Isles of Scilly Guidebook – The Isles of Scilly are one of Britain’s best kept secrets. We want to keep it that way, so, apart from you, we are not going to tell anybody else about them. Please promise not to share this with friends, family, contacts, colleagues, perfect strangers and so on. Unless, of course, you are confident they will buy the book. If that’s the case, spread the word.
St Mary’s, the other Saints Agnes and Martin’s, along with Tresco and brave, battered Bryher offer the most stunning of holidays. Once bitten, you will be hooked. Forever. There are other, uninhabited islands in this archipelago nearly thirty miles off the coast of Land’s End. Visit them as well. This book charts a family’s ten years of visits. They are, they admit, very much newbies when compared to many regular holiday takers to Scilly. But, as the children have grown, the Peters’ family have enjoyed so much, discovered so many aspects to the islands, tried so many new experiences, that they just have to share them with you. (Who, remember. they have carefully selected from the millions seeking to buy this book. If that’s not an obligation to part with your cash, I don’t know what is.)
Learn about the individual characters of the different islands, share in the triumphs and disasters this ordinary family have experienced. Discover the location of the world’s best tuna sandwiches, find out about touring the main island by golf cart, or how to appear on Scilly Radio and get your own favourite song wrecked by a local DJ. Learn a bit about the locals who live on this tropical paradise, somehow to be found in Northern Europe. The Isles of Scilly truly are Britain’s most amazing islands, indeed, the word ‘Britain’ could easily be swapped for Europe or even ‘The World’. This cheery read is perfect for anybody planning a holiday to Scilly, a couple of weeks, a short break or even a day trip (yes, it is possible). Equally, for those who simply enjoy finding out about their country in a bright and light-hearted way, read on and you might find next year’s holiday plans sorted.
‘We have always stayed on St Mary’s. It is a metropolis – airport, quay, supermarket, Oxford Street of shops, bus service, hospital…ummm, secondary school. And, have I mentioned the airport and bus service?
In eight of our ten visits as a family, we have stayed in the Old Customs House. Smuggling must have been a bit of a problem on Scilly in the past, because in fact there are two Old Customs Houses. One is grandish affair close to the Holman’s Green where you can overlook the beach and harbour, while eating an ice cream, or watching children engage in mixed martial arts with the herring gull population.
Post Office Arch – Our Old Customs House is tucked away just through here
But we go for the more central of the two. Both are in the island’s main conurbation, Hugh Town, the centre of which is, to us tourists at least, the Co-op. The more visible of the two Old Customs Houses, the one near the green, is a good 100 yards from the co-op, which means it is distinctly suburban when it comes to Hugh Town, but our former coastal watchtower is right in the heart of the city.
Our morning journey for croissant involves a staircase, a dash under the famous post office arch (see left) and eight steps to cross the road. Then we are there. It means we can get a proper choice of pastries before they are gobbled up by the adventurous sorts who spend the night docked in the harbour.
Lynne Thomas is our landlady, a lovely Scillonian who is a wealth of knowledge about the islands, and particularly its comings and goings. She lives in a downstairs apartment while we take two weeks over two floors in the upstairs duplex.
It was there, in fact, where we discovered the most astonishingly boring board game ever invented. It is called Exploration, and is amazingly complex. Players collect equipment and manpower before setting off to explore mountains, ancient lands and seas, collecting goodies on their way. Now, as you will imagine, preparing for such a real adventure would take months, even years, of preparation, plus weeks of travel, search and return. Trust me, this game seems as though it is played in real time.’