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Exploring St Agnes, Isles Of Scilly


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Gwenneth Westfall



Welcome to St Agnes, a picturesque island nestled in the stunning Isles of Scilly. With its breathtaking natural beauty, charming villages, and serene atmosphere, St Agnes is a true paradise for beach and nature lovers. Tucked away in the southwestern part of the United Kingdom, this hidden gem offers a unique getaway experience.


St Agnes is known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm and welcoming local community. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, an adventurous outdoor exploration, or a taste of the local culture and cuisine, St Agnes has something for everyone.


As you step foot on this enchanting island, you’ll be transported to a world of tranquility and natural splendor. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, golden sandy beaches, and rugged coastline, St Agnes offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


As you explore the island, you’ll be captivated by its unique charm and beauty. From the scenic coastal walks to the vibrant wildlife and marine life, St Agnes is a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you’re spotting rare seabirds, discovering hidden coves, or simply enjoying the breathtaking sunsets, the island has a way of capturing your heart.


But it’s not just the natural beauty that draws visitors to St Agnes. The island is steeped in history, with ancient settlements, historical landmarks, and intriguing stories waiting to be discovered. Imagine stepping back in time as you explore ancient ruins, visit historic churches, or learn about the island’s fascinating maritime history.


With its tranquil atmosphere and friendly community, St Agnes provides a sense of peace and relaxation that is hard to find elsewhere. Whether you’re strolling through the charming streets of Hugh Town or enjoying a pint at a local pub, you’ll be greeted with a warm smile and a sense of community.


So, whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family holiday, or a solo adventure, St Agnes is the perfect destination. Soak up the sun, explore the stunning landscapes, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of this hidden paradise.


History of St Agnes

The history of St Agnes is intertwined with the rich maritime heritage that characterizes the Isles of Scilly. The island’s name is derived from Saint Agnes, one of the early Christian martyrs, and the patron saint of girls, chastity, and the island itself. Steeped in legends and stories, St Agnes has a captivating past that dates back thousands of years.


Archaeological evidence suggests that St Agnes has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, with ancient burial chambers and stone circles discovered on the island. Throughout the centuries, the island has been visited by various civilizations, from the Romans to the Vikings, each leaving their mark on the land.


During the medieval period, St Agnes was an important center for fishing, farming, and trading. It served as a stopping point for ships traveling along the trade routes, providing a safe harbor for weary sailors. The island’s strategic location made it a target for pirates and invaders, leading to the construction of defensive forts and watchtowers.


In the 19th century, St Agnes experienced a boom in the maritime industry, with the construction of the St Agnes Lighthouse and the establishment of a lifeboat station. The lighthouse, perched on the highest point of the island, served as a guiding beacon for ships navigating the treacherous waters around the Isles of Scilly.


The local economy thrived on fishing, farming, and shipbuilding. Fishermen ventured out to the Atlantic Ocean in search of valuable catches, while farmers cultivated the fertile land for crops and reared livestock. Shipbuilders crafted sturdy vessels to support the island’s growing maritime trade.


Despite its remote location, St Agnes played an important role during World War II. The island became a listening post for the Royal Air Force, monitoring enemy aircraft movements in the area. The remnants of the wartime structures can still be seen today, reminding visitors of the island’s wartime history.


Today, St Agnes continues to preserve its unique heritage while embracing modernity. The local community is dedicated to preserving the island’s natural beauty and promoting sustainable tourism. The rich history of St Agnes is celebrated through various cultural events, exhibitions, and guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the island’s fascinating past.


Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, listening to tales of shipwrecks and legends, or simply taking in the stunning landscapes that have witnessed centuries of history, St Agnes offers a captivating journey through time.


Geographic Location of St Agnes

St Agnes is located in the southwestern part of the United Kingdom, in the beautiful Isles of Scilly. It is the southernmost inhabited island of the archipelago and sits approximately 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall.


The Isles of Scilly themselves are an idyllic cluster of islands, known for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and untouched natural beauty. St Agnes is situated amidst this stunning landscape, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.


The island is relatively small, measuring just one mile in width and two miles in length, but it is packed with picturesque landscapes and captivating vistas. With its rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, and sandy beaches, St Agnes offers a diverse range of natural wonders.


St Agnes is characterized by its unique geography, with a central hill known as Wingletang Down providing a prominent landmark. From the top of Wingletang Down, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea.


The landscapes of St Agnes are also dotted with small fields, meadows, and hedgerows, adding to the island’s enchanting charm. As you explore the island, you’ll come across wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves, and secluded coves, each offering a different glimpse into the island’s diverse ecosystem.


One of the notable features of St Agnes is its close proximity to the uninhabited island of Gugh. Connected by a sandbar known as The Bar, visitors can easily walk across during low tide to explore the unique landscape and stunning beaches of Gugh.


Overall, the geographic location of St Agnes makes it a true haven for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers. Its position in the Isles of Scilly offers a remote and tranquil atmosphere, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning natural surroundings and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


Climate and Weather

St Agnes enjoys a mild oceanic climate, characterized by relatively warm summers and cool winters. The maritime influence of the nearby Atlantic Ocean moderates the temperatures, making the island’s weather generally pleasant throughout the year.


During the summer months (June to August), St Agnes experiences the warmest and most inviting weather. Average temperatures range from 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F), making it the perfect time to enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches and outdoor activities. The long daylight hours provide ample time to explore the stunning landscapes and soak up the sun.


Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons bring milder temperatures to the island. Average temperatures range from 11°C to 17°C (52°F to 63°F), creating comfortable conditions for outdoor adventures and sightseeing. These transitional seasons also offer the opportunity to witness the changing colors of nature and enjoy a quieter atmosphere.


Winter (December to February) on St Agnes is relatively mild compared to other parts of the UK. Although the temperatures can drop, reaching an average of 8°C (46°F), it rarely falls below freezing. The island’s coastal location means that winters are typically damp and windy, but it also brings a certain charm to the landscape, with dramatic waves crashing against the cliffs and creating a mesmerizing scene.


It’s important to note that despite the mild climate, the weather on St Agnes can be changeable. Visitors are advised to come prepared for varying conditions, including the possibility of rainfall, especially in the autumn and winter months. Packing a waterproof jacket and suitable footwear for outdoor activities is recommended.


Whatever the season, the natural beauty of St Agnes shines through, with its rugged coastline, tranquil beaches, and stunning sunsets. Whether you’re basking in the summer sun, enjoying the vibrant colors of autumn, or embracing the wild winter weather, St Agnes offers a captivating backdrop for your island adventures.


Flora and Fauna

St Agnes is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting a diverse array of flora and fauna that thrive in its unspoiled landscapes. With its unique position in the Atlantic Ocean and its varied habitats, the island supports a rich and vibrant ecosystem.


The island’s coastal areas are adorned with breathtaking wildflowers, including sea pinks, thrift, and bluebells, which add a splash of color to the rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. Inland, the island is dotted with small fields and hedgerows, where you’ll find an abundance of wildflowers, grasses, and native plant species.


St Agnes is home to a variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers and ornithology enthusiasts. The island’s cliffs provide nesting sites for seabirds such as puffins, razorbills, and guillemots, adding to the enchanting coastal scenery. Look out for the distinctive cries and graceful flights of these magnificent creatures as you explore the coastline.


In addition to seabirds, St Agnes is also a breeding ground for other bird species, including the elusive Eurasian woodcock, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, and the Eurasian stone-curlew. The diverse habitats on the island attract a wide range of birdlife, making it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers.


Beneath the waves, St Agnes boasts a thriving marine ecosystem. Snorkelers and scuba divers can explore the underwater world, where they may encounter colorful fish, lobsters, crabs, and even the occasional seal. The clear waters surrounding the island allow for excellent visibility, making it an ideal spot for underwater exploration.


St Agnes is also home to several rare and protected species. The Manx shearwater, a seabird known for its distinctive call, breeds on the island, and the Cornish chough, a red-beaked bird often associated with Cornwall, can be spotted along the cliffs. The island’s unique ecosystems provide a refuge for these species, contributing to their conservation.


As you explore the island’s nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, keep an eye out for other wildlife inhabitants, such as the European hedgehog, rabbits, and various species of butterflies and insects.


The flora and fauna of St Agnes create a harmonious and thriving natural environment, contributing to the island’s beauty and allure. Whether you’re admiring the vibrant wildflowers, observing the diverse bird species, or marveling at the marine life, St Agnes offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and experience the wonders of the natural world.


Beaches and Outdoor Activities

St Agnes is renowned for its stunning beaches and abundant outdoor activities, offering endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure amidst breathtaking natural landscapes.


The island is blessed with a variety of pristine sandy beaches, each with its own unique charm. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to unwind or a family-friendly beach for a day of fun in the sun, St Agnes has it all. |From the idyllic Periglis Beach to the picturesque Covean Beach, there’s a beach to suit every preference. Sink your toes into the soft sand, take a dip in the clear turquoise waters, or simply lounge under the sun and soak up the tranquil atmosphere.


For those seeking outdoor adventure, St Agnes has plenty to offer. The island’s rugged coastline provides ample opportunities for coastal walks, where you can explore hidden coves, dramatic cliffs, and panoramic vistas. The South West Coast Path offers breathtaking views and a chance to observe the diverse flora and fauna that call St Agnes home.


If you’re a water sports enthusiast, there are numerous activities to indulge in. Try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding, gliding along the crystal-clear waters and discovering the hidden corners of the coastline. Snorkeling and diving allow you to explore the vibrant marine life beneath the waves, while fishing trips offer the chance to reel in a catch of the day.


St Agnes also offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Explore the island’s nature reserves and bird hides, where you can observe a variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Keep an eye out for seals basking on the rocks or dolphins leaping through the waves, adding to the magic of your outdoor experience.


For those who enjoy walking and hiking, St Agnes has a network of footpaths and trails that traverse the island’s diverse landscapes. From leisurely strolls through fields and meadows to more challenging hikes up to the summit of Wingletang Down, there’s a route for every level of fitness and interest.


As the day draws to a close, be sure to take advantage of the island’s stunning sunsets. Find a peaceful spot on the cliffs, relax on a beach, or enjoy a picnic while you watch the vibrant colors paint the sky.


Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, St Agnes offers a wide range of outdoor activities to suit every taste. Embrace the beauty of the island, immerse yourself in nature, and create unforgettable memories amidst the stunning landscapes and pristine beaches.


Local Cuisine and Dining

Exploring the culinary scene on St Agnes is a delightful experience that showcases the island’s unique flavors and local produce. From fresh seafood to traditional Cornish dishes, there is something to please every palate.


Being surrounded by the bountiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s no surprise that seafood takes center stage in St Agnes’ cuisine. Indulge in freshly caught lobsters, succulent crab, and plump scallops, all expertly prepared and served in the island’s cozy seafood restaurants. The flavors of the sea come alive in every bite, offering a true taste of the island’s maritime charm.


If you’re looking to sample traditional Cornish fare, St Agnes has a range of options to satisfy your cravings. Try a hearty Cornish pasty, a savory pastry filled with meat, vegetables, and potatoes, perfect for a quick bite on the go. Additionally, indulge in a traditional Cornish cream tea, complete with freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam, accompanied by a steaming cup of tea.


The island’s local produce plays a significant role in the dining experience on St Agnes. With its fertile fields and mild climate, the island yields an abundance of fresh ingredients. Enjoy locally grown vegetables, such as succulent tomatoes and crisp greens, which are showcased in a variety of dishes. The island’s farms also produce high-quality dairy products, including creamy artisan cheeses and rich butter.


St Agnes is also home to a number of charming cafes and pubs, where you can savor delicious homemade treats and refreshing beverages. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely brunch overlooking the beach or cozying up in a traditional pub with a pint of local ale, the island’s dining establishments offer a warm and friendly atmosphere.


To truly immerse yourself in the local food culture, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the island’s farmer’s market and local food festivals. Here, you can sample a range of locally sourced products, from freshly baked bread and pastries to homemade jams and chutneys.


As you dine on St Agnes, you’ll not only enjoy exquisite flavors but also support local businesses and sustainable practices. The island’s commitment to high-quality, locally sourced ingredients ensures that every bite is a celebration of the island’s natural bounty.


Whether you’re indulging in fresh seafood, sampling traditional Cornish dishes, or sipping on a locally brewed beverage, the culinary offerings on St Agnes are sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more.


Accommodation Options

St Agnes offers a range of accommodation options, ensuring that every visitor can find the perfect place to stay and immerse themselves in the island’s tranquil atmosphere.


For those seeking a cozy and intimate experience, St Agnes is home to charming guesthouses and bed and breakfasts. These accommodations offer comfortable rooms, personalized service, and a warm and welcoming ambiance. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore and start your day with a delicious homemade breakfast made with locally sourced ingredients.


If you prefer the convenience of self-catering accommodations, you’ll find a selection of holiday cottages and apartments available for rent. These cozy and fully equipped homes offer the freedom to create your own schedule and make yourself at home on the island. Enjoy the flexibility of preparing your own meals and relax in your private space after a day of exploration.


For those seeking a touch of luxury, St Agnes has boutique hotels and inns that offer elegance, comfort, and stunning views. Enjoy spacious rooms, indulgent amenities, and exceptional service, all set against the backdrop of the island’s natural beauty. Unwind in a private garden, soak in a hot tub with panoramic sea views, or indulge in a spa treatment after a day of adventures.


Camping and caravan sites are also available on St Agnes for those who prefer a more adventurous and nature-focused experience. Set up camp amidst the island’s stunning landscapes, whether it’s near the beach or in a peaceful meadow. Wake up to the sounds of nature, breathe in the fresh sea air, and enjoy the simplicity of outdoor living.


Whichever accommodation option you choose, you’ll have easy access to the island’s stunning beaches, charming villages, and breathtaking walking trails. The warm and welcoming atmosphere of the local accommodations reflects the authentic and friendly community on St Agnes, ensuring that your stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.


As St Agnes is a small island, it is recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Whether you’re seeking a romantic retreat, a family-friendly holiday, or a solo getaway, St Agnes has the perfect accommodation to suit your needs and make your stay a memorable one.


Places to Visit on St Agnes

St Agnes is a treasure trove of natural beauty and historic sites, offering a variety of attractions to explore during your visit to the island.


One of the must-visit landmarks on St Agnes is the St Agnes Beacon. Rising to a height of 101 meters, it offers panoramic views of the island and its surrounding seas. Take a leisurely hike to the summit and be rewarded with breathtaking vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.


The St Agnes Church, located in the heart of the village, is another notable attraction. This historic church dates back to the 12th century and showcases beautiful stained glass windows and a peaceful ambiance. Take a moment to reflect and admire the architectural beauty of this ancient place of worship.


If you’re interested in the island’s history, a visit to the Old Man of Gugh is a must. This ancient standing stone, believed to date back to the Bronze Age, stands tall on the neighboring island of Gugh. During low tide, you can walk across the sandbar known as The Bar to explore Gugh and see this iconic stone up close.


For nature enthusiasts, the Troytown Farm and Dairy is a popular destination. This working farm is renowned for its delicious ice cream, made from milk produced by the farm’s own cows. Take a leisurely stroll through the farm, interact with the friendly animals, and indulge in a scoop or two of their delectable homemade ice cream.


For a unique coastal experience, make your way up to the Turk’s Head, a rocky outcrop that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Marvel at the crashing waves and the rugged coastline, and keep an eye out for seals basking on the rocks.


If you’re looking to unwind and soak up the sun, head to one of St Agnes’ picturesque beaches. Covean Beach, Great Bay, and Periglis Beach are all stunning options, each offering a different atmosphere and breathtaking coastal scenery. Whether you want to relax on the soft sand, explore rock pools, or take a refreshing dip in the clear turquoise waters, these beaches are a slice of paradise.


Finally, for a taste of local art and culture, visit the St Agnes’ Island Hall. This community center hosts a range of events, exhibitions, and workshops throughout the year, showcasing the creativity and talent of the island’s residents. From art exhibitions to live music performances, there’s always something to discover at the Island Hall.


These are just a few of the many places to explore on St Agnes. As you wander through the island’s charming streets and immerse yourself in its natural beauty, you’ll uncover even more hidden gems and treasures along the way.


Shopping and Souvenirs

While St Agnes may be a small island, it offers a variety of unique shopping opportunities for visitors to find that special souvenir or gift to remember their time on the island.


The island is home to a number of independent shops and boutiques, where you can discover locally made crafts, artwork, and jewelry. These one-of-a-kind pieces showcase the talent and creativity of the local artisans and offer a truly authentic St Agnes keepsake.


One popular item to look out for is Scilly-made jewelry, crafted using shells, stones, and sea glass found on the island’s beaches. These delicate and intricately designed pieces not only capture the beauty of St Agnes but also serve as a reminder of the tranquility and natural wonders of the Isles of Scilly.


If you’re a book lover, be sure to visit the island’s bookshops, which offer a curated selection of books about the local area, wildlife, history, and more. These books provide insight into the unique culture and heritage of St Agnes and make for a meaningful and educational souvenir.


For those with a sweet tooth, St Agnes boasts a delightful selection of locally made treats. From handmade chocolates to artisan fudge, these delectable goodies are made with love and care, using high-quality ingredients. Indulge in the flavors of the island and bring home a taste of St Agnes to share with your loved ones.


No visit to St Agnes would be complete without exploring the island’s local produce. Visit the island’s farm shops and delis, where you can find a range of Cornish specialties, such as locally made cheeses, chutneys, and preserves. These flavorsome treats are a delicious reminder of your time on the island and make for a wonderful gift for food enthusiasts.


For those looking for practical souvenirs, consider picking up items that reflect the island’s outdoor pursuits. Look for items such as waterproof jackets, hats, or backpacks that are locally made and designed for outdoor adventures. These items not only serve as a reminder of your time on St Agnes but also provide practical use for future outdoor explorations.


Lastly, don’t forget to explore St Agnes’ weekly markets, where local vendors gather to showcase their goods. Here, you can browse through a variety of stalls offering fresh produce, handmade crafts, and local artwork. These markets provide an opportunity to engage with the local community and discover unique treasures.


Whether you’re looking for a piece of locally made jewelry, a taste of Cornish delights, or a unique handmade craft, shopping on St Agnes offers a chance to support local businesses and bring home a piece of this enchanting island.


Transportation Options to St Agnes

Getting to St Agnes is part of the adventure, with a range of transportation options available to suit different preferences and schedules.


One of the most popular ways to reach St Agnes is by boat. Several ferry companies operate regular services from Penzance, on the Cornish mainland, to St Agnes. The journey provides stunning views of the coastal scenery and the opportunity to spot wildlife along the way. The ferry ride typically takes around 2 hours, and advance booking is recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons.


For those seeking a faster and more exhilarating journey, helicopter services are also available. Helicopter flights depart from Penzance Heliport and offer a unique aerial perspective of the Isles of Scilly. The flights are quick, taking only around 20 minutes, and provide stunning views of the islands from above.


Once on St Agnes, getting around the island is a breeze. The compact size of the island makes it ideal for exploration on foot. Whether you’re strolling along the coastal paths or wandering through the charming streets of the village, the island is easily navigable on foot.


For those who prefer to venture a bit further, there are golf buggy taxis available on St Agnes. These eco-friendly buggies can take you to various parts of the island, making it easier to access remote beaches or attractions. They offer a convenient and fun way to get around, especially for those with mobility issues or who prefer not to walk long distances.


St Agnes is a car-free island, which only adds to its peaceful and unspoiled atmosphere. However, if you wish to explore the neighboring island of Gugh, you can easily walk across the sandbar known as The Bar during low tide. This unique experience allows you to discover even more of the Isles of Scilly and its natural wonders.


While on St Agnes, it’s also worth noting that bicycles are available for hire, allowing you to explore the island at your own pace. Cycling around the island offers a leisurely and eco-friendly way to see the sights and discover hidden gems.


Regardless of which transportation option you choose, a visit to St Agnes promises an unforgettable journey to a secluded and breathtaking destination. Whether it’s by boat, helicopter, or on foot, embrace the adventure and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this captivating island.



St Agnes is a hidden gem in the Isles of Scilly, offering a truly idyllic getaway for those seeking natural beauty, rich history, and a serene atmosphere. From its stunning beaches and rugged coastlines to its charming villages and vibrant wildlife, the island captures the hearts of all who visit.


With a range of accommodation options, visitors can find the perfect place to stay and immerse themselves in the island’s tranquil ambiance. Cozy guesthouses, self-catering cottages, and boutique hotels offer comfort and charm, ensuring a restful and enjoyable stay.


The island’s rich history is evident in its landmarks, such as the St Agnes Beacon and the St Agnes Church, providing a sense of connection to the past. The island’s unique geography offers panoramic views and a diverse range of outdoor activities, from coastal walks and wildlife spotting to snorkeling and kayaking.


St Agnes’ local cuisine is a delight, with its focus on fresh seafood and locally sourced produce. Sample the island’s delicacies, indulge in homemade treats, and savor the unique flavors that reflect the natural bounty of the area.


Exploring St Agnes allows visitors to experience the warmth and hospitality of the local community, who are dedicated to preserving the island’s beauty and welcoming visitors with open arms. Whether you’re browsing shops for unique souvenirs, attending local events, or simply enjoying the stunning sunsets, the island’s charm is undeniable.


Getting to St Agnes is part of the adventure, with boat rides and helicopter flights offering breathtaking views of the surrounding seas and coastlines. Once on the island, the absence of cars and the ease of exploring on foot or via eco-friendly transportation options add to the island’s serene atmosphere.


In conclusion, a visit to St Agnes is a true escape from the ordinary. Allow yourself to be captivated by the natural wonders and rich history of the island, soak up the tranquility, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, outdoor adventure, or a deeper connection with nature, St Agnes offers it all in a pristine and captivating setting.