It doesn’t get closer to a paradise island in England than on Tresco. Fringed with palms and private beaches and filled with gardens, spas and long lunches. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, who needs the Caribbean when the Scillies exist?
After our morning of campfire breakfast and walking on Bryher, we hopped on a boat for the short journey across the channel to Tresco. Our first stop on the island, thanks to a lift on the back of a trailer, was the famous Abbey Garden.
Abbey Gardens are an exceptional surprise in Great Britain and are in bloom year round, thanks to the island being a balmy 2C warmer than the mainland at any one time.
The sub-tropical Abbey Garden is a glorious exception – a perennial Kew without the glass – shrugging off salt spray and Atlantic gales to host thousands of exotic plants. – tresco.co.uk
The garden is home to plant species from over 80 different countries, from New Zealand to Brazil, that thrive here in balmy sunshine and salty air. The gardens are a lush and flourishing Garden of Eden amid the rough seas and bracken-covered moorland that dot the Atlantic.
Amid the tropics there are chickens and red squirrels, allotments which provide the whole island with fresh veg and herbs, bucketloads of history of swashbuckling pirates and the infamous Valhalla Museum.
Many ships have wrecked off the coast of Scilly over the years, and the Valhalla collection has been built up over these years from these shipwrecks. There are over 30 figureheads which represent the last 100 years in a 3,000 year old tradition of collecting loot from ships and information and stories are available on plaques next to the head. A highlight for both children and adults visiting Abbey Gardens.
After wandering the garden, we embarked on a trek around the coast where we climbed up castle ruins and across windswept hills for dinner and a bottle of wine at The Ruin. Here, the wood-fired pizza oven is the heart and soul of the restaurant, which warmed our autumn-chilled hands and cooked up our perfect and delicious pizzas.
If you go, the scallop starter is out of this world, chilli-chicken pizza exceptionally hot (but so so tasty) and the baked fig dessert I found myself wishing I had 10 more of, even though I couldn’t fit another morsel in my belly.
How to get there
- Fly to St Mary’s with Skybus, like we did, year round from Newquay or Land’s End Airports, and from Exeter Airport between March and October. Prices begin at £140 return from Land’s End.
- In the high season, from spring to late autumn, you can sail by The Scillonian III between Penzance and St Mary’s, up to 7 days a week weather depending. Prices start at £90pp return.
- You’ll need to hop on a boat from St Mary’s to Tresco on your arrival. Times are not decided until the day before, so please remember to coordinate with your accommodation on the island regarding this. Single journey is £5.50pp with Tresco Boats, however they will likely charge return on the outgoing trip as you will have to return to St Mary’s at some point anyway!
Book on the Isles of Scilly Travel website, or call 01736 334220.
Want more info? Head on over to Visit Isles of Scilly for more information on events, accommodation ideas and news.