The Isles of Scilly are just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall and are officially recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
There are five inhabited islands and over a hundred smaller ones. One of the islands, St. Agnes, is the most southerly point in Britain and all of the islands are gently warmed in the currents of the Gulf Stream. In fact, the Isles of Scilly are the first place that spring arrives in the UK!
What do the Isles of Scilly have to offer?
The islands are fringed with sandy beaches; white sands with hardly a footprint on them and dazzlingly blue seas.
Turn inland and you’ll find each one criss-crossed with miles of trails and paths. Depending on the island you find yourself on, you can explore the footpaths by bike or horse.
You might take a guided nature walk or just ramble on your own, taking a gentle stroll from beach to artisan café to enjoy slow cooked, local food. Or you may prefer to watch grey seals playing in the crystal clear ocean. Every single moment is one in which to delight.
A little history of the Isles
Just over one hundred years ago, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company established a regular ferry link between the islands and Penzance on the mainland. In the beginning, most of the traffic was made up of islanders on business, or early flowers and vegetables being transported to the mainland.
By the seventies, the Isles of Scilly had become a significant holiday destination; Harold Wilson, the PM, had a summer home here.
People from Cornwall and Devon went every year on their annual holiday. Holidaymakers would book the same week or two for the following year even as they left the islands to return home.
They say if you go back to visit the Scillies once you will return every year.
Immerse yourself and become a part of the islands’ story
Today, the islands are just as beautiful as they ever were. In fact, their wild and unspoilt beauty is now even rarer and so even more appreciated.
But the Isles of Scilly haven’t been untouched by the passage of time. Now, they offer almost everything that a holidaymaker could wish for, but in their own rugged and special way, surrounded by natural beauty.
The inter-island boats will take you from one island to another, but that journey is much more exciting then any normal taxi or bus ride. Island hopping becomes a pleasure in itself with the captain and crew pointing out birds and wildlife as well as some of the historic sites.
If you wish to cross the water under your own steam, paddle boarding and kayaking have become popular and the apparatus can be hired from a number of places. Pull on a wetsuit and you can slip under the water and dive with the seals – a truly memorable and heart warming experience.
If all that activity and fresh air has given you an appetite or a thirst, the islands have any number of restaurants and artisan cafés where you can enjoy the freshest possible seafood and slow cooked, locally sourced delights.
You might choose to visit the local vineyard or treat yourself to a gin school experience where you will develop your own gin recipe.
Whether you visit for the day or stay a little longer, you will never forget your time on the Isles of Scilly. The island life becomes a part of you and you become a part of the islands’ story.
Whether you choose to travel to the islands by Skybus from Land’s End, Newquay or Exeter airport, or sail on the Scillionian from Penzance, the journey is sure to be as memorable as the destination.
For more information on the islands and how to reach them, visit the Isles of Scilly Travel website.