Isles of Scilly


The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago around 30 miles off the south-western tip of England. Though numbering over 50 islands in total, only five are inhabited.

The total population of St Mary’s, Tresco, Bryher, St Martin’s, and St Agnes is just over 2,000, contributing to that special ‘step-back-in-time’ feeling and providing a taste of the timeless magic of childhood holidays. Amid wonderful scenery, younger children can explore rock pools and endless sandy beaches, while the older ones – and the adults – can hike nature trails, hire bikes, or ride horses along the shore.

The Isles of Scilly are a bird watchers paradise, with approximately 435 species of birds, including cormorants, gannets, oystercatchers, manx shearwaters and  puffins to name but a few. On Scilly, everything revolves around the sea, so why not take the opportunity to spot some Atlantic grey seals?

Twice weekly inter-island gig races take place through the summer months and they are a great spectacle to watch. Walk Scilly takes place in April and October, with guided and themed walks, including a chance to explore the uninhabited outlying islands. Others include a Folk Festival in May, Comedy Festival in June and Taste of Scilly in September.

Eating out in the Isles of Scilly is often just that: an alfresco delight. What could be better than enjoying fresh fish and chips on the beach, gazing out at waters the same colour as those in the Caribbean, or a delicious freshly-caught lobster salad in one of the local restaurants.

The Islands


St Mary’s
St Mary’s is the most inhabited island, possessing the Scillies’ only airport and major port, from where you can hire boats to explore all the islands – and, if you’re lucky, perhaps spot seals and puffins. Underneath the waves, divers can explore the area’s huge network of shipwrecks and marine life.

Hugh Town is the capital, nestling between two sandy beaches, and is an interesting place to explore with its independent shops, galleries,  restaurants and pubs. Why not hire a bike or a golf cart to explore the island, stopping wherever you fancy to visit an artist’s studio, or sit in a beach front café, admiring the view?

Additionally, with over 30 miles of nature trails and walks, St Mary’s offers the ideal island to explore on foot.

Tresco
Tresco is the only privately-owned island. With its long silver beaches and historic sites, including King Charles Castle – a coastal artillery fort dating back to the 16th century – it is an incredible place.

The island is best known for its famous Abbey Gardens, home to a wonderful array of exotic plants from all over the world. This terraced sub-tropical garden boasts an amazing collection of 20,000 plants from over 80 countries. Gallery Tresco showcases some of Cornwall’s finest art in a converted boatshed, and holds 10 exhibitions during the summer months. A visit to the Tresco stores and deli is a must with its strong emphasis on Cornish produce, ranging from Tresco beef and Newlyn fish to delicious Scilly ice cream.

Bryher
The smallest of the inhabited islands, Bryher offers sheer wild beauty one day, and calm tranquillity the next. The luxury Hell Bay Hotel has won many an award, and other eateries include the fabulously named Crab Shack and Fraggle Rock – a bar Jamie Oliver once hailed as one of Britain’s best boozers! The film, When the Whales Came was filmed on the island, based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel. At certain times of the year, you can also walk between Tresco and Bryher. As the tide retreats to reveal a sandy pathway, a popup seafood and fizz festival helps islanders (and visitors) celebrate one of the most special experiences to be found anywhere in Britain.

St Martin’s
At just two miles long, and boasting some of Britain’s finest beaches, St Martin’s is certainly worth a visit. Only 130 people live on St Martin’s, but the island has a diverse and enterprising community. Visitors can wander around a flower farm and vineyard, a locally inspired silver jewellery designer, a gallery showcasing local art, and a bakery offering artisan bread. A dive school on the island offers diving and snorkelling trips with seals.

St Agnes
St Agnes is just a mile across and, as a result is remarkably unspoilt. It is an island of stunning contrasts, from its dramatically exposed west side to its paradise beaches with sheltered coves. A visit to Troy Town Farm, the southern most settlement in the UK, is a must for any visitor to the island – for the home made ice cream alone!

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Location

Current Weather Isles of Scilly

How to get there

By Plane – Skybus are the only airline that offer direct flights to the islands from the UK mainland. All flights land into St Mary’s Airport.

  • Exeter (60 minute flight) – up to 4 flights daily (except Sunday) from March to October
  • Newquay (30 minute flight) – up to 6 flights daily (except Sunday) all year round
  • Lands End (20 minute flight) – up to 18 flights daily (except Sunday) all year round

By Helicopter – New for 2018! Up to 4 flights daily (except Sunday) from Lands End Airport to St Mary’s by Island Helicopters (20 minute flight)

By Ferry – The only direct ferry from the UK mainland to the islands is operated by the Scillonian III and takes 2 hours 45 minutes from Penzance Harbour to St Mary’s Quay. Operates once a day (except Sundays) from March to November.

Regional Departures – There are numerous regional flights that connect with either Exeter, Newquay or Land’s End – please speak to one of our experts who will be happy to help arrange your journey to make it as smooth as possible.

Top tips

  • If you want to see the puffins they return to the islands between April and August.
  • St Mary’s is a truly dog friendly holiday destination. It could not be easier to take your beloved pooch on both the Scillonian III ferry or the Skybus operated flights. Several hotels on the island allow dogs and there is a small company on the island who rent all the items you may need from dog baskets and blankets to food and water bowls.
  • We can highly recommend Juliet’s Garden, a fantastic restaurant with a terrace overlooking Hugh Town and the sea. This is a great place for dinner or finishing the day with a refreshing sundowner.
  • For those with limited mobility or for those simply looking for a fun way to explore the island it is possible to book golf carts for your stay, as there is no car hire here. Pre-booking is essential.
  • Will Wagstaff is the islands resident ornithologist and naturalist and leading authority on all things flora and fauna in the Isles of Scilly. Will’s guided walks are available to pre-book, for just the day or for longer. He also gives a slideshow presentation most Saturday evenings in the Church Hall, St Marys (payable locally, approximately £5 per person.

When To Go


Summer (June-August) – the islands boast some of the UK’s warmest weather and temperatures can reach a comfortable 21 degrees Celsius. This period is peak season and although the weather is favourable, costs and availability can be an issue.

Autumn (September-November) – September to mid-October can still attract some decent weather and it means you can enjoy the islands when the tourists have all gone home. October is peak bird-watching season when the rare migrant species travel through the islands.

Winter (December-February) – Low Season. A season with unpredictable weather and very few tourists. Some properties, attractions and shops close during this period and some of the islanders return to the mainland. That being said winter on the islands can still be enjoyable, with dramatic coastlines and cosy atmospheric pubs whilst taking advantage of the much lower prices at this time of year. However please bear in mind that travel on the Skybus or Scillonian ferry can be frequently disrupted due to weather.

Spring (March-May) – A lovely time to visit the islands with spring flowers in bloom everywhere and puffins returning to the outer islands. Temperatures are starting to get balmy and a great time for walking the miles of nature trails on offer.

Properties


Sea Garden Cottages

Sea Garden Cottages

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ISLES OF SCILLY – Sea Garden Cottages, Tresco offer beautiful one-bedroom cottages boasting stunning sea views and luxurious accommodation — right at the water’s edge.

Star Castle Hotel

Star Castle Hotel

4

ISLES OF SCILLY – Built in 1953, this unique elevated Elizabethan castle is only a short walk into Hugh Town. Occupying magnificent views of the surrounding islands, this stunning family...

Hell Bay Hotel

Hell Bay Hotel

4

ISLES OF SCILLY – The Hell Bay Hotel is the ultimate escape, named after the notorious Hell Bay, known for its breath-taking views and crashing Atlantic seas. There are few...

Karma St Martin’s

Karma St Martin’s

4

ISLES OF SCILLY – The Karma St Martin’s Resort resembles a hamlet of stone cottages and is located just a stone’s throw from the beach.The island of St Martin’s boasts...

The Wheelhouse

The Wheelhouse

4

ISLES OF SCILLY – The Wheelhouse is a very popular family-run guesthouse, just steps away from Porthcressa’s stunning sandy beach, and close to the quay, shops and a few pubs.

The New Inn

The New Inn

4

ISLES OF SCILLY – The New Inn, Tresco is a cosy coastal inn with stunning views across the harbour—the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a taste of island life.

St Mary’s Hall Hotel

St Mary’s Hall Hotel

3

ISLES OF SCILLY – St Mary’s Hall Hotel is a stylish hotel in a central location, and is perfect for couples and families alike. From the moment you walk through...

The Atlantic

The Atlantic

3

ISLES OF SCILLY – The Atlantic Hotel in the Isles of Scilly is a charming old inn built in Cornish granite, with modern facilities, offering the best of old and...

Tregarthen’s Hotel

Tregarthen’s Hotel

3

ISLES OF SCILLY – Tregarthen’s Hotel on St Mary’s boasts some of the best views of any hotel in the Isles of Scilly. It is an ideal place to relax...

Schooners Hotel

Schooners Hotel

2

ISLES OF SCILLY – Sitting on the shores of Town Bay, Schooners Hotel has uninterrupted views across the harbour and offers great value for a comfortable stay and a truly...

Bell Rock Hotel

Bell Rock Hotel

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ISLES OF SCILLY – The Bell Rock Hotel is both relaxed and informal. This is the most southerly hotel in England, and has been welcoming guests for over 100 years.

Crebinick House

Crebinick House

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ISLES OF SCILLY – Crebinick House was built in 1760 from sturdy local granite and is a Grade II listed building. It exudes a universal welcome with a timeless charm.