A Guide to the Isles of Scilly, the UK's Tropical Islands!
Our trip to the Isles of Scilly had been long-awaited.
I told Lloyd earlier this year how much I wanted to see more of the UK and Ireland. As an example, I used to live in Edinburgh. I had taken it for granted, and it wasn't until after a long period of spending as many weekends as possible in other European countries that it dawned on me how much of what I was traveling for was already in my back garden. in a sense This is perhaps truer in the Isles of Scilly than anywhere else in the UK.
As you can probably tell from my post on my first impressions of the islands here and my second photography post here, the islands are absolutely beautiful and look like they’ve just been plucked right out of the Caribbean and popped next to the UK mainland not far from the aptly named, Land’s End
This is the first of many posts about the island because I ended up taking so many photos while hopping from one island to the next, but let's start at the beginning - How To Get To The Isles Of Scilly
But, before I begin, I'd like to point out that my trip to the Isles of Scilly began in London. That said, unless you live right next to Exeter, Newquay, or Land's End Airports, all of these steps should apply to you in some way. 🙂
Also, if you're wondering what to do in the Isles of Scilly, this post has a comprehensive guide and itinerary of what to see, do, and eat on the islands. 😀
1.) Take the train to one of three airports: Land's End, Newquay, Cornwall, or Exeter.
Exeter is only about 2 hours and 17 minutes from London, so we boarded a train bound for Exeter. (Keep in mind that flying from Land's End takes 15 minutes, 30 minutes from Newquay, and 60 minutes from Exeter.)
We took the First Great Western train from Exeter to London. First Great Western has a nearly 200-year history and was previously known as Great Western Railway. I've traveled on FGW numerous times, but this was my first time in First Class on these trains, and there is undeniably a difference. The seats are much larger (hence why there are three in a row rather than four as in Standard), cosier, and recline. It took all of my willpower to keep from dozing off on the way to Exeter.
Actually, as it turned out, staying awake on those comfy seats as we whizzed past the stunning British countryside was a lot easier than expected. If you want a whistle-stop tour of the UK's south, this is one of the best train journeys to take. Especially when the weather is as beautiful as it was today.
2.) From the train station, take a taxi or a bus to the airport.
The train station is called Exeter St David's, and the bus costs less than £3 and the taxi costs between £10 and $20.
3.) Take the Isles of Scilly Sky Bus over to the island.
The flight over is fantastic for photos and seeing the patchwork fields that make up Cornwall.
The view as you approach the islands is also spectacular, but by this point, my prosecco-fueled haze had set in, and I had forgotten to photograph it. I believe I have it on video and will post it on our YouTube channel. If that fails, I believe I took photos on the way back home and will show you the view one way or another...
4.) From the airport, take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the harbor.
If you are staying on St Mary's Island (the largest of the islands), all you need to do is take a taxi to your accommodation. We were going to stay in Tresco, so we went to the harbor...
5.) From the harbor, board a boat bound for your island.
The boats have specific arrival and departure times that are not always consistent, so it's worth checking when traveling from island to island. We had someone tell us where to go and what to do on the way out (they even knew our names), so it was pretty simple, but when we went visiting the other islands during the week, it was a little more difficult.
The boat ride from St Mary's to Tresco was only 8 minutes long. The distances between most of the islands are relatively short, making it simple to travel from one to the other.
6.) Once you arrive on your island (Tresco in our case), you will need a golf car or a pick-up truck to transport you and your luggage to your destination.
You can't drive on this island because cars aren't allowed except for those owned by the island (though you can cycle), and the truck came in handy because I overpacked.
That's all there is to it. Your four to six-step journey to the Isles of Scilly You can also sail into the islands, the full details of which are available here on the official Isles of Scilly website, so I won't bother rehashing them here...
The house on Tresco was a lovely little cottage called 'Thatch.' Okay, quick confession: I've always wished for a cottage. Living in cities usually entails living in shiny new buildings, and I've always wanted a cottage in the countryside, so I was overjoyed when we arrived.
The kitchen has a view of the private garden, which is surrounded by trees and shrubs!
It even had a cute fire place that I wanted to try out (having a working fire place that I could use in the cold winter months is part of my dream of owning a cottage). Needless to say, it was far too hot to even consider using this fireplace, so despite how prepared and ready it was, I had to abandon that part of my cottage fantasy. 🙂
I went outside for some tea, biscuits (which were thankfully left in the kitchen before we arrived), and cartwheels around the garden.
... before deciding it was time to go out to dinner.
By the way, the picture below depicts the 'Thatch' cottage. Isn't it absolutely adorable?
We hadn't gotten around to renting bicycles yet, so we rushed over to dinner (which was a great way to get a taste of the island...)
Dinner was at The New Inn, which is also a pub and a bed and breakfast (how classic - I adore it). The New Inn is unquestionably the best restaurant on the island. When I travel, I usually like to try a variety of new restaurants, but I returned here for dinner far more frequently than I should admit. 😉
We decided (on no basis whatsoever) that it would be a red wine evening...
Lloyd began with a scotch egg that had to be the best scotch egg ever. Everything about it was exactly how a scotch egg should be (with the egg still runny inside), and despite mocking him when he ordered a scotch egg (which I usually think of as something you get on the go), I quickly swallowed my words and begged for a taste.
To begin, I chose the crab meat, which was quite tasty in its own right. 🙂
Our main courses were both delicious steaks slathered in the best sauce.
For dessert, Lloyd chose a chocolate tart.
I went with an old standby: waffles. (Just thinking about these waffles makes me hungry.) )
We eventually dragged ourselves away from the New Inn (but not without another bottle of Malbec) and decided to try to catch the sunset...
... which, by the way, was magnificent. I'd only been in Tresco for a few hours and I'd already fallen in love with the Isles of Scilly...
Finally, I decided it was time to head back though after all I’d eaten, I wished I had one of these bad boys below to take me home! Spoiler alert – we did get one eventually – I’d been in golf carts but never driven one so to actually be able to do this was definitely something I had to do!
The walk back to the cottage, on the other hand, wasn't too bad...
So off we went, pleased with the Isles thus far and looking forward to the rest of our stay in the Isles of Scilly.
READ MORE: If you're wondering what to see, do, and where to eat when visiting The Isles of Scilly, check out this post.
A One-Week Trip to the Isles of Scilly - the United Kingdom's Tropical Islands
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