Where is the secret UK staycation spot where William and Kate took the family this summer?

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ISLES OF SCILLY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge travel by boat to St Martins, after visiting Tresco Abbey Garden on September 2, 2016 in Isles Of Scilly, England.  (Photo by Peter Nicholls - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
William and Kate head to St Martins, after visiting the Abbey Gardens on Tresco, on a previous trip. (Getty Images)

Royal holidays tend to involve either stag-stalking in the wilds of Scotland with high tea at chilly Balmoral afterwards, or enormous trips to Africa featuring lengthy safaris and myriad clothing options. 

Generally, private British staycations have not been a traditionally royal style of trip. But the Cambridges are determined to raise their children their way, and ditch holiday protocol in favour of making memories - whether it's Kate's sweet instagram picture of Princess Charlotte reverently cradling a red admiral butterfly, or Prince George cycling confidently along by the sea with his Dad. 

Watch: Prince William and Kate Middleton Just Took Their Family on a Vacation to One of Their Fav

Rather than hide away in one of Granny's many holiday homes, this summer, the Cambridges have already taken their vacay in the most ordinary way - by staycationing for a week on the Isles of Scilly.

After visiting Tresco last year, Kate and William were obviously charmed enough to book a return visit - and their end-of-July holiday saw them having old-school British fun, whilst staying very much under the radar on the beautiful, unspoilt archipelago where according to its tourism website, everything 'looks and feels quite different ...simpler, kinder, more innocent.' 

It's certainly more peaceful than Rock, the fashionable Cornish surf town where William and Harry spent teenage holidays with friends. 

COWES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Princess Charlotte and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the presentation following the King's Cup Regatta on August 08, 2019 in Cowes, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Princess Charlotte may now enjoy sailing more than she used to... (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

So what's the appeal of the Isles of Scilly - and what might the royals have got up to there? 

The Duchy of Cornwall - overseen by the Duke of Cornwall, AKA Prince Charles - owns most of the land of these islands off the coast of Cornwall, so it's unlikely many places were inaccessible to the Cambridges.

TRESCO, ISLES OF SCILLY, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: New Grimsby, Tresco, Isles Of Scilly on April 8, 2021. (Photo by Chris Gorman/Getty Images)
Tresco is the perfect getaway. (Getty Images)

Read more: Back to nature: The UK's best natural landscapes have been decided

Low tides also allow visitors to walk between some of the islands, and there are even pop-up festivals on the exposed sand in summer. 

As it's so far South, the islands also enjoy a temperate climate which borders on 'humid, subtropical', meaning the temperature never dips below freezing.

Most visitors stay on the largest islands, St Mary's, or Tresco, which has plenty of accommodation options, while smaller islands Bryher and St Martin's are less overrun with tourists, and may have appealed to the private royals.

Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England.
The Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s is flying the flag... does that mean they're in? (Getty Images)

The 35 beaches across the islands are pure white sand, lapped by Caribbean- blue sea perfect for paddling - Pentle Bay, resco, has been named Britain's most beautiful beach in several surveys. Par Beach, where boats land, is a dog-friendly stretch of sand, and shallow Apple Tree Bay, on Tresco, is perfect for swimming and snorkelling - the ideal place for three year old Prince Louis to spread his water-wings. 

Beautiful Pentle Bay - might it inspire another painting from Kate? (Getty Images)
Beautiful Pentle Bay - might it inspire another painting from Kate? (Getty Images)

Porthcressa Beach on St Mary's is family-friendly and close to restaurants and cafes, while if William was feeling adventurous, he may have taken the family out sailing, to spot the seals that bob around the sheltered bays. 

St Agnes Watersports Centre near Periglis Cove is the place to paddleboard and St Martin’s Watersports at Par Beach offers kayaks and seal-swims. 

Meanwhile Kate, a keen gardener, will have thoroughly enjoyed the subtropical gardens that flourish on the island, including Tresco Abbey Gardens which grows over 20,000 plants and has a Viking Valhalla Museum with figureheads and carvings to admire. 

Tropical vegetation in the Abbey gardens on Tresco, one of the Scilly Isles, off South West Cornwall, UK.
Tropical vegetation in the Abbey gardens on Tresco, one of the Scilly Isles, off South West Cornwall, UK.

Read more: Discover the Isles of Scilly with nature expert Will Wagstaff

Harry and William holidayed on Tresco back in 1989, so the family may have visited a few of Dad's old haunts, too - and after being spotted cycling in Tresco last summer, it's highly likely the family will have headed out on two wheels once more (or perhaps three, in Louis' case.)

group of atlantic grey seals in scilly isles
group of atlantic grey seals in scilly isles

Each island is home to several artists' galleries, which will have pleased Kate, who studied History of Art at St Andrew's where she met William- and is also a competent landscape painter herself. 

We hope they stopped for an ice cream - perhaps at Troytown Farm, which offers 30 different flavours of ice cream. Enough for any royal palate. 

Watch: Experts urge vessels in Cornwall not to approach wandering walrus

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