The Isles of Scilly are a rare gem quite different to the rest of England. Surrounded by clear and transparent waters, white beaches, tropical plants and a typical Mediterranean climate, you would not believe you were in England if you didn’t know it to be true.
Situated in the Celtic Sea, 45 km off the coast of Cornwall, the archipelago is made up of five uninhabited islands: St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes. Moreover there are around 140 small islets composed of granite rock from the Permian age. The archipelago has a long history. The first traces of human life are from 3,000 years ago when it was a land for nomadic hunter-gatherers. Nowadays it still hosts 239 scheduled historical monuments so you have many things to do and visit once there, without having the problem to get bored.
You might prefer a cultural tour visiting the fascinating Isles of Scilly Museum in St Mary’s. It hosts photos, clothes, instruments, tools, books and other objects that have been acquired from local sources and Island families showing the social history of the islands. Moreover, since 2000 boat trips and walks are organized to let you discover the archaeology and hidden ancient sites of the islands like Tudor and Civil War castles on St Mary’s (Star Castle) and Tresco (Cromwell’s Castle) or the remains of the early Christian chapels on St Helen’s, Teän and St Martin’s.
Other historical sites to do not miss out are the following:
- An iron-age settlement at Halangy Down ancient village and St Mary’s
- Submerged prehistoric huts and field boundaries off Samson, Tresco, Bryher and Tean
- An entrance grave dating from the Bronze Age at Bant’s Carn and St Mary’s
- Standing stones at Long Rock, St Mary’s, the Old Man of Gugh and the menhir on Chapel Down, St Martin’s
If you prefer a vacation based on relaxing and nature, you might opt for a tour of the islands by bike or walking. You’ll be out of breath in front of amazing landscapes made by sandy beaches, clear turquoise sea and wonderful species of flowers and plants. Typical flowers that grown in the fields are the Daffs and the Narcissi.
For those who love it, it is possible to riding along beaches and shallows on the way.
Other activities nature related to do are the following:
- To take a snorkelling trip and discover creatures in their sea habitat
- To do other water sports like sailing, windsurfing, kite-surfing and kayaking
- To take a trip around the five islands on a sea safari
- To hire a motor craft and sailing on the sea
The Scillonian cuisine is also something very special and diverse from the rest of England. It is based mainly on home-grown and home made products like vegetables, bread, fresh lobster, mussels and fish, island-reared beef and wonderful ice cream. You will be able to taste all of them at one of the cafes and restaurant in the islands. Moreover, a walk in the Local Produce Market – that usually takes place on the first Thursday of each month in the summer season in St Mary’s island – it could be a great opportunity to buy some traditional and local products to enjoy the taste of these islands once you get back at home.
This article has been written for Sunbourne Limited, a company for camping holidays in Wales.
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