For so long we had wanted to reach the beautiful Scilly Isles that sit just off the most south westerly coast of the UK – literally just across from the aptly named Land’s End! It wasn’t that easy and it was definitely expensive but we are so happy we did it!
From the mainland you have two options to get to St Mary’s which is the main island of the Scilly Isles. A ferry that isn’t too pricey and takes around 3 hours from Penzance harbour or you can fly on the tiniest plane from Land’s End Airport which takes just 20 minutes which is great but quite costly! We opted for the quickest route as we are not good on boats and the flight seemed like a great way to see the Scilly Isles as we came into land! Luckily we had lovely clear and calm weather to fly and although cramped it was a fun way to arrive!
The island of St Mary’s is the largest and most populated of the isles (around 1,800 people) but that is not to say it is busy and bustling … it has that small, quaint, unspoilt village feel to it with the main residential area being Hugh Town – where the hotels, B&Bs, cafes, pubs and restaurants are along with being set around the main harbour! Such a pretty, clean and friendly place it was too!
Obviously everywhere is walkable but if you want to take a jaunt around the whole island, which is only 6 square miles, then we highly recommend hiring one of the many golf buggies which was loads of fun and the perfect way to get around! Another thing we found and loved on the isles is the leaving out of local produce and/or local makers displaying their goods which can be found along the streets totally unattended with ‘honesty boxes’ where you leave money if you take/purchase anything! WOW! How wonderful and liberating to visit a place that has so much trust, respect and civilised behaviour that this is even possible! And how sad that we found it so shocking that this actually exists and that at home it would be madness to expect this to even be a possibility!!
Anyway the one place we really wanted to visit was the Abbey Gardens on the isle of Tresco which is the only privately owned of the isles! It is an easy short boat trip over and then a very lovely picturesque coastal wander to the Abbey Gardens entrance. The beautiful bays, the blue waters, the calmness and simple beauty of these isles is so captivating that it is no wonder that many a creative person is drawn back time and time again as it is inspiring to say the least!
Once in the Abbey Gardens you get lost yet again in the gorgeousness and dreamy scenes that the incredible landscaping evokes. So colourful and fascinating as this isle lies on a tropical line so they are able to grow and cultivate plants and trees from the most far flung corners of the world all brought together here so magnificently – it’s like walking into a perfect painting!
For two people – who couldn’t be less green fingered and less into gardening if you tried – we absolutely loved it and, although we didn’t sustain the thought, we suddenly really wanted a garden!! There were so many different areas to the sprawling landscape with loads of curated corners for sitting and contemplating, secret paths that led to more beauty and luscious planting along with the ruins of the original Abbey which is not to be missed!
We really did get lost and wrapped up in these serene surroundings and had to power walk back to the boat jetty as we were getting the last boat of the day back to St Marys! The water was a bit more lively on the return journey which was interesting and we were happy to be back on terra ferma for a delicious pud dinner!!
On St Mary’s we stayed at St Mary’s Hall
which was fantastic as not only is it a stone’s throw from everything – the town centre, the beach and the harbour – but is a little oasis in itself! Modern rooms with all you need for a comfortable and cosy stay along with a scrumptious breakfast and a delightful, large front garden which was so picturesque and the perfect spot for an afternoon tea, a pre dinner drink or simply hanging out at any time of day to watch the world go by and chill out!
Their restaurant was also excellent – remember to book yourselves in – as not only are guests happy to stay in and eat there but the locals frequent the bar and eatery too which sums up how good it was! All in all it was the perfect stay and an absolute joy to experience these isles in all of their colourful glory when we were there in July and everything was in bloom! We were always sure we wanted to visit but we weren’t sure if we’d find it too quiet, too tame, too small or too slow paced but do you know what all of those things were a pure pleasure and a treat – if you want to switch off, forget the big bad world out there and get back to nature, the simple things in life in a civilized and refreshingly honest atmosphere then you have to visit!