Best of Tresco - Ten Things You Mustn’t Miss When Visiting
England’s Island of Flowers
You can travel to Tresco by boat but by far the best way to
arrive is by helicopter from Penzance. Sit on the right of the
Sikorsky and watch the road to the Western tip of England end
abruptly at the rugged cliffs of Land’s End. Then enjoy the
spectacular aerial view of this lush and unspoilt island,
surrounded by turquoise ocean. You may need to remind yourself
that this is England.
Life in the Slow Lane
There are no cars on Tresco. At the heliport, you climb
onto an open-sided trailer, drawn by tractor through the narrow,
palm-fringed lanes. You’ve traveled back in time to a totally
different world where there is no crime, no police and where
nobody bothers to lock their doors. The pace of life is altogether
sedate and revolves around the daily movement of tides and boats.
Sunday newspapers arrive on Monday. Borrow a golf buggy to
get your bearings around this pristine island. To the south
flourish tropical palms and ferns The woods around the Great
Pool are alive with rabbits and pheasants. To the north are gaunt
granite cliffs, deep hidden caves and a wilder landscape dominated
by heather and bracken.
Take a stroll through the densely planted cactuses, palms,
ferns, camellias and lilies of the Abbey Gardens. These have been
collected from around the world and blossom in the mild, Gulf
Stream-warmed climate. Tresco is unique amongst the Isles of
Scilly in being privately-owned (by the Dorrien Smith family,
whose ancestors first developed the island and who still live in
Many Happy Returns
Indulge yourself at the Island Hotel, a hedonistic hideaway
perched above its own beach. Many rooms offer uninterrupted sea
views and even private gardens. The Menavaur Suite is situated
above a tidal channel and can give guests the impression of being
on a moving cruise ship. Freshly caught crab and lobster are specialties
of the fine restaurant. The hotel commands extraordinary guest
loyalty with some 85% of visitors having stayed before. Many
famous guests, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana, have
regularly found tranquility and relaxation here. Book early.
Relax with a drink at the New Inn, Tresco’s cozy,
nautical pub. The Inn is adorned with telescopes, model ships, sea
paintings and ship’s bells. As the island’s only pub, the Inn
is a melting pot of local life and visitors can mingle easily with
the friendly islanders.
Hire a boat and explore the sheltered waters around Tresco.
The Isles of Scilly comprise some 100 small low-lying islands,
reefs and atolls of which only five are inhabited. Take a boat to
a remote beach of one of the uninhabited isles for the ultimate
getaway. If marine life is your thing you can hire a wet suit and
swim with seals off the Eastern Isles.
Tresco has four miles of silver-sand coastline to choose
from, ranging from long sweeping beaches to secluded coves.
Whichever you prefer, with the island only able to accommodate 400
visitors at any time, it should be fairly easy to find one to
Examine the island’s impressive Bronze Age remains which
include a fascinating 4000-year old burial chamber on the summit
of Tregarthen Hill. In more recent times, King Charles’s Castle
to the north and the Blockhouse at Old Grimsby both saw Civil War
action in the 1651 Battle of Tresco. Cromwell’s Castle maintains
its lonely vigil on the rocky north west coast. This was built
after the Roundhead victory to defend the sea channel, as was
Oliver’s Battery near Carn Near.
Due to their geographical location and varied terrain, the
Isles of Scilly are a focal point for many breeds of migrating
birds. Visit Tresco in September to watch the aerobatics displays.
Oystercatcher, Kestrel, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest and Little Egret
can all be seen plus many others. Then catch a boat to the neighboring
islands of St Martin’s, St Agnes and Bryher which also offer
discerning bird watching.
Sky At Night
Tresco has no streetlights and the island can be very dark
at night. Don’t let this deter you - a nocturnal stroll or even
buggy drive through the island’s shadows and silhouettes to the
background music of the sea is an unforgettable experience. There
being so little light pollution, the stars shine very brightly and
their regal night-time show, together with the periodic sweep of
the Round Island Lighthouse beam, will guide you.
is a freelance travel and lifestyles writer based in London. Born in Hong
Kong, his family moved to London when he was three. After graduating from
Cambridge University with a degree in physics, Martin worked initially in
high level positions in
financial services and capital markets. Martin has published a
number of books and articles and his topics frequent include his parchment for
hideaways destinations, adventure trips, and sports travel. (More
about this author).