Stylish and cosmopolitan


Tresco is Scilly’s privately-owned island, and that sense of exclusivity extends to the sophisticated cafés, art gallery and spa. But for many visitors, Tresco is best defined by the Abbey Garden: its world-renowned, 19th century garden, home to some 20,000 sub-tropical plants.

Like anywhere on the Isles of Scilly, though, Tresco also has its share of beaches, panoramas and secluded spots. Pentle Bay is especially peaceful, the rugged north-east coast boasts historic forts named for both sides of the English Civil War, and the view from New Grimsby as the setting sun dips behind Bryher has inspired any number of paintings.


20,000 exotic plants

Witness the famous Abbey Garden

Discover your own island

Hire a boat, dinghy or kayak

Visit a Castle

Soak up the historic atmosphere at archaeological sites.

A table with a view

At the Ruin Beach Café

Walk the Island

Discover your own slice of island paradise


You’re the only one here

There’s no doubt: it’s the best beach you’ve ever seen. It’s a perfect semicircle of white sand, with crystal blue seas, and islands stretching out in front of you. Every so often an oystercatcher swoops past. In the distance, to your right, there’s a curious seal, playing in the water and keeping a watchful eye.

But the best thing? This beach is yours, all yours. Fifteen minutes’ paddling from the kayak hire shop in Old Grimsby, and you’ve already claimed this island as your own.

Things to see and do

Art and craft

Gallery Tresco

Overlooking New Grimsby harbour, Tresco’s gallery is deceptively large; it’s easy to enjoy an hour lost among works of art from and inspired by the islands and nearby Cornwall. The gallery is open all year round, but it’s wise to call and confirm times. New Grimsby, Tresco 01720 424925

Explore the Abbey Garden

As well as its world-famous plant collection, the Abbey Garden’s walled network of pathways and sculptures means there’s a surprise around every corner. You don’t have to be an avid gardener yourself – or even a grown-up – to appreciate the sheer variety of sights, textures and aromas. There’s even a museum of shipwrecked figureheads. Abbey Garden, Tresco 01720 424108

460 years of military history

Many of Tresco’s historic monuments hint at the islands’ strategic importance. Some date to the English Civil War – with forts named for both Cromwell and King Charles – and earlier still, with 16th century defences against potential French and Spanish invasion. More recently, a sea plane base at New Grimsby protected First World War shipping from U-boat attack.

Boat, dinghy and kayak adventures

Tresco is the perfect gateway to many of the Isles of Scilly’s uninhabited islands and deserted coves. Hire a boat or kayak from the Sailing Centre beside Ruin Beach Café, and with luck you could have Teän or St. Helen’s – arguably Scilly’s finest panoramic view – completely to yourself. You may even find yourself followed by a curious seal. Raven’s Porth, Tresco 01720 424919

Walk around the island

If you really want to get to know Tresco intimately, it’s perfectly possible to walk all the way around the island’s coast in a few hours. Or, if you’d like a guide, there are a great selection of organised wildlife walks and local experts who can offer a guided tour, pointing out local nature and history.

Hire a bike… or a golf buggy

For some, walking feels a little slow. That’s no problem: bicycles are available to hire on the island, giving you a much faster way to explore Tresco, in a virtually traffic-free environment. Or if that seems a touch strenuous, opt for one of the island’s golf buggies; it’s great fun. Contact the Flying boat club, New Grimsby, Tresco 01720 422849

The official guide to The Islands

For more things to see and do on Scilly, including activities

Day trips

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‘Island Hopping’ on the Isles of Scilly

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Activity guides

Trails and tracks, explore the Isles of Scilly by foot this spring

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Day trips on Tresco

Tresco’s Abbey Garden is one of the Isles of Scilly’s most popular day trip destinations. Simply disembark from the Scillonian III, catch an inter-island boat to Tresco, and a few minutes later you’ll arrive a short walk from the Garden. You’ll have up to three hours to explore before making the return trip or, if you’re a real garden enthusiast, a Fly+Sail trip would give you even more time.

Find out more about Day Trips

Forts, gardens and wildlife

Any short walk on Tresco will take you somewhere interesting. It’s perfect for a short break.

Spoil yourself at the day spa

Visit the island’s spa, enjoy a cocktail with a view, or sample fresh, local cuisine.

Drink it all in

Relax and enjoy the view

Roam in safety

Discover the whole island together – it’s safe and virtually traffic-free.

Enjoy exploring together

If you’re feeling adventurous, what could be better than discovering whole new islands as a family?


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