EVERY DAY, SOMETHING NEW.
On St. Mary’s, you’ll be as close as the Isles of Scilly get to being busy. With beaches, shopping, countryside paths and coastal trails – along with plenty to do indoors – there’s always something new to try.
But then, why limit yourself to just the one island? St. Mary’s Quay is the hub for Scilly’s inter-island boats, so it’s easy to sample another for a day, or even a couple of hours. Simply stroll down to the quayside, look for the chalk boards, and choose your adventure.
Things to see and do
Holy Vale Vineyard tourNestling in the middle of the island, St. Mary’s own vineyard and winery opens its doors from April until September for tours, lobster lunches… and wine tasting, of course. It’s a good idea to book in advance. Holy Vale, St. Mary’s 01720 420317
Hire a golf buggyIf walking and cycling seem a bit energetic, a golf buggy is a fun, easy way to explore the island in comfort. It’s something out of the ordinary for the whole family – and up to eight can ride – but be aware there are age limits on who can drive. The Scilly Cart Co, Porthmellon 01720 422121
Kings of the castleParents with young children need no introduction to soft play as an all-weather lifesaver. In Old Town, Kings of the Castle is suitable for children up to eight, with a multi-level play frame, ball pool, baby and toddler area and café. Old Town, St. Mary’s 07981 133210
The Island Rover guided bus tourIn just 75 minutes, the Island Rover will introduce you to the highlights of St. Mary’s – with a full commentary, giving you a local’s perspective. There’s no booking necessary; just meet at Holgate’s Green at 10:15 am or 1:30 pm, from Monday to Saturday. Holgate’s Green, St. Mary’s 01720 422131 Note: the tour is not suitable for children under five.
Go island hoppingEvery visitor to Scilly finds their own favourite island – and exploring them couldn’t be easier. Look out for the chalk boards on the quayside with the sailing times to another island, or book a round trip to see the sights and wildlife. St. Mary’s Boatmen’s Association 01720 423999
Phoenix craft workshopsEvery weekday afternoon, the popular Phoenix craft studios give you a chance to try your hand at a craft – it might be stained glass painting, lino printing, jewellery making or painting. The workshops are very popular with children, but everyone’s welcome; call to book a day in advance. Porthmellon Business Park, St. Mary’s 01720 422900
Play the most south-westerly courseSt. Mary’s golf course, at the Isles of Scilly Golf Club, is a challenging, 5,942-yard beauty. But be warned, the panoramic sea views across to other islands could well distract you from your swing. There are drinks and home-cooked food at the clubhouse, too. Carn Morval, St. Mary's 01720 422692
Take a ride around the islandWith largely traffic-free roads and gentle slopes, the Isles of Scilly are perfect for exploring under pedal power. Even on the larger islands, it’s quick and easy to take a leisurely ride around. There’s a choice of bikes for hire – and they can be delivered to other islands for longer bookings. St. Mary’s Bike Hire, Porthmellon Business Park 07796 638506 (Open March-October) Book a Bike on Scilly, Kimmeridge, St. Mary’s 01720 422661
Tour St. Mary’s on footSt. Mary’s is criss-crossed by 30 miles of nature trails, paths and other walking routes. Local experts offer guided tours of the island’s abundant nature, archaeology and bird life – while the Tourist Information Centre on Porthcressa Beach can give you maps, guides and friendly advice. Ornithologist and naturalist: Will Wagstaff 01720 422212 (March-October) Archaeologist & historian: Dr Katharine Sawyer 01720 423326 (April-October)
Sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and moreClear waters and sheltered bays make Scilly an ideal place to learn to sail, windsurf or stand-up paddle board. The Isles of Scilly Sailing Centre provides tuition and taster sessions – as well as hire, if you’re more experienced, or simply want to kayak across to a deserted island of your own. Porthmellon, St. Mary’s 01720 422060 Raven’s Porth, Tresco (July & August only) 01720 424919
Head out on horsebackIf you’ve ever dreamed of riding across a white, island beach, this is your chance. St. Mary’s Riding Centre is approved by the British Horse Society, with friendly instructors and horses to suit beginners and experienced equestrians alike. Maypole, St. Mary’s 01720 423855 firstname.lastname@example.org
Day trips on St. Mary’s
With so many ways to spend your day, it’s no wonder so many people making a day trip to Scilly choose to simply explore St. Mary’s. There’s ample time to explore Hugh Town, take a short walk or ride, or even venture out to the deserted beaches towards the island’s north.