A trip to the Isles of Scilly makes a great day out for those who are enjoying a holiday in Cornwall. Situated about 45km (28 miles) from Penzance, the journey is part of the adventure!
Getting to Tresco
From Penzance heliport, the journey over the Cornish coastline to Land's End and across the blue waters to Tresco takes about 20 minutes in a Sikorsky helicopter. Alternatively, take the passenger ferry Scillonian III and sail past some of Cornwall's best-known landmarks – the Minack Theatre, Wolf Rock and the harbour at Mousehole.
The tiny traffic-free island of Tresco is just the right size to exhaust in a day. Just 3Â½ km long and 1Â¾ km wide, with a population of 150, it is the second largest of the five semi-tropical islands which make up the Scillies. The scenery is quite breathtaking with rugged granite outcrops, small sandy beaches and charming cottages along with the obligatory post office, church and hotel. The unspoilt natural scenery is what draws people to return time after time to holiday in Cornwall and visit the Isles of Scilly.
Things to do on Tresco
Surrounded by seas which are warmed by the Gulf Stream, Tresco has its own microclimate with mild winters and warm showery summers which are the perfect conditions for the Abbey Gardens, Tresco's main attraction. Set on terraces the colourful plantings, sub-tropical palms and exotic flora flourish amidst the ruins of the former abbey, making it a delight for gardeners, photographers and artists. The gardens are like an exotic Kew without the glass and the profusion of rare plants tumble down the south facing slopes.
Close by is another unique attraction ‐ the Valhalla Ships' Figurehead Collection. For those who enjoy seeing old ship's figureheads in gardens and on cottages during your stay in Cornwall, this remarkable collection is in an open-air museum. Each of the thirty hand-carved figures marks a ship which was lost on the treacherous rocks around the Isles of Scilly. The colourful carvings and the story behind each figurehead is a wonderful way to delve into local sea-faring history.
For lunch take one of the many paths over the springy grass towards the Island Hotel which puts on a fine lunch with great sea views from the terrace, or sit in a pretty garden at one of the local cafés and enjoy homemade scones with Cornish clotted cream or tasty fresh crab sandwiches.
Walk off the lunch with a stroll along the coastal paths to the ruins of the two castles on Tresco, Cromwell's Castle and King Charles Castle, the site of the last battle of the English Civil War. Sharp-eyed visitors may see seals on the rocks and many seabirds overhead. Tresco is a truly magical place to spend a day and has something to please every visitor.