)

Know any good sites not listed here?  Let us know

Puffins are an Amber Listed species so please Google "Birdwatchers Code of Conduct" for guidelines.

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