The Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly
Story of a forgottent paradise
The Isles of Scilly could comfortably lay claim to being Britain’s answer to the Caribbean. Deserted white sand beaches, shallow turquoise waters and a laid-back pace of life into which it is easy to fall, one can instantly forget that mainland England is merely 30 miles away.
St. Mary’s is the Isles of Scilly’s largest island (population 1,800) and the gateway to the rest of the islands. Covering an area of less than 2.5 square miles, it is still peaceful and uncrowded, but with its air and sea links, it is more than likely to be your first port of call when you visit. Hugh Town is the central hub with its cluster of shops, banks, churches, post office, cafés, galleries, restaurants and pubs as well as the wonderful museum. It has three lovely beaches in very close proximity (one of them hosts the Sailing Centre of the island). Old Town is the other “major” settlement on St. Mary’s, closer to the airport and with its own beautiful beach and nature reserve.
The island is just two miles long, yet it has some of the finest beaches in the British Isles, if not the world. Additionally, the spectacular flowers, plant life, rare birds and sensational sea views along the heathery cliff path walks all add to the thrill of St. Martin’s unmistakable beauty. Behind these beautiful scenes, there lies an enterprising and diverse community. The 120 or so inhabitants are industrious folk – there is a flower farm and vineyard – both open to visitors, a fabulous dive school offering snorkelling with seals, a locally inspired silver jewellery designer, a flourishing bakery full of artisan breads and traditional, freshly made savouries and a wonderful gallery showcasing local artists
Tresco, the second largest of the islands and a subtropical gem, is the place of ultimate luxury and sophistication. It is the only one of the islands to be privately-owned .This island has a little bit of everything – from dramatic rocky outcrops, bronze age burial sites and romantic castle ruins, to secluded sandy beaches and, of course, the world famous Tresco Abbey Garden. This horticultural paradise hosts a spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants from all corners of the world. Whatever you choose to do on Tresco, you will notice that it oozes sophistication at every level - from its top-notch accommodation, art gallery and fabulous deli to the amazing eateries serving fine local produce and the award-winning leisure spa, the Flying Boat Club..
On the most south-westerly edge of the Isles of Scilly, St. Agnes is totally unspoilt and astonishingly peaceful. It measures just a mile or so across, and its closest neighbour is Gugh, to which it is joined by a sand bar at low tide. St. Agnes urges your senses to seek adventure. Head off in search of the circular maze of rounded beach stones; marvel at the stone stacks and cairns , or comb the beaches for shipwrecked treasures. Periglis Beach is a fine spot for a picnic as well as a shell collectors’ paradise. It also offers stunning views across to the bird sanctuary that is Annet, the Western Rocks and out to Bishop Rock. Of course, there is always the option to simply go for a dip, or sit and watch the world go by whilst sampling the local produce at the restaurants and cafés, or sipping a beer at the pub.
Pounded by Atlantic waves on one side, yet blessed with calm sandy beaches on the other, Bryher is an island of dramatic contrast - the perfect place to enjoy a taste of untamed Scilly. Around 80 people are lucky enough to call it home. Whether you're exploring rocky coves, lazing on white sandy beaches or hiking up one of its small granite hills for some great views, Bryher serves up a wonderful sense of freedom and purity. The entire island is criss-crossed by tracks and dotted with stalls selling fresh produce including farm eggs, local vegetables, freshly-landed seafood and mouth-watering island fudge. There are also several eateries, including the Hell Bay Hotel and Fraggle Rock, one of Britain's smallest bars.