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A day of magical moments on the breath-taking Isles of Scilly

A day of magical moments on the breath-taking Isles of Scilly

For those dreaming of escaping to a subtropical archipelago for a day, look no further than the Isles of Scilly, a unique cluster of 140 stunning islands residing just 28 miles off the coast of West Cornwall. Wanderlust souls yearning for atmospheric aerial vistas can reach St Mary’s in twenty minutes from Land’s End Airport, followed by a soul-soothing sail back to Penzance on the Scillonian III. Here you can experience Cornwall’s rugged coastline from a breath-taking new angle, spotting quintessential fishing villages and wildlife along the way. Whether you plan to spend the day island hopping or gently strolling the quaint towns and Caribbean-esque coastline, an enchanting adventure awaits… 

Boats at Penzance Harbour

Setting off early on a lovely May morning, we arrived at Penzance harbour, eager for our exciting day trip to the Isles of Scilly. We admired the gentle bobbing of pretty fishing boats before taking a short walk to Penzance railway station to catch our complimentary shuttlebus to Land’s End airport. We jumped inside and buckled our seatbelts for the scenic drive ahead. Our favourite part of the journey was hearing the plans of our fellow passengers – a couple from Wales on a return visit to their beloved holiday destination, and a father and daughter, who were ticking off his bucket list dream to adventure to the tropical gardens of Tresco.

Land's End Airport

We arrived swiftly at Land’s End Airport and made a smooth flight check-in, before grabbing some delicious breakfast pastries to savour by the large glass viewing window, whilst we waited for our flight call. After admiring the take-offs and landings of various planes, it wasn’t long before we headed out to the tarmac to board the Twin Otter. We were soon seated beside a friendly chihuahua named Marge, before jetting off into the sky. It was wonderful to see one of Britain’s most loved landmarks from the air, along with Longships Lighthouse. Soaring gently through a flurry of blue and whites over the glistening Atlantic Ocean, it felt like mere moments before we caught our first glimpse of the collective islands and began our descent towards St Mary’s, where we would be spending our day.

Plane flying over the Scilly Isles

Grabbing our belongings from the conveyer belt, we were swiftly guided towards our shuttle bus, which took us to the harbour, where an array of boats awaited to whisk travellers to neighbouring islands - this was where we’d also be departing from on the Scillonian later that day.

From here, we wandered towards the heart of the island, chancing upon the quaint Hugh Street Café, which looked perfect for a quick refreshment. Opting for shortbread and tea, we perched ourselves beside wooden shelving filled with local foodie gifts, including jars of the café’s very own award-winning salted caramel.

Local treats in Hugh Street Café

After our brisk refuel, we stumbled across the bustling Scilly Farmers and Growers Market, held in Parade Park every Wednesday between 10am-1pm. Browsing the selection of treats, we found many delights, including Scilly Chilli, Veronica Farm Fudge and even a stall selling brightly coloured succulents.

Stalls at Scilly Farmers Market

Drifting back along Hugh Street, we veered towards Garrison Hill, where we had planned to walk the western peninsula of St Mary’s. We thoroughly enjoyed the easy hike as the clouds began to break, uncovering the history behind The Garrison, a defence system which was first developed in the Elizabethan era to defend against the Spanish Armada, evolving throughout the centuries as late as World War II.

Views over St Marys in the Isles of Scilly

The Scillonian sailing towards land

Once we had passed the remains of the walls we were in a tropical paradise, basking in the warm sunshine weaving our way through leafy green trees getting glimpses of the sparkling blue waters beyond. We strolled on a little more until the golden sands of Porthcressa beach came into view. Fishing boats were softly bobbing on the water, and we could see beach strollers like dots in the distance. After reaching another viewing point with an 18th century cannon, it wasn’t long before we were walking across the beach ourselves, hunting for secret treasures like turquoise sea glass and intricately detailed shells.

Sea View with Cannon

The sandy shores of Porthcressa Beach

Lunchtime had arrived, and it was time for us to head to Dibble & Grub, who were kindly gifting us a complimentary lunch. Settled on the shore overlooking Porthcressa beach, the restaurant promises wonderful views of the bay with a Mediterranean-inspired tapas menu crafted from locally sourced produce. We were seated under the shade of the awning to make our choices, opting for a signature antipasti board, pan-fried halloumi, a delicious chicken ciabatta, along with a side of Dibble & Grub’s island-famous potato wedges paired with chilli relish. The restaurant was bustling with a lovely atmosphere and the beautifully presented food arrived swiftly – we were in heaven.

Isles of Scilly

Meal at Dibble & Grub

We admired the blissful scenery for a while until the heavens opened. Sadly, the time had come for us to set sail back to the mainland, so we made our way back to the quay to board the Scillonian. We set about exploring the ship, discovering the treats at the on-board café before heading up to the top deck to secure our seats for the exciting journey ahead. We cruised along the vast waters of the Atlantic, on the lookout for all types of wildlife - our neighbouring passengers had previously seen dolphins whilst on board, but we were only able to spot shearwaters swooping and dancing between the waves this time. Clifftops came into view, and we realised we could see Land’s End. We passed the golden beaches of Porthcurno, the idyllic fishing villages of Mousehole and Newlyn, floated past St Michael’s Mount, and finally the art-deco geothermal lido Jubilee Pool, before docking up at Penzance Harbour.

Couple walking along a path with sea views

View towards St Michael's Mount from the Scillonian

We stepped back onto dry land and began our short walk back to the car, already planning our future return to the magnificent Isles of Scilly. 

If you’re wishing to experience the jaw-dropping landscapes of the Scilly Isles for yourself, prices start from just £35pp. Discover the various, effortless travel options here

PR Trip in collaboration with Isles of Scilly Travel

The Scillonian sailing from the Isles of Scilly


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