The Isles of Scilly.

A place with white sand beaches, azure waters, great wildlife, sub-tropical plants, old castles and many historic shipwrecks. And just of the coast of England. Intrigued?

The Isles of Scilly are a group of islands of great contrast. From white sandy beaches and bright flowers, to granite rock and harsh heathland.  They consist of five inhabited islands- the main island St Marys, then Tresco, St Agnes, Bryher and St Martins. With a population of 2,200 friendly locals.

The Islands are great for walking, being not to large, with many trails. Getting between the islands to explore is easy, with many open top passenger boats, running many times a day, during the peak summer months.

Passenger boat Isles of Scilly

Passenger boat taking people between islands

There is a lot of history here. With ancient burial chambers scattered around, and some impressive structures to explore. On St Marys there is the Garrison fortress to walk around. With some old cannons still there, its easy to lose yourself back in time. And on Tresco there is Cromwell’s Castle, blending into the moody rock landscape perfectly.

Cromwells Castle, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Cromwell’s Castle

Being a group of islands, there is a big maritime history. There have been many famous shipwrecks on the infamous rocks surrounding the Islands. The most famous being when Sir Cloudesley Shovells ship the Association, and several others from the fleet, wrecked here in 1707. In the 1960’s divers discovered the Association and brought up more than 2000 coins. For divers its a paradise, not for the turquoise seas, but for the abundance of wrecks to explore!

Western rocks, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

The western rocks, where many a ship has perished

Having a sub-tropical climate, the winters are generally mild. This allows for sub-tropical plants to grow, and at the Abbey Gardens on Tresco  there is a great amount to see. It is a peaceful place to visit, and you could easily pass a few hours relaxing here.

Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly

Tresco Abbey Gardens

As well as diving you can go kayaking, sailing, horse-riding, camping, cycling, wildlife watching, fishing, etc. Some passenger boats in the summer, if the weather is good, do trips to the Bishop lighthouse and western rocks. If you count chilling on the beach, and having a few pints of local brew down the pubs as activities… then there is definitely a lot of that to!  Also some great food to be had, especially the fresh Scilly crab. And of course some good ice cream 🙂

Canon at the garrison, Isles of Scilly

Cannon at the Garrison, St Marys

To get here you can fly from the mainland or take the  ferry. You can find fares and timetables here. Best time to visit is june-september. If travelling on a budget you will find campgrounds to stay at on the islands, and a supermarket, which can help save money. Or if you want to spend a bit, there are plenty of guesthouses or apartment rentals available. When you get over the expense of the transport getting there, its really worth coming. And its a bit of the beaten path, as far as backpackers go.

Beautiful Isles of Scilly.

Sunset, Isles of Scilly

Sunset, Isles of Scilly

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Jonny Duncan is a travel blogger and freelance photographer. He specialises in adventure and budget travel with over 20 years of experience. He started blogging in 2013 to give advice for other travellers. He has lived in Japan, Amsterdam, Kiev, and more.

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