The Scilly archipelago’s islands are small in scale but leave a big impression. From spring to autumn, boats zip between the five main strips of land, bringing hikers, wildlife watchers, beach bums and arty types to their favourite isle.
St Mary’s boasts two nature reserves and an abundance of walking trails that wrap around its coast. Depending on your energy levels, you can hike, cycle, or hire road-licensed golf buggies to take in the scenery. When temperatures drop, Hugh Town’s pubs and cafés provide a warm refuge from the elements.
On Tresco, you can unwind on dream-like beaches or dip into art galleries and craft shops. In the exotic Abbey Garden, you’ll spot plants from every continent – even in the midst of winter. Meanwhile, St Martin’s is home to creatures great and small: from shearwaters and shags, to native shrews. There’s also a colony of grey seals that often joins in on diving and snorkelling excursions.
When to go?
July to September is high season, when the islands are at their prettiest. Naturally, the prices rise along with the temperatures. You’ll find better deals between November and January – just be sure to pack your woolies.
Where to stay?
Star Castle Hotel – Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Chock-full of character, this stone property sits atop the star-shaped Garrison fort facing the sea. It expertly blends elements of old and new, from the candle-lit dining room and dungeon-turned-cellar bar, to the heated indoor pool.
Karma St Martin’s – Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
This quiet beachfront property and its attentive staff will have you feeling truly rested. Here you can wake up to the sound of lapping waves, treat yourself to a massage in the spa, or enjoy a glass of wine over a good book in the library.
Tregarthen’s Hotel – Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Overlooking St Mary’s harbour, this hotel features a seafood restaurant frequented by British royals. Its combination of helpful staff and comfy rooms make every guest feel special, with iPod docks and bathrobes standard throughout.