Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly (Cornish: Ynysek Syllan) is a small archipelago of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Cornish coast in the South West part of the United Kingdom. The Isles of Scilly were designated an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1975.

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Islands

There are five inhabited islands:

Map of the Isles of Scilly
St. Mary's
By far the most populated island, the commercial and tourist centre with the boat dock and airport.
Bryher
The smallest of the inhabited islands is wild, windswept and quite magnificent.
St. Martin's
The most easterly of the islands and therefore the most sheltered from Atlantic storms; many small holdings growing flowers and vegetables.
St. Agnes
The southwesternmost inhabited outpost and perhaps the most charming of all the islands; the island of Gugh is joined to St Agnes at low tide and usually treated as part of it.
Tresco
The 2nd largest island is very grand indeed with the Abbey Gardens and an upmarket timeshare resort.
Uninhabited islands
These include Annet, The Eastern Isles, The Norrad Rocks, Samson (formerly inhabited), St. Helen's, Tean and The Western Rocks.

 

St. Mary's is the largest island with a population of around 3000. Most commerce is centred here as is the vast majority of the tourism related infrastructure. Hugh Town is the main centre. Tourist numbers are naturally limited by the spaces on the boat or planes, so in Scilly you can leave Cornwall's tourist hordes behind - and arguably enjoy even finer scenery.

The other four inhabited islands, collectively known as the off islands, are home to between 30 (Bryher) to 150 (Tresco) people.

Much of the land is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, a royal estate intended to provide an income for the heir to the throne, and you'll spot the characteristic signs of estate management here and there. It also means these quiet islands are frequently used by minor royalty as a holiday home where they can lead a normal life without being besieged by crowds.

Climate

The Isles of Scilly have a temperate Oceanic climate, amongst the mildest and warmest climates in the United Kingdom. The average annual temperature is 11.6 °C (for comparison the average in London is 11.0°C). Winters are amongst the warmest in the country due to southerly latitude and moderating effects of the ocean. Summers are not as warm as on the mainland. This is perhaps the sunniest area in the UK with on average 7.6 hours per day in July. On average there are less than 2 days of air frost per year. This balmy climate has resulted in the islands developing a thriving flower industry.