OK, so I am breaking a LOT of Scillonian rules here by revealing the secrets of this paradise archipelago 30 miles off the coast of Lands End. I have just (June 2008) spent 5 wonderful days on the islands (based in Hugh Town, the ‘Capital’ of St Mary’s) but visiting all the other islands too. The Scillies truly are idyllic. Quiet, ‘everyone-knows-everyone’ island life against a backdrop of Caribbean-coloured (but not temperature!) sea, white sandy beaches and tropical flowers. But then anyone who’s got as far as reading this review probably already knows how amazing the islands are said to be, so rather than the fluffy stuff, I thought I’d give some practical advice!
We stayed at Pellistry Cottage with Anne King (see my review of it, was PERFECT). Most people stay in private homes on a B & B basis, and would recommend this over the hotels, which are seriously overpriced and full of elderly guests. The only exception are the two luxury hotels (St Martin’s Hotel on St Martin’s and the Island Hotel on Tresco), which are obnoxiously luxurious and worth a couple of nights if you can afford it (my parents stayed there for a week after I went home!)
There are a lot of superb restaurants on the islands. We only ate on St Mary’s, where the majority are. Would recommend ‘Blues’ and ‘Julliets’. Avoid the pubs.
St Mary’s is the biggest island and you can walk all around it in a day (if you’re fit). Would definitely recommend hiring bikes and cycling around the islands though as they’re made for it! Bike hire place on the main road in Hugh Town, St Mary’s and next to the ‘Tresco Stores’ in Tresco (which, incidently, has a superb deli).
Inter-island transport is on regular boats. Private boatmen offer ‘day or half day’ trips to certain islands for about £15pp. But actually, the larger ‘taxi boats’ are only £7.50pp return and we didn’t consider it worth the extra.
Everything is imported to Scilly and because of this it is VERY expensive. In just 5 days, we managed to spend almost £800 on the two of us on just food and transportation.
Have a fantastic time!