Some people want to live in the heart of the community; others want to get away from it all.
And if this is you, how better to shut out the world than by retreating to your very own island?
From moated manors to remote Scottish retreats, we look at some of the best island homes on the market.
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Holms of Stromness, Orkney
You get two private islands for your money here: the Inner and Outer Holms of Stromness are tidal islands that form part of the harbour of Stromness. On the Inner Holm is a large building holding a four-bedroom main house and a two-bed annexe. There's a gorgeous wood-floored living room and a comfortable farmhouse kitchen.
While the islands are connected to the mainland by a causeway at low tide, you'll need a boat the rest of the time. The property has its own wind turbine, so at least you should have power. Agents Vladi Private Islands describe it as 'idyllic' and are asking for offers over £300,000.
Norton Disney, Lincoln
The location of this three-bedroom house is truly stunning: an island overlooking its very own large lake at the heart of 12 acres of managed ancient woodland full of muntjac and roe deer. Unsurprisingly, it's featured on several television programmes, from Grand Designs Extra to BBC Breakfast.
The low impact, low energy house is log built and self-sufficient in water and energy, and comes with a detached boathouse, home office, workshop and stores. It's well priced at £595,000; contact agents JH Walter for more information.
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Valasay, Isle of Lewis
You don't quite get the whole island to yourself - but not far off, and you certainly couldn't wish for a more peaceful location. This three-bedroom house, built in about 1910, has been extended and refurbished since. It now includes a decidedly non-traditional spa-style relaxation suite with and indoor Endless Pool and sauna, as well as a modern kitchen and refurbished bathroom and shower room.
There's a large deck with panoramic views of the Atlantic and an acre and a half of land; more's available by separate negotiation. Agents CKD Galbraith are looking for offers over £340,000.
Nether Alderley, Cheshire
This glorious six-bedroom manor house is like something from a fairytale, set on an island on a private lake with 12 acres of grounds. Dating mainly from the seventeenth century, it's full of original features, from stone architraves, fireplaces and flooring to beamed and strapped ceilings.
Now, though, it has all mod cons, with the recent installation of several new bathrooms and a Smallbone bespoke kitchen with Jerusalem stone flooring and a double Aga. Outside, there are barns, stables and other buildings. The Old Hall costs £3.95 million through agent Savills.
St Vincent and the Grenadines
If you can get the $10 million price together - and, let's face it, who hasn't got that down the back of the sofa? - then you'll be lord of all you survey with this Caribbean island resort. This 12-acre island includes 29 private guest cottages, all with sea views and some with private plunge pools.
There's also a spa, two restaurants and a range of other buildings - and a white sandy beach, unusual in an area that's mostly black volcanic sand. It's just 200 yards from the coast of mainland St Vincent, with a dock and yacht anchorage. Contact agent Grenadines Islands Villas for more information.
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Lewes, East Sussex
For total privacy, you'd need to replace the three bridges leading to Chailey Moat with a drawbridge; but otherwise this glorious sixteenth-century former rectory is the perfect retreat. Set in 44 acres, it is now a beautiful seven-bedroom home, with an additional four-bedroom tithe barn and two-bedroom cottage.
Legend has it that the moat was dug singlehandedly in the eighteenth century by the then rector, Richard Porter, but it's actually believed to be much older and may be all that remains of a medieval fortified farm. The house itself is stunning, with oak-panelled reception rooms and the lovely touch of two Juliet balconies opening directly over the moat. Agents Savills are looking for offers over £5 million.
West Drayton, Middlesex
Set on its own island surrounded by the River Colne, Weir Cottage is rather larger than its name implies. It is currently split into two four-bedroom sections, as well as a one-bedroom annexe, but could be redeveloped, the agents say. In total, there are nine bedrooms, four bathrooms, four reception rooms and three kitchens.
Outside, the two acres of land include a number of outbuildings including workshops, garage, stables, paddocks and storage units. The house costs £1.3 million through agent Coopers.