10 reasons why the Isles of Scilly is Britain's best spot for a holiday

Roshina Jowaheer
Photo credit: Visit Isles of Scilly

From Country Living

Isles of Scilly holidays afford long days on Caribbean-like beaches, discovering the best of Britain's wildlife, strolling through exotic gardens and so much more.

Once you've seen the pictures of its glorious sands and breathtaking nature, you'll wonder why you haven't taken the time to visit the Isles of Scilly before.

Sitting just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall, this magical archipelago is made up of 140 isles, with only five inhabited: St Mary's, Tresco, St Martin's, Bryher and St Agnes.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned

If you like your getaways with sparkling turquoise waters, a laidback island vibe and natural beauty all around, there's no need to hop on a plane to the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean as we have the outstanding Isles of Scilly right here.

While we wait for the government to tell us when it's safe to travel again (here's the latest information on staycations), we think it's the perfect time to dream about Isles of Scilly holidays and take a look at why it should be on your radar for a post-lockdown escape in the UK - because who needs the hassle of getting on a plane?

It's also the location of Country Living's exclusive 2021 island hopping holiday, with Scilly's top guide Will Wagstaff, who will take you to the islands' best wildlife (Atlantic grey seals and puffins included!), lead you on coastal walks and tell you all the secrets of Tresco's famous garden.

Isles of Scilly holidays: 10 things you must experience

From the mild climate to the sustainable food, here are 10 reasons why Isles of Scilly holidays are a post-pandemic must-do.

1. The botanical garden of dreams

Whether you're an avid lover of Britain's gardens or not, you're guaranteed to fall in love with the impressive Tresco Abbey Garden. This botanical paradise was planted among the ruins of a Benedictine priory.

Photo credit: Visit Isles of Scilly

You'll find a huge 20,000 plant species, which have been collected as far as New Zealand, South Africa and South America. It's also home to the Valhalla Museum, a collection of figureheads gathered from shipwrecks around the islands. As if this wasn't enough, it's also a great place to spot rare red squirrels.

TRESCO ABBEY GARDEN WITH WILL WAGSTAFF

2. The clear dark skies

Stargazing on holiday in the Isles of Scilly is a real treat. It's where you'll find some of the clearest skies in the UK, providing you with astronomical 'wow' moments. The Community Observatory on St Martin's is home to two observation domes - one with a 14-inch telescope for deep sky viewing.

Photo credit: Bruce Frank

You can gaze upon Saturn and Jupiter with their surrounding moons, peer through a solar scope at Mercury and marvel at the vastness of the universe all from this tiny Scilly isle.

3. The tasty and sustainable flavours

Like to eat local? Of course you do! Isles of Scilly holidays mean feasting on the freshest and most local of local produce! There are local farmers and fishermen around every corner, with fudge makers, bakers, brewers and winemakers part of the foodie mix on the islands.

Hillside Farm on Bryher is an organic farm that grows fruit and veg alongside its Devon cattle for grass-fed and low environment impact beef. Then there's family-run Veronica Farm, also on Bryher, which uses local ingredients like St Agnes milk and clotted cream to produce delicious, buttery vanilla fudge that's made by band in the farm kitchen.

4. The mildest climate in the UK

The Isles of Scilly is lucky to have the mildest climate in the UK, making it the best place to make the most of the great outdoors, especially if you're looking to hit the beaches. There's a small variation between night and day temperatures, with an average of 19C in the summer months and 14C in spring.

Isles of Scilly holidays in spring are also especially a treat as the islands enjoy an early start to the season, when you can see the flowers in bloom before many other parts of the UK. The islands are also known as the 'sunshine isles' as they benefit from more hours of sunshine compared to most other areas in Britain.

5. The postcard-perfect beaches

Whether you're in St Martin's or Tresco, the Isles of Scilly have been blessed with some of the most beautiful sands in the world, making a trip to the beach an absolute must-do. You can bathe or kayak the crystal-clear waters, take in the beauty of the coast by walking along a trail or soak it all up from a beach bar or cafe.

Photo credit: Mary Cox/Visit Isles of Scilly

Some of our favourite Isles of Scilly beaches include Rushy Bay on Bryher, Tresco's Appletree Bay and St Mary's Porthmellon Beach.

6. The royal connections

We know the royals have access to some of the most exclusive destinations in the world but we love it when they appreciate a UK beauty spot too. According to one Scillonian, Prince William enjoyed trips to Scilly with his parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana when he was younger.

Photo credit: Alex Huckle - Getty Images

During a visit to the Isles of Scilly a few years ago, William, along with wife Kate Middleton, greeted 89-year-old Gladys Perkins. She said: "I said to William, 'you haven't been here for a good while' and he said 'no.' I said the 'last time you were here with your brother you were only so high'." Gladys explained that the royals spent their time on Tresco and were "left alone" to enjoy their holiday.

7. The thriving wildlife

There are a few places where you can experience incredible wildlife in the UK, such as the Hebrides, the Causeway Coast and the Cairngorms - and the Isles of Scilly is another paradise for nature lovers.

Photo credit: Visit Isles of Scilly

Atlantic grey seals can be seen on boat trips around the uninhabited Eastern Isles. There's also an array of seabirds to spot on special boat trips that take you to witness the likes of puffins, little egrets and shags. The Scilly shrew is one of the unique wildlife species only found on the Isles of Scilly.

SEE WILDLIFE WITH WILL WAGSTAFF

8. The laidback lifestyle

Island holidays are a great way to relax into a slower way of life and the Isles of Scilly are no different when it comes to offering their visitors a laidback break. You can expect a chilled-out vibe, where you'll really feel rested and recharged from just a few days of breathing the fresh air and being at one with nature.

Of course, there are various ways to sample the islands' slow pace while you make the most of some of the best things in life. On St Mary's' Porthmellon Beach, you'll want to try cocktails and seafood at restaurant The Beach, while Holy Vale Vineyard is the place for tasting English wines with lobster.

9. The walking opportunities

Whether you're into energetic hikes or sunrise strolls, walking is the best way to see the Isles of Scilly. Its unspoilt and peaceful scenery can be seen from coastal paths and nature trails year round - just pull on your walking shoes and start discovering the flora and fauna of the islands.

Getting around with a guide is another good way to learn about the islands' treasures as you pass them. Scilly's top guide Will Wagstaff rates St Mary's for walking and says: "The southern coastline of St. Mary’s in spring is superb for swallows; in autumn I head for the sheltered nature trails."

WALK WITH WILL IN 2021

10. The boating

Snorkelling, paddle boarding and diving wrecks are adventurous ways to experience the turquoise waters but when in Scilly you must explore the islands by boat too. With dozens of uninhabited isles, boat trips are a wonderful way to go beyond the five main islands.

Taking to the water on a boat allows you to visit many rocks and isles, where you can look out for sea and shore birds including puffins. You're also likely to see various seabirds nesting and roosting. Wildlife aside, landing on the likes of St Martin's by boat makes for an unforgettable arrival when you're greeted by its powder-soft sands...

Country Living has an exclusive Isles of Scilly island hopping tour with Will Wagstaff in May 2021. Like all of our holidays it's financially-protected, so you're fully covered. FIND OUT MORE

Want to know more about the Isles of Scilly? Check out visitislesofscilly.com


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