Visit the Isles of Scilly off the tip of the Cornish Coast

PUBLISHED: 12:26 26 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:09 20 February 2013

Tresco Gardens

Tresco Gardens

Lying 30 miles off the tip of the Cornish Coast, the Isles of Scilly is an island paradise providing stunning white sand beaches, azure waters and a wonderful climate where sub-tropical plants thrive in a truly unique environment.

A VISIT TO THE ISLES OF SCILLY IS AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE



It's always reassuring to be able to promote a destination that has high customer satisfaction levels.



But when 94% of visitors* to a destination say they are going to return drawn back by the beauty, tranquility and natural environment, that takes reassurance to a new level and should point you in the direction of the Isles of Scilly.



Lying 30 miles off the tip of the Cornish Coast, the Isles of Scilly is an island paradise providing stunning white sand beaches, azure waters and a wonderful climate where sub-tropical plants thrive in a truly unique environment.



With five inhabited Islands (St Mary's, Tresco, St Martins, St Agnes and Bryher) and hundreds of uninhabited islands waiting to be discovered and a range of holiday accommodation from luxury hotels to self-catering cottages and camp sites to suit all tastes and budgets, the Isles of Scilly is a stunning destination.



More recently, the Islands have become a destination for celebrities such as David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Jude Law.



Activities on the Isles of Scilly tend to revolve around the great outdoors. Typical of the experiences that can be enjoyed this season include:



Become Robinson Crusoe for the Day - Explore one of the many uninhabited Island for the day such as St Helens or Tean by arranging for one of the Isles of Scilly Boatmen to drop them off and pick them up at an agreed time. Contact any boatmen, St. Agnes boating on 422704, Bryher Boats 422886, St. Mary's 423999, St. Martins 422814. (All Jet boats have ladders down to the beach for access at most tidal states).





Swim with the fish! - Take a guided snorkeling trip from the beach normally from Little bay or Old Quay on the Island of St. Martin's, the perfect expedition for younger or more inexperienced snorkellers due to the clarity of the water. These trips give people the opportunity to see fantastic sea life up close including two spot and sand gobies, pipe fish, prawns, shore crabs, wrasse, and the occasional jellyfish! And if they are really lucky baby plaice!


The snorkeling trips are a partnership between the IOS Wildlife Trust and St. Martin's Diving School. Contact IOS Wildlife Trust 422153 http://www.ios-wildlifetrust.org.uk/ or Anna Cawthray at St. Martin's Dive School http://www.scillydiving.com/



A Sharks Tale! - The Shark fishing season begins the first week of July, when the sea temp is 16c and ends at the end of August/beginning of September. Shark fishing normally takes place to the South West of the islands off the Bishop Rock Lighthouse on wrecks and reefs, where visitors can experience the thrill of catching a Blue Shark or rarer Porbeagle shark, varying between 30 pounds to 120 pounds in weight.



When sharks are caught there is a tag and release system in place assisting with conservation programmes. This information is sent to the national oceanography centre. The skippers supply the Rods, and all fishing gear and the trips last around 5 hours. They are weather dependent and best booked when on the Islands. Evening fishing trips are also available with all boatmen, including Joe Pender and Alec Hicks on St. Mary's- 01720 422751 or 01720 423999.



Hunt for beads at Beady Pool, St. Agnes - Spend a morning sifting through sand for tiny terracotta and glass beads from a 17th century shipwreck that foundered on the Islands whilst en-route from Amsterdam to Lisbon. While doing so the shrimps are attracted to the heat radiated from your feet so they dance on your toes. Shrimping season begins at the start of July and finishes at the end of September. The best time to go shrimping is on a low tide.




Wash it all down with a Brandy and Hot Chocolate at the Turks head, the most southwesterly pub in the UK, with views out over St. Mary's sound (channel of water) the Garrison, Samson Bryher and Tresco. Get to St. Agnes by boat St. Mary's boatmen's Association www.scillyboating.co.uk or by any of the boatmen. St. Agnes boating on 01720 422704, Bryher Boats 422886, St. Mary's 423999, St. Martins 422814.



Visit the Tresco Abbey Gardens - The Abbey Garden is a glorious exception - a perennial Kew without the glass - shrugging off salt spray and Atlantic Gales to host 20,000 exotic plants



Many would stand no chance on the Cornish mainland, less than 30 miles away. Yet even at the winter equinox more than 300 plants will be in flower. All in all, the garden is home to species from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa.



The diversity is greater even than the Southern Mediterranean. Fringing the lush grid of paths criss-crossing the gardens are cacti, date-palms and giant, lipstick-red flame trees; rarities like Lobster Claw; great white spires of Echia; brilliant Furcraea, Strelitzia and shocking-pink drifts of Pelargonium.



Statues symbolic of natural forces punctuate the gardens. The shipwrecked figureheads in Valhalla museum remind you of the storms they have survived. Fittingly, the layout begins with the original plantings around the Priory and ends with the new, terraced Mediterranean Garden, a horticultural world tour condensed into just 17 acres.



The Abbey Gardens can be contacted on 01720 424108.



Getting to the Isles of Scilly is simpler than many people think, with direct daily flights (Except Sundays) to the Islands by fixed wing plane (Isles of Scilly Skybus - 0845 710 5555) from Southampton, Bristol, Exeter, Newquay and Lands End, by Helicopter (British International Helicopters - 01736 363 781) from Penzance and by the Scillonian passenger ferry (Isles of Scilly Steamship Company - 0845 710 5555).



To find out more visit www.simplyscilly.co.uk or call 01720 422536.

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