The Islands - Local Area
St. Mary’s is the largest inhabited island in the Isles of Scilly measuring just 2 over miles wide by 2 ½ miles long. There are 9 miles of ‘road’ and the coastal path walk is just short of 11 miles.
Hugh Town is the main shopping area on the islands with numerous shops, cafes, and services based there. This is where the Tourist Information Centre, 2 banks, cash point and post office are located.
All passenger tenders arrive and leave from the Quay in St. Mary’s Harbour which is conveniently positioned just ¼ mile from Hugh Town.
There are numerous galleries, craft studios and artist workshops on St. Mary’s, and ‘roam-alone’ gallery and studio walking leaflets can be picked up for free from the TIC. Alternatively let us arrange an artist and gallery guided walk for you, with plenty of stops at cafes for local produce and a proper cream tea!
Tresco is the second largest inhabited island in the archipelago with a population of approximately 200. It is home to the world famous Tresco Abbey gardens a must see on everyone’s itinerary. The island is privately owned and populated with many mature sub-tropical species which only flourish on the Isles of Scilly
There are two quays on Tresco and transport can be arranged from New Grimsby to the Abbey Garden for the infirm. Tresco also offers bike hire and a superb delicatessen and post office.
First impressions of St. Martin’s last forever as crescents of white gold sand stretch out of the sea to a lush long island. St. Martin’s is the third largest island, closest to the Eastern Isles and is an excellent choice for those looking for a day visit with a difference. The island has an excellent café, pub and luxurious hotel, not to mention general store and post office, bakery, vineyard and flower farm. A few hours on this island complements the Eastern Isles boat trip and is a great way to see Scilly.
St Agnes & Bryher
St. Agnes and Bryher are the smallest of the inhabited islands but certainly make a big impression, stop off at St. Agnes after seeing the puffins on Annet and visit the church at Periglis. Sit down for a delicious cream or look for beads in Beady Pool at Wingletang. St. Agnes is the perfect antidote to modern life.
On Bryher the pace of life is just the same. Take time to walk to Shipman Head Down looking at the superb views across Tresco Channel, visit the old gig shed- now a thriving artist studio feed the pub’s resident goat or walk to Rushy Bay overlooking the uninhabited island of Samson.
The unmistakable twin hills of Samson are subject to countless sunset photographs each year. Samson lies to the north west of St Mary’s and once gave shelter to many families.
The ruins of the oldest Christian building on the islands is on St Helen’s and the remains of St Elidius, a British Bishop and the son of and English king is alleged to be buried on the island.
The rocks and islands of the Western Rocks are famous for being the graveyard of countless shipwrecks through the centuries. Vessels such as Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s flagship HMS Association; the great German transatlantic liner Schiller and the American 7 masted schooner, the Thomas W. Lawson (the largest pure sailing vessel ever built) have all ended tragically amongst these grim rocks, often with huge loss of life. From Annet, the bird sanctuary, to the Bishop Rock Lighthouse, the untamed wildness and the cruel granite outcrops are home to colonies of sea birds and grey Atlantic seals.
The Eastern Isles near St Martin’s have more grassy cover than the other uninhabited islands and important discoveries of habitation from around AD69 have been found on Nomour and may be seen in the museum on St Mary’s. Sea birds and seals live there in great numbers and may be seen at close quarters when cruising around here.