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Drake's Island, Plymouth
Photograph: RogerMechan/

This secret island is open to visitors for the first time in 30 years

By Emma Hughes

Lying just off the coast of Plymouth, craggy Drake’s Island is straight out of a swashbuckling novel. Named after Sir Francis Drake, in its time it’s been a 16th-century fort, a refuge and a prison. It’s been strictly off limits since 1989, but now its new owner is reopening it for one day only to visitors – and you could be one of them. 

The tour, which will take place in March, is being held to raise funds for local hospice St Luke’s. It will be led by an expert historian, and you can expect to explore the eerie ivy-blanketed fortifications and spooky deserted buildings. With plans afoot to open a high-end hotel on the island, now’s the time to experience it in all its wild glory. 

‘Although the fortifications and how they have been used and defended Plymouth over the centuries is fascinating, what brings the history alive are the personal stories of the people on the island,’ new owner Morgan Phillips told Plymouth Live. 

There are 105 space on the tour, which will take place on March 15 and cost £35. If you fancy taking one of them, click here: they go on sale today (Feb 26). 

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