Isles of Scilly

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About Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are the UK’s last outpost before America, a sunny archipelago off the coast of Cornwall that’s a refuge for all sorts of wildlife and plant-life, as well as for travellers looking for an unusual island escape. The Scillies are a varied group, with rocky ones and sandy ones, inhabited and uninhabited, bustling and arty or more traditional. There’s plenty to offer walkers and sailors, as well as anyone looking for a beautiful patch of white sand to relax on. We recommend seeing as many as you can — it’s relatively easy to boat hop between them — but this is a relatively small destination, and there aren’t a huge range of hotels to choose from, so when you decide on one of the best places to stay on the Isles of Scilly for you, you may want to stay put.  Our picks include a wonderfully converted castle, and seaside options directly overlooking the beach and the sea.

Whether you’re a beach lover or not, the sea plays a big part in any visit to the Scilly Isles: this is where you’ll see seals, dolphins and basking sharks, plus puffins and other rare sea birds, and it’s probably the backdrop to a lot of the fun activities you have planned. The islands’ varied landscapes offer sub-tropical plant species an opportunity to thrive, and the bright colours of the flora may leave you wondering how you could be in the UK!

When it comes to working out which island to stay on, bear in mind that Tresco and Bryher are privately owned, and there’s very little accommodation available on St. Martins. St. Mary’s is the largest island, with the largest town and harbour, St. Hugh’s, so this is where you’ll find the majority of the best places to stay on the Isles of Scilly.

The Best Places to Stay on the Isles of Scilly

For an Island Escape

  • The Star Castle Hotel on St Mary's may just be one of the most unusual places you’ve ever considered staying. Built in the 16th century, the castle is a star-shaped structure, behind a sturdy, star-shaped fortress-like wall. Some of the 38 rooms and suites are within the main building, while some are just outside, providing a bit more space for families. There’s a cellar bar and two excellent restaurants, where guests are invited to partake in the owner’s two passions: wine and lobster (fishing). A good option for walkers too.
  • The Hell Bay Hotel is a seaside hotel on remote Bryher Island. White and blue inside and out, with ocean views and a relaxed atmosphere. The 25 rooms are more like suites, many sleeping four, and opening out onto private, sea-view patios. From here there’s nothing but a jumble of rocks between you and America! What we are particularly impressed by is the collection of original art, and the 3 AA Rosette rated restaurant — specialising in local seafood. It’s not easy to get to, but it’s well worth the effort.

For Families

  • St Mary's Hall Hotel, in Hugh Town, St. Mary’s is a 19th Century mansion turned comfortable, 22 room hotel. We love the location — the views are incredible and you’re just a few minutes from the harbour. There’s a bar and restaurant, which spills out onto the front lawn when the weather allows. It's a great choice for families, who will do well in the family-sized suites, which also have kitchenettes. Relaxed and friendly.

For a Beach Break

  • Karma St Martins is right on the edge of the beach, directly overlooking the sea; there is just a low stone wall between the lush hotel gardens and white sand. Inside the two storey hotel building are 30 rooms and suites, plus a great seafood restaurant, and friendly bar. The decor is crisp and contemporary and there’s a good range of room sizes, including some romantic options, and family-sized suites. Dogs are welcome too.

Prefer a Private Apartment or Cottage?

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner,

Travel Information

  • Fixed wing planes operated by Skybus fly from Land's End, Cornwall Airport Newquay, and Exeter International Airport to St. Mary's Airport. The other way onto the island is by ferry, which runs out of Penzance, and crosses to Hugh Town, St. Mary’s, in about two and a half hours.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • The Scilly Isles have a temperate, Oceanic climate, which means they're one of the warmest parts of the UK, but this sunny outlook varies to raging seas and haunting coastal mist come late autumn and winter. In spring the gorse scent fills the air, heralding the time to repaint boats and welcome sandwich terns, willow warblers, swallows and sand martins. It’s the ideal time to visit for walkers. Summer is probably the most popular time to visit, when the islands seem every bit the island paradise, complete with warm-blue skies and swimming-temperature seas. Autumn draws the artists and migrating birds, the seals will have their pups and the islands bring in their farmed and foraged harvests. Winter can be stormy, but it can also be spectacularly beautiful, and while this is supposed to be a fallow time of year for plants, this is when the Scilly Isles flower farmers are busiest, and the fields are still awash with colour. Perfect for enjoying blustery walks and cosy pub fires.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Isles of Scilly

Best Hotels in Isles of Scilly

  • Star Castle Hotel St Mary's, Isles of Scilly 38 rooms from $242

    Exclusive offer  -  5 nights for 4
    Tennis  -  The tennis court is located a short stroll away and rackets and balls are available from reception.
    Views  -  Some of the best views on the island.
    Swimming Pool  -  Heated indoor pool
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    TennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

    Delightful family-run hotel set in a star-shaped castle on St Marys Island. The newly refurbished rooms are extremely comfortable and well decorated, with quaint details. Fresh, local, seasonal produce sets the tone for the on site restaurant. Totally charming! See More

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  • St Mary's Hall Hotel Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly 22 rooms from $122

    Total relaxation  -  Rejuvenate the mind and body with scenic strolls, deep soaking tubs, in-room massages and restorative food.
    Country Escape  -  Both by land and sea there are few other spots with more unspoilt scenery than this.
    Sights nearby  -  Just beside St Mary's Church, well worth a visit for its lovely stain glass windows.
    Great walks  -  Great walks to be had all around, ask the owners for their favourite trodden paths.

    An elegant and contemporary Hugh Town hotel, just minutes from the harbour. Stylish and comfortable rooms with spectacular views and chic interiors. Enjoy fine dining in the revamped restaurant bar or alfresco on the front lawn. A fantastic find. See More

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  • Hell Bay Hotel Bryher, Isles of Scilly 25 rooms from $179

    Beach Life  -  This island has everything to offer from fishing, to sailing, beach combing and birdwatching.
    Foodies  -  The restaurant has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes
    Great walks  -  Take a walk on the beach or up Badplace Hill for unforgettable views of Hell Bay and Shipman Head.
    TennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViews
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

    A stylish hotel on the remote Bryher Island. Homely suites follow a beach chic theme, think blues, whites and seashells. Most have patios with magnificent sea views. The on site restaurant produces a delicious range of dishes from seasonal locally sourced produce. A grown up beach hideaway. See More

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  • Karma St Martins St Martin's, Isles of Scilly 30 rooms from $256

    Beach Life  -  A tranquil retreat located next to a beach complete with white sands and turquoise waters
    Diving  -  Take fascinating dives through historic shipwrecks
    Restaurant  -  Cloudesley Shovell restaurant
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    RestaurantGardenPet friendly

    A boutique hotel in a spectacular setting overlooking the white sands of St Martin's Island. Chic rooms have been beautifully styled offering a contemporary take on traditional design. The restaurant (unsurprisingly) specialises in seafood and is superb. A spoiling island retreat. See More

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