Isles of Scilly Walking Tours
The Isles of Scilly, West Cornwall.
2022 dates: June 6th – 13th, Aug 26th – 2nd Sept, Sept 2nd – 9th.
2023 dates: June 5th – 12th, Aug 29th – 5th Sept.
Enchanted holiday exploring the Isles of Scilly, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Our holidays exploring the Isles of Scilly are quite unique, having run for some 18 years. Here, you can enjoy some of the finest (and easiest) coastal walking in the world, all on a magical archipelago of beautiful small islands with white sand beaches and sub tropical vegetation, which are located just 28 miles off-shore, beyond Lands End in West Cornwall.
Walking and exploring with Martin is a wonderful way to discover the distinctive ambience, landscapes, wildlife, archaeology and spectacular seascapes of these visually stunning isles.
One of Martin’s heroes is Ray Mears, the well known nature enthusiast and broadcaster – and this is what he says about Scilly:
“I’m delighted to be working with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group to promote and support this very special UK destination. I’m lucky because my life is all about nature, so I don’t feel the frenetic pace of life that many other people do, but for people who are caught up in technology and busy lifestyles, the Isles of Scilly is a perfect panacea. Scilly is one of those places which just makes you feel good; there are old-fashioned values on the islands that we’ve forgotten – people have time for each other, and it’s a simpler way of life. Everyone is very friendly and it’s lovely as a visitor to be welcomed into that community while you’re there. Having the most incredible flora and fauna, and if it’s a sunny day, Scilly looks just like the Mediterranean. You feel so refreshed from experiencing it and it’s a true haven to unwind from stress.” Just this week (March 2022), I have been to see Ray at my local theatre, where he presented a live staged programme about using all our senses to fully appreciate nature – something quite easy to do on The Magical Isles of Scilly.
The islands have many award winning restaurants and pubs. There is a fabulous choice of freshly caught sea food, locally produced meats, hand made artisan bread, locally grown vegetables and an amazing selection of wines from some of the finest vineyards in the world. We look forward to sharing the joyful experience of a superbly cooked evening meal and a glass of wine with you after a day of walking, immersed in peace and beauty!
An area of Outstanding of Natural Beauty, The Scilly Isles are an exquisite group of about 100 granite islets, many un-inhabited – but some five having permanent populations. We shall stay on St Mary’s and we will use the classic old passenger launches to access a different island each day. The total permanent population of all the islands is roughly 2,500.
On this holiday, we’ll walk on St Mary’s, St Agnes, Bryher, Tresco, St Martins and perhaps the un-inhabited island of Samson. These islands are composed entirely of 300 million year old granite – the highest point being only 187 feet above sea level. However, there are many spectacular granite headlands with cliffs some 100 feet high. On most of the islands, there are numerous white sand beaches and incredibly eroded granite outcrops – with a face on every one!
The islands are home to a large number of prehistoric monuments: in particular, chambered burial tombs dating from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age.
Western Maritime Heath is profuse here in August (a dense mix of colourful heathers and western short gorse). The islands have a wonderful almost sub-tropical flora, being bathed by the Gulf Stream, which keeps them mild the whole year round.
They are also famous for their early spring flowers – particularly narcissi and other daffodils, geraniums – and later, great swathes of sea pinks and sea campions and beautiful succulents such as mesembryanthemum and Hottentot fig. In late summer, bell and ling heathers abound and glorious blue and white agapanthus and pink and white belladonna lilies are everywhere to be seen.
Created by Augustas Smith in the 1800’s, the ‘Tresco Abbey Gardens’ have many exotic rare plants and are truly sub-tropical in nature. People come from all over the world to visit these unique gardens – and you will have an opportunity to do so too.
The wildlife is very varied, with seals, puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags, cormorants and many other species. There are numerous boat trips we can take to view the wildlife and the spectacular scenery. The waters are exceptionally clear and turquoise in colour, with fantastic seaweeds in abundance. We could even spot a turtle, dolphins, sharks or whales.
Of all the beautiful qualities that these islands possess, the unique light is probably the one that is most commented on. The sea is usually an incredible turquoise colour and very clear. The boat trips to and from the outer islands are a wonderful treat in themselves. There is an ancient legend in Cornwall that there once existed an advanced culture on those islands called Lyoness, which was destroyed in a great cataclysmic inundation back in the dark ages. There is some geological evidence that this may in fact have occurred.
The island’s history is long and convoluted – having been the home of several famous personages over historical time – if even just for a brief time. For example, the future King Charles II came here to try and escape from Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. After Cromwell had murdered his brother Charles I, he did eventually return to England and became King… but that’s a long story!
Price for the eight day/seven night Scilly Island guided walking holiday in 2022 is GBP £1,550 fully inclusive.
The June and August holidays include fine accommodation in a wonderful guest house directly overlooking the sea – with great full cooked English breakfasts, superb 3 course evening meals (with house wines and beers) in a variety of good local restaurants and in the guesthouse itself. Also included are 4 return boat rides to the outer islands and Martin’s attentive guidance on each of the days.
The September tour will be based in a different location – a seaside hotel. It will cost £1,695 per person and a separate brochure is available. This hotel only has double/twin rooms, so single occupancy is not possible.
With your journey by ferry, helicopter or plane, you will find that apart from the five days of guided explorations, you will also have (if you want it!) one whole free day and two part free days (the arrival and departure days) to ‘do your own thing’ – something everyone likes to do, once they have discovered their own little paradise. However, Martin will guide on all the six days available. The holiday is in fact almost 8 days if you arrive by ferry, or fly early.
To view photos from previous Scilly Isles guided walking holidays please go to our Facebook page.
Sit back, switch to full screen, have a cuppa and enjoy a lovely ‘time-lapse’ film of the islands.
2022 holiday prices are mentioned above. Please note that the September holiday is based in a different location and is a little more expensive.
Guide price for the “Scillonian” ferry from Penzance (3 hours), £130 return. There are daily flights from several mainland airports: Exeter, Newquay and Lands End + a new helicopter service, flying from Penzance.