Scilly Isles

7th March 2008 at 00:00
Some of you may be lucky enough to get down to England's most far-flung southwesterly point for the second Scilly Isles Walking Festival (March 24-31,, which will kick off the holiday season with a typically Scillonian mix of history walks, plant walks, astronomy, hog roasts, music and seabird spotting. That should keep you busy.

It's a bit early for puffins - you're only likely to see them in May and June, but you'll catch the end of the scented narcissus season and the islands' famed mild climate and wealth of archaeological features are welcoming year round.

The sword found on the island of Bryher, which inspired Michael Morpurgo's Arthurian tale The Sleeping Sword, was in real life Iron Age and there is much else to see, including the site of the last skirmish of the Civil War, and one of the most redoubtable lighthouses out at Bishop's Rock, where the Western Rocks have proved fatal to hundreds of ships over the centuries, but which local boatmen will take you to visit if the sea is calm enough.

Tresco's Abbey Gardens are famed for their collection of plants from all over the world and the Tean restaurant at St Martin's Hotel has just won a Michelin star. There are now more ways than ever to get to the Scillies: by Britain's only scheduled helicopter service (from pound;162 return,, by Skybus plane from Land's End, Newquay, Exeter, Bristol or Southampton (from pound;109 return,, or by the Scillonian III ferry (from pound;76 return, For more information visit


Where to stay

We stayed at the Star Castle. It's on the top of a hill, so the views are magnificent. It's quite a trek to get there, but it helps work off the seafood dinners. The castle rooms are authentic, while the garden rooms are more spacious.

Cynthia, Somerset

What to do

You're only allowed 15kg baggage on the helicopter. But it's much better than the Scillonian. The Scillonian put your bags in a big container, so that when you reach the jetty you have to hunt for them along with everyone else who's just stepped off the ferry.

Mark, Leeds.

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