Travel: Isles of Scilly
You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to find clear blue waters and white, sandy, deserted beaches – because the Isles of Scilly are a lot closer than you think…
As you arrive, you instantly feel you’re in another world. Only 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall, this very British paradise, with its tiny population of just 2,200, is made up of five inhabited islands – St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes – and a number of others which are deserted. They host an abundance of wildlife and beautiful, subtropical flora and fauna. All the beaches are clean and easily rival the Caribbean in terms of beauty. Everywhere you look, there’s a view to take your breath away.
St Mary’s is the biggest and most inhabited island, with the most going on in terms of pubs and restaurants, shops, accommodation and attractions. It’s also the main stop for all the ferries between the islands. For a quieter break, head to St Martin’s and the Karma St Martin’s Hotel – details on karmagroup.com. It has a spa, great food, and a bar equipped with a huge vinyl collection that guests can play. Kate and William have stayed here! If you don’t fancy walking, hire a bike – pedal or electric – or a golf buggy. Don’t worry about traffic, as there’s hardly any.
Have a drink in the Dungeon Bar at the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s. At night, the super-dark, clear skies make for great star-gazing. Tresco Abbey Gardens should also be on your list – 10 acres of sub-tropical perfection in the grounds of the ruined 11th-century abbey.
Skybus flights cost from £70 one way, leaving from Newquay (40 mins), Exeter (60 mins) or Land’s End (15 mins). There’s also a ferry, the Scillonian, from Penzance. Visit islesofscilly-travel.co.uk. GWR trains from London Paddington to Penzance include a sleeper, the Night Riviera, from £100.
The Atlantic, in Hugh Town, is open all year, with rooms from £130 a night, atlantichotelscilly.co.uk Find guesthouses and B&Bs at visitislesofscilly.com, or rent a cottage at come2scilly.com
FOOD AND DRINK
The lobster and seafood platter with the best view is at Juliet’s Garden, while Pom’s Thai Takeaway mobile kitchen is to die for! Try the Atlantic pub, St Mary’s, for mussels and chips and lobster burgers, or visit Adam’s Fish & Chips on St Martin’s.
A busy day in St Martin’s – the beautiful white beaches rival the Caribbean Like seafood? You’ll love the Isles of Scilly
The Tresco Abbey Gardens are a lush subtropical delight not to be missed Rush hour in Hugh Town, St Mary’s
The royals found good Karma here Chill out at the Atlantic in Hugh Town Lying off the coast of Cornwall, these magical isles will enchant you