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The Isles of Scilly

England’s enchanting archipelago

Unspoilt, untouched and unrivalled in beauty, close your eyes and you’ll dream of the Isles of Scilly. Described by some as England’s Caribbean and by others as a cluster of pearls set amidst a sea of turquoise, it’s hard to imagine that the magical archipelago is just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. This is where big, blue skies and deserted landscapes meet, where nature thrives, and where souls are revived. This is your haven, your playground, your world.

140 or so islands make up the Isles of Scilly. Many are teeny tiny and uninhabited, five are populated and slightly larger. Some are fringed by rocks, others by white sandy beaches. All share a slower, gentler pace of life and a sense of freedom…all are waiting for your discovery.

St Mary's - Hub of island life image

St Mary's - Hub of island life

With a population of 1,800 and covering around six square miles, St Mary wins the crown as the largest of the islands.

In Hugh Town the cluster of shops, cafes, galleries, and restaurants, as well as a handful of beaches and a bustling quay, create a (slightly) busier vibe. Head here to island-hop aboard one of the characterful boats that spend their days idyllically ferrying passengers back and forth between islands.

Old Town, with its beautiful bay overlooked by the tranquil churchyard where former Prime Minister Harold Wilson was laid to rest, is another stunning spot, and of course, the coastline dotted with picturesque bays, nature trails, and archaeological sites is every inch divine.

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Tresco - Subtropical splendour image

Tresco - Subtropical splendour

This subtropical gem is the very essence of sophistication. From the evocative landscape, restaurants and spa, to the world-famous Tresco Abbey Garden - a horticultural paradise where more than 20,000 exotic plants bloom - peaceful luxury oozes from every flawless pore.

The second-largest of the islands and the only one to be privately-owned, Tresco has been cared for by the Dorrien-Smith family since 1834 and in true perfectionism style, offers a little bit of everything. There are dramatic rocky outcrops, bronze age burial sites and romantic castle ruins in the North, secluded sandy beaches and an impeccable selection of places to stay. The ultimate in luxury.

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St Martin's - Beaches galore

With its iconic red and white Daymark, St Martin’s is the first island that you’ll spot when flying over from Cornwall - and what a sight. In two stunning miles, it packs in some of the most beautiful beaches in the world; the sand is the purest shade of white, the sparkling water is crystal clear and the towering cliffs are as dramatic as it gets. This is where spectacular flowers bloom and where plants and rare birds thrive.

Yet this island’s prowess runs far deeper than its beauty. Behind the model-good looks lays a diverse bunch of island folk. Among the 120 or so islanders there’s everything from wine producers to artisan bakers – there’s even an internationally renowned flower farm and a swim-with-seals dive school.

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Bryher - Untamed beauty

The smallest of the inhabited islands, Bryher is a vibrant and spectacular island of contrasts, perfectly blending wild with tranquil and rugged with gentle. To the North Atlantic rollers pound at towering granite cliffs while to the South, it’s all peaceful pastures, marram-lined dunes and gently-shelving white sand beaches.

And this is a little island that isn’t afraid to bask in the limelight: children’s author Michael Morpurgo set many novels here - not least When the Whales Came which was turned into a film and shot on the island - and the Island’s luxurious Hell Bay hotel attracts much admiration and
award titles.

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St Agnes - The wild isle

On the far-flung, most South-Westerly edge of the Isles of Scilly, St Agnes is a natural and wild beauty with its very own sense of peace and tranquillity. Measuring just one mile across, it links to its closest neighbour, Gugh, for a few hours each day when the tide ebbs to magically reveal a sand bar.

A patchwork of fields provides grazing pasture for the island’s dairy herd, while sheltered coves and rocky outcrops dot the fringes of the island and an iconic lighthouse caps the highest point.

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