Nestled off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly stand as a testament to centuries of rich history and captivating legends. These hidden gems boast a blend of stunning natural landscapes and a captivating past, making them an excellent but lesser-known travel destination for history buffs. With settlements dating back to the Stone Age and Bronze Age, these islands have witnessed the ebb and flow of civilizations, and remnants of this ancient past are still visible, with submerged stone walls and boundaries of early villages dotting the islands.
Join us on a journey through time as we explore the fascinating history of the Isles of Scilly, unearthing the secrets and stories that have shaped this enchanting destination.
Visit the Isles of Scilly’s historical landmarks
The Isles of Scilly boast a remarkable tapestry of history, adorned with numerous historical landmarks that whisper tales of the past. Among the must-see sights and landmarks on the archipelago, the Garrison walls on St Mary’s take centre stage, offering a glimpse into the islands’ fortified past.
Or why not look at the awe-inspiring Tresco Abbey Garden & Valhalla Collection, that invites visitors to wander through meticulously curated gardens and marvel at an extensive collection of shipwrecked figureheads. Cromwell’s Castle, another famous landmark, stands proudly, as a testament to Tresco’s tumultuous history during the English Civil War. For those looking for more ancient history, St Mary’s boasts historic sites from the Bronze and Iron ages.
What sets the Isles of Scilly apart is the astonishing density of historical sites, boasting 239 ancient monuments. This remarkable concentration of historical treasures makes the islands a veritable haven for history enthusiasts, offering a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the past.
Explore the maritime heritage of the islands
The maritime heritage of the Isles of Scilly runs deep, permeating every aspect of island life and the maritime traditions of the Isles of Scilly remain vibrant. The sea continues to shape the islands, with a thriving fishing industry ensuring a plentiful supply of delicious, fresh seafood. You can also explore the darker side of the islands’ maritime history at the Valhalla Museum in Tresco Gardens, which houses figureheads from ships that were wrecked on the rugged coastline.
This coastline is also dotted with some beautiful lighthouses which surround the islands from every direction with the oldest, the lighthouse of St Agnes, build in 1680. You can also take a boat trip out to the famous Bishop Rock Lighthouse, which sits four miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, protecting the islands’ more westerly point.
As you explore the Isles of Scilly, you’ll discover a captivating world where the sea intertwines with the fabric of daily existence, preserving a rich maritime heritage that endures to this very day.
Islands steeped in Arthurian legend
The Isles of Scilly harbour a captivating connection to the realm of Arthurian legends, immersing visitors in a world of mythical wonder. It’s believed that the islands were once a single large landmass, giving rise to the legend that the islands themselves were once the isle of Avalon or the lost Arthurian kingdom of Lyonesse. These legends live on today with two of the uninhabited islands bearing the names Great Arthur and Little Arthur. More recent Arthurian history is the work of Alfred Lord Tennyson who was so smitten with the Isles of Scilly that he used it as the backdrop of his romantic tribute to King Arthur; Idylls of the King.
The Isles of Scilly offer a captivating exploration of history, mythology, and maritime heritage. From ancient origins dating back to the Stone Age and Bronze Age to their connection to Arthurian legends, these islands are steeped in enchanting tales, making them a haven for history enthusiasts.
So why not take a trip and explore the rich history of the Isles of Scilly. Book your trip today and go on an unforgettable journey that will stay with you for a lifetime.