Tiny Scots island named UK’s top tourist ‘hidden gem’

Iona Island, in the Inner Hebrides, has topped a list of 20 beauty spots to be voted the UK's top tourist 'hidden gem'.

Tiny Scots island named UK’s top tourist ‘hidden gem’ iStock

A tiny island off the west coast of Scotland has been voted the UK’s top tourist ‘hidden gem’.

Iona island, located in the Inner Hebrides, has topped a poll of 20 lesser-known beauty spots to be named the most enjoyable hidden location in the UK.

The island, which is just 1.5 miles wide and three miles long, beat other Scottish locations to the top spot including the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye, and Orkney’s Rousay Island.

The Devil’s Pulpit in Stirlingshire, The Bays on the Isle of Harris, the Southwest Coastal 300 road trip in Dumfries & Galloway made up the rest of the Scottish entries.

Iona Island is described as the ‘birthplace of Christianity in Scotland’ and holds a population of around 170 permanent residents.

The poll, made up of 2000 adults, found that 43% of people ‘go out of their way’ to find less popular locations and more 82% ‘take pride’ in doing so.

Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, which commissioned the survey, said: “Getting to experience places that aren’t so well known and have a sense of secrecy about them is really exciting.

“In the UK, there are so many of these hidden gem locations within easy reach that many people have perhaps not even heard of, never mind visited.

“Four Scottish island destinations ranked within the top ten hidden gems but there are plenty of other impressive locations and natural wonders throughout Scotland that don’t get the recognition they deserve either.”