Welcome to the Isles of Scilly, a hidden gem nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Cornwall. With its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking landscapes, the Isles of Scilly offer a truly unparalleled beach and island experience. This archipelago of 140 islands, of which only 5 are inhabited, is a haven for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In this comprehensive one-week itinerary, we will guide you through the must-visit islands and provide you with insights on how to make the most of your time in this picturesque destination. From exploring St. Mary’s Island, the largest and main island, to hopping over to Tresco for a visit to the world-famous Tresco Abbey Gardens, and discovering the untouched beauty of Bryher and St. Martin’s Island, you are in for an unforgettable adventure.
But the fun doesn’t end there! The Isles of Scilly also offer a plethora of lesser-known islands, each with its distinctive charm and allure. Get ready to uncover hidden coves, go birdwatching, stroll along rugged coastal paths, and indulge in fresh seafood delicacies.
So, grab your sunscreen, pack your beachwear, and get ready to embark on a journey to the Isles of Scilly, where sun, sand, and serenity await you at every turn.
Day 1: Arrival in the Isles of Scilly
Welcome to the enchanting Isles of Scilly! Upon your arrival at St. Mary’s Airport or the St. Mary’s Harbour, take a deep breath and prepare to immerse yourself in the island’s beauty. Start your day by checking into your accommodation, whether it’s a cozy guesthouse, a charming bed and breakfast, or one of the island’s luxury hotels.
Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to begin your exploration of the main island, St. Mary’s. Start by wandering through Hugh Town, the island’s main settlement, and soak in the quaint charm of its narrow streets lined with colorful cottages and local shops. Make a pitstop at one of the cafes or pubs for a refreshing drink or a bite to eat.
As you continue your walk, make your way to the Garrison Walls, a historic site that offers stunning panoramic views of the island and the surrounding turquoise sea. Explore the ancient fortifications and learn about the island’s fascinating history. Afterward, head to Porthcressa Beach, a beautiful sandy stretch perfect for a leisurely stroll or a dip in the crystal clear waters.
In the afternoon, take a boat trip to the neighboring uninhabited island of Samson. This peaceful and secluded island is a nature lover’s paradise, with its untouched landscapes, rugged cliffs, and abundant wildlife. Explore the island’s walking trails and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden gem.
In the evening, return to St. Mary’s and savor a delicious seafood dinner at one of the island’s renowned restaurants. Indulge in freshly caught fish, succulent lobster, or mouthwatering crab, all sourced from the surrounding waters. Pair your meal with a locally brewed beer or cider for a truly authentic experience.
After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the beach, letting the gentle waves and the cool sea breeze wash away the stresses of everyday life. Take a moment to appreciate the starlit sky, as the Isles of Scilly are known for their lack of light pollution, providing a breathtaking backdrop for stargazing.
As your first day on the Isles of Scilly comes to a close, relish the serenity of the island and get a good night’s rest, ready for an exciting adventure-filled week ahead.
Day 2: Exploring St. Mary’s Island
Get ready for a day of discovery as you delve deeper into the wonders of St. Mary’s Island. After a hearty breakfast, head out to explore the island’s natural beauty and historical landmarks.
Start your day with a visit to the iconic St. Mary’s Old Town Church, located on a hill overlooking the island. Admire the architecture and step inside to appreciate the tranquility and spiritual atmosphere of this historic place of worship.
Next, make your way to the Telegraph Tower, an impressive granite structure that served as a communication hub in the 19th century. Climb to the top for breathtaking vistas of the surrounding islands and take in the panoramic views.
Continue your adventure by exploring the charming coastal paths of St. Mary’s. With over 30 miles of trails, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to lose yourself in the island’s natural beauty. Wander along sandy beaches, traverse rocky cliffs, and pass by picturesque fields dotted with wildflowers. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, including seals, seabirds, and even the occasional dolphin.
For lunch, head to one of the island’s cozy cafes or pubs and indulge in traditional Cornish dishes. From hearty pasties to fresh seafood platters, you’ll find a delectable array of options to satisfy your hunger.
In the afternoon, take a boat trip to the nearby islands of St. Agnes and Gugh. These two islands are connected by a sandbar known as the “Gugh Bar,” offering a unique opportunity to walk between them during low tide. Explore the sandy beaches, tidal pools, and rocky outcrops of St. Agnes, and enjoy the tranquility of this unspoiled paradise.
End your day with a visit to the Isles of Scilly Museum, located in Hugh Town. Learn about the rich history and fascinating heritage of the islands through exhibits showcasing archaeological finds, maritime artifacts, and the stories of the island’s inhabitants past and present.
As the sun sets over St. Mary’s Island, savor a delicious dinner at one of the island’s many restaurants. Indulge in locally sourced produce, including fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables, all expertly prepared by talented chefs. Raise a glass to a day filled with exploration, adventure, and the beauty of St. Mary’s Island.
After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the beach, enjoying the gentle lapping of the waves and the peacefulness of the island at night. Reflect on the wonders you’ve experienced and prepare for another incredible day in the Isles of Scilly.
Day 3: Island Hopping to Tresco
Today, prepare to embark on an unforgettable adventure as you hop over to the beautiful island of Tresco. After breakfast, make your way to the St. Mary’s Harbour and catch a boat to Tresco, which is just a short journey away.
Upon arrival, you will immediately be captivated by the island’s natural beauty and serene atmosphere. Tresco is renowned for its stunning gardens, pristine beaches, and rich biodiversity. Begin your exploration by immersing yourself in the world-famous Tresco Abbey Gardens.
Take your time strolling through the meticulously curated gardens, which feature an impressive collection of subtropical plants from around the world. Admire vibrant flower displays, explore winding paths, and discover hidden nooks and crannies that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
After your garden adventure, head to one of Tresco’s picturesque beaches for some relaxation under the sun. Choose from idyllic spots such as Appletree Bay, Pentle Bay, or the white sands of Old Grimsby. Bask in the tranquility, take a dip in the crystal clear waters, or simply lay back and enjoy a good book while soaking up the island vibes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a bicycle or a kayak and explore the island at your own pace. Navigate the scenic coastal paths, visit historical sites such as Cromwell’s Castle and King Charles’s Castle, or paddle along the shoreline uncovering secret coves and secluded beaches.
For lunch, indulge in a delicious meal at one of the island’s restaurants or cafes. Sample fresh seafood dishes, savor hearty local cuisine, or opt for a light picnic with locally sourced ingredients in one of Tresco’s picnic areas.
In the afternoon, take a boat trip to the uninhabited neighboring island of St. Helen’s. This small, picturesque island offers opportunities to spot seals and seabirds and explore its rugged coastline. Take a peaceful stroll along the beach or simply relax and enjoy the tranquility of this untouched paradise.
As the day draws to a close, make your way back to Tresco for a memorable dinner. Choose from a variety of dining options, whether it’s a waterfront restaurant with stunning sea views or a cozy pub serving up hearty dishes. Relish the flavors of the island and reflect on the beauty you have experienced throughout the day.
Before you retire for the night, take a moment to walk along the beach under the starry sky, cherishing the peacefulness of the island. Recall the memories you’ve made on Tresco and look forward to the adventures that await you in the days to come.
Day 4: Discovering Bryher Island
Today, get ready to explore the hidden gem of Bryher Island. After breakfast, catch a boat from St. Mary’s to Bryher, a small and charming island known for its rugged beauty and tranquility.
Upon arriving, take a moment to soak in the serenity that Bryher offers. With its unspoiled landscapes, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters, this island is a paradise for nature lovers. Start your exploration by heading to Hell Bay, Bryher’s most famous and breathtaking beach. Take a leisurely stroll along the golden sands, dip your toes in the refreshing waters, and enjoy the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Afterward, venture out on the coastal path that encircles the island. As you walk, you’ll be treated to dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe. Keep an eye out for the diverse birdlife that calls Bryher home, including oystercatchers, gannets, and puffins.
For lunch, visit one of the island’s charming cafes or take advantage of the picnic spots available. Enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the picturesque surroundings. Don’t forget to try some local delicacies, such as Bryher crab or lobster, for a true taste of the island.
In the afternoon, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore Bryher’s coastline from the water. Navigate through pristine waters, admire the rocky shores, and perhaps even get a glimpse of some seals basking on the rocks. Alternatively, join a boat trip that takes you on a tour around the neighboring islands, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the archipelago from a different perspective.
As the day winds down, make your way to Fraggle Rock Bar, a popular spot on Bryher for a refreshing drink and a stunning sunset view. Relax, unwind, and watch as the sky turns vibrant hues of orange and pink, casting a magical glow over the island.
For dinner, indulge in a meal at one of Bryher’s restaurants, which offer a variety of cuisines, including fresh seafood, international dishes, and traditional favorites. Sit back, savor the flavors, and reflect on the beauty and tranquility of Bryher Island.
Before retiring for the night, take a gentle stroll along the beach, letting the sound of the waves lull you into a state of relaxation. Marvel at the starry sky, and feel the peace and harmony that can only be found on this idyllic island. Rest well, knowing that more adventures await you in the days to come.
Day 5: Visiting St. Martin’s Island
On Day 5, prepare to explore the picturesque island of St. Martin’s, a true gem in the Isles of Scilly. After breakfast, catch a boat from St. Mary’s and embark on a short journey to this idyllic island.
St. Martin’s is known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and untouched landscapes. Start your day by taking a leisurely walk along the sandy shores of Great Bay, where you can feel the soft sand between your toes and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters or simply relax and soak up the sun’s rays.
Next, venture inland to explore the island’s rolling hills and flower-filled meadows. Follow the island’s footpaths that lead you through fields adorned with vibrant wildflowers and offer panoramic views of the surrounding islands. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the island’s rugged cliffs and captivating coastal scenery.
For lunch, visit one of the island’s quaint cafes or tearooms, where you can indulge in delicious homemade treats and locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy a leisurely meal while embracing the laid-back atmosphere of the island.
In the afternoon, discover St. Martin’s hidden treasures by hopping on a boat tour around the island. Sail along the coastline, exploring its numerous coves and inlets, and perhaps even catching glimpses of seals and dolphins playing in the water. Visit the Eastern Isles, a collection of small uninhabited islands renowned for their abundant birdlife and stunning natural beauty.
After your boat tour, make your way to the Daymark, a landmark tower that stands proudly on St. Martin’s highest point. Climb to the top for panoramic vistas of the island and its surrounding seascape. Take a moment to appreciate the unspoiled beauty of this special place.
As the sun begins to set, head to St. Martin’s famous Polreath Beach. With its golden sands, clear waters, and dramatic cliffs, this beach exemplifies the natural beauty of the Isles of Scilly. Find a comfortable spot to sit, admire the stunning sunset, and reflect on the memories you’ve made on your island adventure.
For dinner, choose from a variety of dining options on St. Martin’s. Enjoy freshly caught seafood, savor locally sourced produce, or opt for a traditional pub meal. Whatever your preference, savor the flavors of the island in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
After dinner, take a quiet stroll along the beach, listening to the soothing sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Gaze up at the star-filled sky, appreciating the tranquility and simplicity of island life. Rest well, knowing that more island adventures await you in the days ahead.
Day 6: Exploring the Lesser-known Islands
On Day 6, get ready to uncover the hidden treasures of the Isles of Scilly as you explore the lesser-known islands. After breakfast, set off on a boat adventure to discover the unique charm and natural beauty of these secluded gems.
Start your day by visiting the island of St. Agnes, located to the southwest of St. Mary’s. This tranquil island offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustle of everyday life. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores, explore the rocky coastline, and marvel at the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t forget to visit the charming St. Agnes’ Church, the most westerly in the British Isles, which has become a symbol of the island’s close-knit community.
Next, venture to the island of St. Martin’s, known for its pristine beaches and untouched landscapes. Discover the idyllic stretches of sand, such as Great Bay and Par Beach, where you can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the tranquility of these quiet havens. Take in the panoramic views of the surrounding islands and appreciate the unspoiled beauty that St. Martin’s has to offer.
Continue your island-hopping adventure by visiting the enchanting island of St. Mary’s. Explore the lesser-known areas of this main island, venturing beyond the bustling Hugh Town. Discover hidden coves, secluded beaches, and breathtaking viewpoints that offer uninterrupted views of the azure sea.
For lunch, enjoy a picnic on one of the lesser-known islands or treat yourself to a delicious meal at a local cafe or pub. Indulge in fresh seafood, sample local delicacies, and embrace the laid-back vibe of island life.
In the afternoon, explore the smaller uninhabited islands, such as Tresco’s uninhabited eastern islets or the rugged beauty of the Western Rocks. Take a boat tour around these islands, marveling at their unique rock formations, diverse birdlife, and the sense of solitude they offer.
As the day comes to a close, find a peaceful spot on one of the lesser-known islands to witness a stunning sunset. Breathe in the salty sea air, listen to the calming sound of the waves, and watch as the sky transforms into a vibrant display of colors. Reflect on the beauty and serenity of these hidden jewels and cherish the memories you’ve created throughout your island exploration.
For dinner, savor a meal at one of the island’s cozy restaurants, enjoying delicious food made from locally sourced ingredients. Toast to a day filled with discovery and relaxation, soaking in the rustic charm of the lesser-known islands.
After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the beach, enjoying the peacefulness that comes with being surrounded by nature. Take time to reflect on the unique experiences you’ve had and the wonders you’ve witnessed on these less-explored islands. Rest well, knowing that tomorrow holds more surprises and adventures in store for you on the Isles of Scilly.
Day 7: Farewell to the Isles of Scilly
As your time on the Isles of Scilly comes to an end, make the most of your last day on this enchanting archipelago. After breakfast, take a moment to soak up the beauty of your surroundings and reflect on the memories you have made throughout the week.
If you haven’t already, dedicate some time to explore the charming streets of Hugh Town on St. Mary’s island. Wander through the picturesque lanes, browse the local shops for souvenirs, or indulge in a final coffee at one of the island’s inviting cafes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a final island-hop to one of the lesser-explored islands that you may have missed during your stay. Whether it’s the rugged charm of Bryher, the tranquil beauty of Tresco, or the idyllic shores of St. Martin’s, take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of each island.
Spend some time on one of the pristine beaches, taking in the breathtaking views and basking in the tranquility of the Isles of Scilly. Whether you choose to feel the sand between your toes, paddle in the azure waters, or stretch out on a picnic blanket, relish in the peace and serenity that these shores offer.
Before bidding farewell to the Isles of Scilly, enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the island’s delightful eateries. Sample local favorites, such as a traditional Cornish pasty or a freshly caught seafood dish, savoring the flavors and embracing the true essence of island cuisine.
As you prepare to depart, take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of the landscape one last time. Capture a final photograph, breathe in the fresh sea air, and let the tranquility of the Isles of Scilly leave a lasting impression on your heart.
Say goodbye to the gentle rhythm of island life as you board your boat or plane back to the mainland. Reflect on the incredible experiences you’ve had and the memories you’ve created during your time on the Isles of Scilly.
As you bid farewell to this breathtaking archipelago, carry the spirit of the islands with you. Remember the pristine beaches, the crystal-clear waters, and the endless exploration that awaits you on your next adventure. The Isles of Scilly will always be a cherished memory, a place of serenity and beauty that you can return to in your dreams.