An island guide to the Isles of Scilly
The Scilly archipelago is well known for its stunning views, subtropical climate and abundant wildlife, and whilst for many the dream of an island escape is all about peace and tranquillity, you’ll also find plenty to do if you decide to visit.
The community on Scilly is vibrant and creative, with all the main islands boasting galleries, workshops and museums, whilst ready access to fresh fish and quality Westcountry produce ensures high standards in the numerous bars and restaurants. Whichever island you choose to explore, you’ll have plenty to see, but given the excellent ferry links it’s also easy to island hop – each has something different to offer, and here we present a few highlights.
Whether you travel to the islands by plane or by boat, St. Mary’s will be your first port of call. The largest island hosts a wide variety of shops selling local produce and crafts, and more besides. Acting as a central hub for the islands, St. Mary’s is the starting point for many seasonal walking and wildlife tours, as well as boat hire facilities. There’s even a gin distillery, offering tours and a ‘gin school’ experience, where you can craft your own.
Tresco is best known for the world-class Abbey Gardens, home to exotic flora that would struggle to survive anywhere else in the UK. Nowhere else on Scilly is the unique climate more evident. The Abbey Gardens also host the Valhalla Museum, an incredible collection of figureheads salvaged from shipwrecks around the Isles. In addition, Tresco has several excellent cycling routes.
Beyond the famous sandy beaches, St. Martin’s is home to a visitor friendly vineyard, and a flower farm that posts seasonal blooms all over the country – a fantastic alternative postcard for friends and family. The island also has a community observatory, built to take full advantage of the clear, unspoilt night skies.
St. Agnes is a fantastic destination for bird watching, with views of nesting and breeding grounds on the smaller uninhabited island of Annet. For wildlife lovers in general, the island ferry company partners with the Scilly Wildlife Trust to offer boating safaris.
The rugged island of Bryher showcases Scilly at its most untamed. Beyond the small settlement, the footpaths fade into wilderness. Unsurprisingly, many artists have taken inspiration from this island, including former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo, whose novel ‘Why the Whales Came’ is actually set on Bryher. Definitely worth a visit, especially on stormy days.
Easily accessible, from Penzance by boat, Lands End or Newquay by air, a visit to Scilly would make for a great day out whilst staying at one of our properties in West Cornwall or around Newquay.