Isles of Scilly: Bryher and St Marys
The Isles of Scilly are a collection of 140 islands - the smallest, no larger than a rock and the largest no bigger than three by two miles. Life is different on the Scilly's, and I was able to experience it first hand during a sunny weekend in July.
The Isles of Scilly may only be 28 miles away from Lands End, but it felt like a world away from the rest of England. What could be looked at as Cornwall's own tropical islands, the Isles of Scilly offer a magical escape away from real life.
"It's easy to be seduced by the unique charm of the Isles of Scilly. My creative soul was inspired - exactly what I needed."
Our trip began with hopping on to the Scillonian- a ferry that docks at Penzance and sails across the Atlantic for 2.45 hours before reaching St Mary's - the largest island out of the Scilly's (a day trip to the islands would give you an insight into how beautiful they are and will be sure to encourage you to come back for longer). The ferry left Penzance at 8am and we began exploring the islands by 11am -the only question we needed to ask ourselves was, what island first?
Our transfer boat (The Firethorn) over to Bryher wasn't until 2pm - we didn't mind as it gave us some time to explore the capital on St Mary's - Hugh Town. The town was no bigger than a tiny mainland village but oozed character and charm. As we strolled through the town, I couldn't help but notice the sense of friendliness and interest the islanders showed. I mean... us Cornish lot are a friendly bunch, but this was something special.
After a few hours of exploring, we found a gorgeous pub called The Atlantic that looked over the bay. We sipped on white wine as we exchanged our initial thoughts. We had already decided that the Isles of Scilly's had won us over - but guess what...we hadn't seen anything yet.
For me, the boat ride over to Bryher was the highlight. The turquoise waters and the white sands would outshine any Caribbean island. Never had I felt more at peace.
We had the honour of staying on Bryher Campsitein a lovely tent fit for two. The view from the tent was just unbelievable and the campsite itself was one of the cleanest that I had ever come across (I've done a fair bit of camping in my 23 years of life). Tom and Jo who own the campsite made us feel completely at home, and they were more than willing to offer their help with literally anything.
Kerry who works on the campsite shared her stories of her Island life with us. I couldn't help but fire questions at her - the way of life over on the islands really intrigued me and I desperately wanted to know more.
Kerry's sixteen and lives with a family in Truro during term time (mainland Cornwall) and returns home to the islands every half term. There is a school on St Mary's, but when it comes to college, islanders have to head to the mainland. I asked Kerry whether she wanted to move away from the Islands after education - her answer was no. Do you know what? I don't blame her.
Bryher, Bryher, Bryher - you have my heart. With only one hotel, a campsite, one post office, a pub and a shop, it's easy to be seduced into the unique charm of this beautiful island. My creative soul was inspired - exactly what I needed. A photographers paradise with clear blue waters and white sands on one side, yet rocky coastline and crashing waves on the other. There was nothing better than throwing on our backpacks and walking off the beaten track to see what we could find. With only 85 people living on the island you are very unlikely to bump into anyone.
Now, how can I write about Bryher without mentioning Hell Bay Hotel? On the Saturday evening, we walked along the path (there are no such thing as pavements) to Bryher's only hotel and fine dining restaurant. With a stunning three course dinner, we were spoilt with fresh, local produce - many people had told me how wonderful Hell Bay was, so I was expecting good things - they were right, I was absolutely blown away.
I dug into white crab meat with peach and almonds for starter, followed by pan fried fillet of sea bass, scallop and shrimp for main, and chocolate and peanut butter parfait for desert. As we laughed over dinner and chatted about our Bryher adventures the sun began to set over the ocean causing the orange shades to reflect and lighten up the whole island - I smiled to myself - this place really is magical.
The following day, we woke up in our tent to the sound of the ocean. As I zipped open the door, the sun hit me and I knew that my best friend and I were in for another incredible day on paradise.
If you're planning a trip to the Islands (YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO) then head to www.visitislesofscilly.com for more information - I promise you won't regret it!
*IOS Travel offered us a complimentary trip (partner incl Visit Isles of Scilly, Hell Bay, Bryher Campsite in exchange for a review - all opinions are my own)*