Bryher is the smallest of all the inhabited islands in the Isles of Scilly with a population of around 80 people. It therefore provides a secluded, private and tranquil holiday experience. Nonetheless it boasts a community centre, bar, restaurant, hotel, camp site and holiday cottages, along with spectacular beaches, cliffs, wild horses and attractive scenery. A lovely place for a day trip or to stay, Bryher is well worth a visit.



Hell Bay is an Atlantic-facing cove which is known for its shipwrecks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, though this is also sometimes thought to be mythical rather than historical.


Bryher has been made famous by the author Michael Morpurgo, who features the island in his books The Wreck of the Zanzibar, Why the Whales Came and the Sleeping Sword. As a tribute to the island, Morpurgo donated a small library of books to the community centre there. The place is also found in the movie When the Whales Came and the BBC adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In 1990 Bar Quay (Anna-Quay) was built as part of the TV programme Challenge Anneka, though it has since been replaced. Bryher is even a popular girl’s name. Bryher may the smallest island, but it has certainly received its fair share of fictional and cinematic attention.


To get to Bryher you’ll need to get the plane, helicopter or ferry from the mainland over to St Mary’s, and then take a short boat ride from there. Once you’re on the island you method of transport will be to walk but, given its size, this will not be too much of an issue for most people. There is a fairly regular transport service between the islands, run by Bryher Boats, so you will have easy access to other spots for the odd day trip during your stay.

Nature and Wildlife

Bryher has quite a rugged interior, with a coastal landscape characterised variously by high cliffs and beautiful beaches. The island has three sites of Special Scientific Interest. The first is Shipman Head and Shipman Down, where you’ll find maritime heather and rare plants. The second is the Pool of Bryher and Popplestone Bank, a natural lagoon separated from the sea. The third is Rushy Bay and Heathy Hill, whilst the island is also visited by various species of breeding sea birds such as the European Storm-Petral and the Greater Black-backed Gull.


Bryher houses a grocery store and post office, a cafe, restaurant and bar, as well as its own community centre which various entertainments provided. Other activities include kayaking, swimming, cliff walking, boat rides, small boat hire and punting, making full use of this wonderful stretch of shoreline. If these things don’t suit then the island’s hotel has its own mini golf course, and the camp site has its own football pitch. If you are still bored after all this, perhaps take a trip try out the activities of another island for the day.


Bryher has a camp site, an up market hotel, B&B’s and various holiday cottages. Though very basic, do not expect a resort, the camp site offers a clean shower/toilet block and fresh water, but there are no cooking facilities there so be prepared to eat out (booking is essential) or bring a camping stove. In short, you can therefore happily find some great accommodation to suit most budgets but you may have to make some allowances depending on where you stay.

Thanks for taking a look at this introduction to Bryher in the Isles of Scilly. If you want to learn more, just check out some of the other islands: click here to read about Tresco.