Isles of Scilly: 15 Best Things To Do!

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The Isles of Scilly, often known as the Scilly Isles, provide a calm respite from the masses. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has five inhabited island villages and a smattering of deserted islands interspersed with uninhabitable cliffs, covered in low-lying heathland, and bordered by lovely sandy white beaches.

Things To Do In Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are charming and will greet you with an old-fashioned welcome and say a cheerful farewell, and you will soon be back at its shore.

1. Visit the Beautiful Beaches in the Isles of Scilly

Pentle Bay is the most popular beach in the Isles of Scilly. If you’re searching for a calm location to roam about and take in the sun, sea, and sky, Pentle Bay is the place to be. The beachfront is curved like a crescent, and each point provides a unique perspective of the surrounding beaches and islands.

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Pentle Bay offers everything a Scilly island beach should have: white sand, crystal blue water, and a lack of crowds. Visitors may also enjoy beach activities such as volleyball and frisbee on its white and fluffy beaches. Pentle Bay defies expectations by being at least two degrees cooler than the coast.

Water sports enthusiasts will like the warm water temperature. This lovely section of Tresco’s eastern shore has been repeatedly designated one of Britain’s (and the world’s) most beautiful beaches. The beach in Pentle Bay is unique in that it is situated on the other coast from where the boat land and Tresco Abbey.

2. Go on a Wildlife Tour

Scilly’s unique environment provides a large array of habitats for a diverse variety of species, which is one of the main reasons visitors come. During your visit to these lands, you may see migrating birds pass by and learn about the gorgeous flora and wildlife as you stroll the coastlines and trails.

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These picturesque excursions of the Isles of Scilly let visitors get up and personal with the archipelago’s great animals, magnificent landscape, and maritime tradition. The excursions are fairly frequent and take place on all of the islands, so depending on where you stay, you may need to take a boat and then a tour.

The excursions are extremely frequent and take place on all of the islands, so you may need to take a boat depending on where you are staying. Boat tours are an excellent opportunity to go beyond the five main islands.

Their path will change depending on the weather. However, it provides the finest chance to observe Scilly’s magnificent wildlife while also providing a guided tour of the stunning vistas and places of interest along the route.

3. Wine Tasting at Holy Vale Vineyard

The Vineyard and Winery, located in the serene and lovely Holy Vale on the Nature Trail in the heart of St. Mary’s, is a must-see destination. The Holy Vale vineyard is one of many on St Mary’s that cultivate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris for their wines. The first wines from Holy Vale Vineyard on St Mary’s in the Scilly Isles were launched in 2015.

There is a tasting area as well as an amazing cellar door store that offers a variety of premium wines from across the world. Wine tasting is a very nice hobby. During your tour, you will hear a fascinating story of how the vineyard got established.

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The vineyard is in a stunning location, and guests are free to enjoy the space and serenity anytime they pass by. In addition to the excursions, they provide a weekly wine-tasting course with four carefully selected wines from across the globe to sip and debate.

4. Have a Visit to Tamarisk Gallery

Local artists’ creations are on display at the Tamarisk Gallery on the Isles of Scilly, including original paintings, screen prints, jewellery, fused glass, and ceramics. With its unique setting and beautiful light, Scilly draws artists from all over the world. In the middle of St. Mary’s Hugh Street, Tamarisk, a brand-new gallery, debuted in September 2016.

The gallery’s artworks are largely by local artists or those having a close connection to the islands. They contain works by Imogen Bone and Chris Smith. Among them are Sue Lewington and Tracey Elphick.

Isles of Scilly
Photo By Dannie Jing From Unsplash

Among the main crafts are pottery by Caroline Gillett and Vickie Heaney, silk scarves by Liz Askins, jewellery by Rebecca Smith and Carly Player, and fused glass by Oriel Hicks. With a yard and breathtaking views of the Scilly Isles, Tamarisk is a spacious, bright home.

5. Tresco Abbey Gardens

Tresco Abbey Garden, founded by Augustus Smith in 1834 around the remnants of a Benedictine Abbey, is home to thousands of plants from all over the world that thrive in the subtropical environment of the Isles of Scilly. The very mild temperature enables even the most fantastical fantasies to come true.

Wide, highly grated trails go through the vibrant flowerbeds, where breaks are often invited. The most well-known features are wooden seats, stone walls, succulent ceramics, flower bouquets in the open air, and sculptures.

There are approximately 4,000 distinct species that benefit from the long hours of sunlight and the warmth of the Gulf Stream, including Palms, Bamboo, Cacti, Echium, Agapanthus, Flame-Trees, and King Proteas.

Photo by Kath Watson from Shutterstock

Tresco Abbey Garden also includes the Valhalla Museum, which exhibits a collection of figureheads and remnants from shipwrecks that have occurred on the islands. Valhalla is both terrifying and interesting, and it is worth a visit when touring the Abbey Garden.

6. Garrison Walls

From shipwrecks to riches, and from Bronze Age burial chambers to derelict communities, Scilly’s past is completely captivating, mingling tantalisingly with modern-day life on the islands.

Many of them are managed by English Heritage and feature a diverse variety of historic sites to explore, ranging from ancient burial mounds to Civil War forts. The Garrison, the headland defences opposite Hugh Town, the major hamlet of St Mary’s, is the most spectacular fortress on Scilly.

When a Spanish invasion was predicted in the 1590s, fortifications were built. The Garrison Walls are managed by English Heritage, and visitors may walk the majority of their length. A two-hour stroll through the ramparts of these defensive walls and earthworks, spanning from the 16th to the 18th century, is available.

The magazine building has a good display and is close to where a round tour of these fortifications begins. Many of the guns seen around the walls are from a later era.

7. Birdwatching

The Isles of Scilly are a group of five inhabited islands off the southwest coast of Cornwall. The Scilly Isles are recognised as one of the greatest destinations in the UK for birding.

Isles of Scilly
Photo By Sonny Wolf From Unsplash

The islands’ location creates a situation of extreme contrast: the sea’s ameliorating impact, affected largely by the North Atlantic Current, means they seldom get frost or snow, allowing local farmers to grow flowers considerably ahead of those on mainland Britain.

The islands serve as a stopover for migratory birds as well as a nesting place for a variety of seabirds. Breeding Puffins, Guillemots, and Razorbills, as well as the elusive European Storm Petrel, are among the seabirds. The strange guests who are regularly blown off course and onto the islands are what truly attract the attention.

The native birds of the Scilly Islands are similarly noteworthy; shearwaters and petrels, as well as several more common species like guillemots and razorbills, maintain nesting colonies here.

8. Isles of Scilly Museum

The Isles of Scilly Museum opened to the public on July 15, 1967, and H.M. Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit on August 8, 1967. The Isles of Scilly Museum provides a thorough history of the islands and their inhabitants.

The collections are quite diversified, including material from several wrecks. Exhibits of local relevance, from prehistory to the present, are kept here. A hidden treasure of a museum. If you’re interested in history, whether naval, prehistoric, or social and cultural, this modest museum has it all.

There are two storeys. Full of facts on the islands spanning a century or more. Maps depicting hundreds of shipwrecks in the region, it’s easy to lose track of time here. The museum also has a modest display on former Prime Minister Edward Heath, who is buried in the Isles of Scilly.

There is also a large collection of oral history films and audio/visual archives at the Isles of Scilly Museum. These recordings have been saved and may be used for study, museum exhibitions, or radio or television dramatisations.

9. Cromwell’s Castle

Cromwell’s Castle, erected following the capture of the Royalist Scillies in 1651, defends the harbour between Bryher and Tresco. It is one of the few remaining Cromwellian fortresses in Britain. Stunning vistas and an extraordinary structure make it a must-see in the Scilly Isles.

The ascent to the top portion is arduous, but it will be worthwhile to provide perspective for the whole edifice. Every step closer expose the mysteries hidden inside Cromwell’s Castle, as does the rocky ledge it lies on.

Although the internal hardwood flooring has been removed, the spiral staircase and stone vaulted ceiling remain intact and accessible. According to English Heritage, the castle is “one of just a few stone defences that exist from the Interregnum,” and it is protected by UK law.

10. Seal Snorkelling in the Isles of Scilly

You may get personal contact with a seal by watching wild seals swim easily in their natural surroundings. It’s a fantastic nature experience to see seals swim beautifully and easily in their natural surroundings. Because the islands are exposed to Atlantic winds, spectacular winter gales lash the islands from time to time.

You will be guided and assisted by a diving instructor. All necessary equipment is given. There is no prior snorkelling experience necessary, however, you should be comfortable swimming in open water. Nothing beats watching wild creatures in their natural setting. The 2.5-hour tour requires no prior snorkelling expertise.

If you are willing to risk the sea, you may immerse yourself in the world of the Atlantic grey seal from the little island of St Martin’s, which is part of the Isles of Scilly, which are located 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall. Because they are wild creatures, they control the whole encounter, even coming up close and playing with your fin.

Snorkelling requires a minimum age of 12 years. An adult must accompany all youngsters under the age of 16.

11. Scilly Rockpool Safaris

The Scilly Rockpool Safaris will take you on a magnificent journey of marine discoveries, including uncommon species. Learn about the organisms that dwell under the crystal-clear seas of Scilly, such as starfish, crabs, and sea anemones.

The Isles of Scilly
Photo By Annie Spratt From Unsplash

Explore a secret world of interesting marine critters only accessible at low tide on a safari through Scilly’s rockpools. You’ll be shown the mysteries of the intertidal zone and taught how to spot and identify a broad variety of strange and amazing species. From starfish to crabs, blue-rayed limpets to anemones, there’s something for everyone.

Scilly Rockpool Safaris is a unique and distinctive experience for everyone, whether you are a lone traveller, a family with children, or a group of friends. Lose yourself in nature and end your day with memories that last a lifetime and your very own starfish treasure.

12. Bishop Rock

Bishop Rock is the world’s smallest island, situated close to the Isles of Sicily in Cornwall. Bishop Rock Lighthouse, four miles west of the Isles of Scilly in the Atlantic Ocean, was erected in 1858 to identify a 45-metre-long and 16-metre-wide rock ledge.

The original tower, built in 1847, was destroyed by a storm before the lamp could be mounted. The current tower, constructed of interlocking granite stones with a strong drum foundation, was finished in 1858. The rock has a lofty structure that covers the whole land surface of the rock.

Because no one lives in the lighthouse, it is only open for visitors to witness how the house was built from the ground level to the tenth storey. Shipwrecks such as the Falkland and the flagship HMS Association are also popular tourist sites on the isles of Scilly.

Bishop Rock also acts as a navigational landmark for ships on the North Atlantic route. As the island of Bishop Rock lacks lodging, you may find forms of accommodation such as inns and hostels in the town and other adjacent towns. The primary attractions on the island are the historical facts and the lighthouse itself.

13. Sea Garden Cottages Scilly isles

The Sea Garden Cottages, built on the site of the former Island Hotel, provide basic comfort and design in the shape of one-bedroom cottages available by the night or bigger cottages sleeping 6-10 available by the week.

 

The Sea Garden Cottages have received a Five Star Gold Award for Self-Catering Accommodation from England. Benefit from Tresco Abbey Garden access, the on-site recreational amenities and tennis courts, Tresco Island Spa, outdoor pools, and even golf on the neighboring island of St Mary.

You’ll stay in some of the most beautiful accommodations on the Isles of Scilly. While inside, there are cozy wood-burning stoves and expansive views of the ocean beyond the windows.

Large gardens and patios for dining al fresco in the summer; satellite TV, WiFi, heated solid wood floors, and one-of-a-kind works of art by some of Cornwall’s most well-known painters for entertainment in the winter.

Stylish, cosy, and well-equipped cottages with stunning views of untamed seascapes and rocky outcrops. This location is Excellent for children: nearly little traffic, easy beach access, and a beautiful sensation of freedom bicycling about the island.

14. Halangy Down Ancient Village in the Isles of Scilly

If you wish to learn more about Scilly’s ancient history, visit the interesting remnants of an Iron Age hamlet to the north of St Mary’s. The old village/settlement of Halangy Down is located on St Mary’s Island, in the Scilly Isles, approximately one mile north of Hugh Town, and lies close to the seashore between Toll’s Porth and Halangy Point.

Photo by tony mills from Shutterstock

This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful portions of St Mary’s, with numerous trees providing much-needed shade if the weather is bright. The views over the offshore islands are breathtaking.

As with most of the footpaths on the islands, proper footwear is recommended, and it is probably not ideal for individuals who are unable to cope with rugged terrain. The old settlement isn’t much to look at since the varied stones don’t make any sense.

The burial chamber higher up the hill, on the other hand, is tastefully displayed and boasts wonderful views of Tresco. A good starting point for a half-day walk from Hugh Town, which you may combine with a stop at Juliet’s Garden café.

It’s a wonderful site to explore. Make a day of it and take advantage of the (hilly) hike from Hugh Town. Head above the town to the Bronze Age entry burial to learn more about St Mary’s history while taking in the breathtaking views out to sea.

15. The World Pilot Gig Championship

Every year on the first spring bank holiday in May, the World Pilot Gig Championships are held. It’s a fantastic weekend for rowers and spectators alike to come and experience gig rowing on a massive scale.

From modest beginnings in 1990 with fewer than 20 events, this spectacular show has expanded year after year, with more than 150 gigs taking place throughout the weekend. Normally, there is a contest amongst the various Island crews to determine who qualifies to compete in these engagements. One of the best things to do in the isles of Scilly.

Every year, they host the World Pilot Gig Championships. St. Martins is the ideal place to stay for the World Pilot Gig Championships because you will be able to experience all of the excitement of the rowing events based on St. Marys, as well as all that this very special island has to offer by enjoying the wonderful beaches and walks when the rowing is done.

Gig racing between the islands continues to this day throughout the summer. Set aside a Wednesday or Friday evening to see the island’s native gig crews compete for glory. Watch from the St. Mary’s quay or get a closer look on a tripper boat, then join the crews for a drink and tales at the bar after the races.

Conclusion

Despite being the biggest archipelago in the UK, just five of the islands are presently inhabited, leaving over 140 uninhabited islands. The Isles of Scilly are just a few miles from the western end of the Land’s Edge, yet despite their near vicinity, they seem to exist in a different world.

The Isles of Scilly
Photo By Frank From Unsplash

The Isles of Scilly are best known for their laid-back atmosphere and simple pleasures. The Isles of Scilly are located only off the coast of Cornwall, yet they are worlds different in every manner. A natural marvel, like a ring of brilliant ocean gems, where nature flourishes and the spirit is inspired.

Each island has a unique personality: St Mary’s is the biggest, with Hugh Town serving as the administrative centre. Because of the consistently beautiful weather in July and August, the beaches are usually calmer than on the mainland.

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