Last updated: 30th Dec 2013
There's something to do all year round on the Isles of Scilly from beautiful fine white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, bird watching opportunities (including puffins which nest on Annet annually), underwater diving, and scenic coastal walking! If you're looking for romantic retreats, you'll find an ample selection of luxury hotels, B&Bs and idyllic self catering cottages across the islands. Most visitors arrive on the Isles of Scilly via a charter flight from Land's End Airport or a boat trip from Penzance harbour.
With so many beautiful beaches on the Isles of Scilly it's easy to find your own secluded spot! The pleasant winds make the islands perfect for bathing and sunbathing. Find beautiful sea shells across the beaches of the Scilly Islands, and a wide choice of activities on land and the water including golf, cycling and walking, luxury spa experiences, horse riding or simply touring magical tropical gardens like Tresco Abbey Gardens.
The crystal clear waters around the Isles of Scilly offer excellent visibility for diving and snorkelling, and other popular water based activities around the islands include fishing, scenic boat trips, gig rowing and windsurfing. See seals and old shipwrecks on diving excursions or head off on a birdwatching or wildlife watching cycle, walk or boat trip. The Scilly Isles are renowned as a stopoff point for migratory birds.
A warm climate results in an abundance of rare and tropical flora and fauna - you'll see plant life from around the world here on the Isles of Scilly, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty featuring a mixed landscape of crystal clear seas flanked by spectacular beach bays with fine white sands and rocky outcrops with perched lighthouses, woodland, farmland and ancient archaeological sites. Coastal paths run around the edge of the largest islands offering spectacular views with highlight viewpoints including the Garrison on St Mary's.
Beach studios and craft centres are plentiful, particularly around St Mary's capital Hugh Town where boat trips to the Scilly Isles alight. A great choice of photography, painting, craft courses and workshops also run through the year. Boat trips hop from one island to another in mere minutes and are popular for day trips, with the St Mary's Boatmen's Association offering a wealth of boat trips between islands as well as themed sunset cruises, wildlife tours around the beautiful eastern and western isles and excursions around Britain's largest lighthouse - a camera is highly recommended!
St Mary's is the largest of the Scilly Isles (two and a half miles across at the widest point), and the island that most visitors arrive at first. The bustling port of Hugh Town, St Mary's is the Scilly Isles' capital and a good base for exploring the other islands, with easy access to beautiful beaches, a range of accommodation, pubs and restaurants and boat trips to other islands.
Explore the Isles of Scilly Museum in St Mary's capital Hugh Town to find out more about the ancient sites across the islands as well as the many shipwrecks and maritime history of the islands. Around 700 shipwrecks sit below the water around the Isles of Scilly! Numerous Romano-British finds are on show, thrown up during a 1962 storm! One of the most precious prehistoric sites on St Mary's, just to the north of Halangy Down golf course. The ancient village here dates back to 2000 BC.