The Isles of Scilly

Renting a holiday cottage on the Isles of Scilly is a very popular way of holidaying on these stunning islands off the Cornish coast. The five inhabited Isles of Scilly display a life-style of tranquillity, contrasting scenery, ancient history spanning several centuries, and an exotic flora.The busy and most populated island, St. Mary's, has major links with the mainland by both air and sea, and once you have arrived, be amazed at the variety of places to visit, the useful shops, banks, restaurants, art galleries, crafts, three churches, a museum; and with the extent of accommodation to choose from - first-class hotels, B & B's, self-catering cottages and camp-sites - there's no need to worry about where to stay, just enjoy the choice.

The five Scilly Islands offer a desirable and popular choice of pretty holiday cottages. They tend to be very popular – so book well in advance! Walking is the way to go on Scilly with miles of coastal paths and trails, such as those around the Garrison on St. Mary’s, giving you views of the other islands. Marshlands and heaths, woodlands are all burgeoning with grasses and exotic flowers. Study the history too - from burial chambers and monuments, the megalithic village at Bant's Carn, the 16th century Star Castle (now a hotel), and even 17th century Civil War strongholds. The Telegraph Tower is the tallest structure on the island, from which you can see the different sea coasts, rocky bays to sandy beaches. St. Mary’s is a two-mile long island, famous for its white sands and deep blue seas on the south side, but displaying a contrasting coastline with heathery slopes on the north side. Although it is so small, you are not without the necessary sources for accommodation in the hotel and the pub, and even a little shopping in the grocery shop, the bakery and the Post Office, and freshly caught fish sold by local fishermen. Buy the kids fishing nets to enjoy the rock pools on those beautiful sands, and walk the many coastal paths.

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Bryher's claim to fame as the smallest of the inhabited islands does not suggest an island empty of attractions. There's room for exciting visits to the contrasting coastlines, from rocky Shipman Head, Hell Bay (living up to its name with a thunderous ocean creating high "fountains" of surf and spume), to Green Bay, where even a little gentle canoeing is possible in these calm and crystal-clear waters. It's easy to walk from one side to the other using tracks criss-crossing the island and locate the high-class accommodation, where your every need will be met, or the shop and the post-office to find the necessary provisioning for self-catering in equally delightful cottages and camp-sites; then enjoy a drink in the smallest pub on the whole of Scilly.

Famed for its vivid plethora of flowers, you will delight in the exotic 20,000 known species in their sub-tropical home at the Abbey Garden - "Kew with the roof off"! Find the usual contrast of sheltered bays in the south, and easily walk or cycle to the rugged north coast, and listen to the thundering noise of the beating ocean in Piper's Hole Cave. History emerges too, finding early defensive castles and a Bronze Age tomb on Tregartha Hill. It is the most westerly of all of the Islands, being the last port of call in the British Isles, and where cottages, farmlands and flower fields, and granite cairns roll down to the very edge of the Atlantic. There is a lighthouse, which lights the way past the rock-strewn coasts, and where numerous ships have been wrecked. It has its own little off-shore island, Gugh, which is reached by a causeway, and where the sea-bathing is easy.