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Walking around the Isles of Scilly

Walking is one of our favourite pastimes on the Isles of Scilly – and as soon as you arrive it’s easy to see why! If you’re here for a few days then you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore St Mary’s and some of the ‘off islands’ too. Here are a few options…

St Mary’s

The coastal path is around 11 miles long and can be covered in about five hours (with a few cafe stops along the way!). St Mary’s is often overlooked as a lot of visitors go straight off on boat trips which means that you can generally find a quiet beach – even at the height of the season. To really get to know the island there are plenty of other walks which enable you to delve a bit deeper into the history and the geography of the island. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • The Garrison walk (1 hour)
  • Peninnis walk and Old Town church (1½ hours)
  • Porthellick and Normandy Downs (2 hours)
  • Bar Point and Pelistry Bay (2 hours)
  • Golf course and Halangy Ancient Village walk (1½ hours)

Check out the welcome pack on arrival for maps and walking suggestions or at the Tourist Information Centre. They’ll also tell you about guided walks taking place, if you really want to get under the skin of Scilly and learn more about the islands’ people and the wonderful environment.

The ‘Off Islands’

Tresco takes around 3½ hours to walk around. It is a beautiful island and has stunning gardens with tropical plants and white beaches in the south, with a wilder and more rugged feel in the north.

Bryher is, compared to the other islands, quite hilly and wild, with striking spots such as Hell Bay and Rushy Bay. It takes about 2½ hours to get around.

St Agnes is more cultivated and is smaller than the other islands. It takes about two hours to get around.

St Martin’s has long white beaches and some lovely walking along the coastal path which overlooks Great Bay. A circular walk takes around three hours.

As well as the circular walks there are lots of criss-crossing paths on all the islands. In fact, you can visit islands many times and never cover all the paths!

All of the Off Islands have cafes and pubs or hotels where you can stop for a break or for a meal.

The Isles of Scilly host two walking festivals every year – Walk Scilly in April which welcomes in the spring, and the Walk Scilly Weekend in October, a slightly wilder version (in terms of wildlife and, sometimes weather!).  These festivals are very popular because they allow you explore parts of Scilly you might otherwise not see, and the walks are led by expert guides in their field.