Put off camping by the thought of leaky tents and portable toilets? We’ve caught up with the Large family, regular visitors to the Garrison Campsite on St. Mary’s, to see why camping is actually one of the best ways to experience Scilly — with a few modern comforts, of course.
Camping seems to involve a lot of equipment! How do you get it all to the islands?
There’s a lot of gear; we pack everything into large holdalls or plastic boxes. We hand these over to the guys at the quay to load into containers; they’re taken to the campsite for us — our gear often arrives before we do.
For luggage restrictions see: Luggage
What is it about camping that you enjoy so much?
It’s easy to switch off and forget about work, while the children are free to explore the campsite, making friends and playing games. We feel we get ‘more’ from our holiday and make the most of the time we have as a family.
Isn’t your holiday totally ruined if it rains?
Not at all. Of course, we’d all like it to be sunny every day, but holidaying in the UK can never guarantee that. We don’t let the rain spoil things; we usually get up and get on with the day.
Is it awkward, sharing the space with kids? Are they up ridiculously early?
It’s never been a major problem for us (a reasonable size tent helps). Bed time does tend to go slightly astray, with living by the light and having new friends to play with, but it knocks them out and they normally sleep through until morning.
How do you keep clean?
The Garrison Campsite has clothes-washing facilities available, but we use the laundrette service in Hugh Town; we drop clothes off before heading out boating and collect them on our way back.
What do you do about the loo?
Facilities are provided, but a little planning helps; not drinking before bed reduces the need for night-time trips across the campsite — although even these can be rewarding on a clear night, as the starry sky is stunning.
How much cheaper is it to camp?
Camping equipment can be expensive, but good quality and maintained equipment should last many trips. Camping also offers the flexibility of arrival and departure days, as you’re not bound by changeover days or fixed duration’s.
For a camping trip, the best way to get to the islands is via Scillonian III, our passenger ferry. The crossing takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes from Penzance harbour, for families like the Large family, it’s a great introduction to their holiday. The kids can sit out on the deck, breathing in the fresh sea air with plenty to see and do. There’s views of famous Cornish landmarks and dolphins often follow the ship.
There are very few cars on the islands, it may seem daunting the thought of camping without taking a car but the whole process is made easy. Your camping kit is loaded into secure containers on Penzance quay and transported to the islands by Scillonian III and on arrival, its transported to your campsite.