St Mary’s is the largest of all the Isles of Scilly: it is the hub of island life, it houses the great bulk of its population, and it provides the crucial link to the mainland with its air and ferry ports. Despite its vibrancy and diversity, St Mary’s still retains its sense of calm. Well equipped, attractive and luxurious, this island marks the perfect combination of natural beauty and human comfortability. If you want a taste of the island experience whilst enjoying flexibility and the usual conveniences of life, then St Mary’s is a perfect option for your stay. It is truly a breath of fresh air.

 

History

St Mary’s boasts a powerful array of historical landmarks and monuments. It is home to no less than three castles: Harry;s Walls are the remains of an unfinished attempt to build an artillery castle; Star Castle has been converted into a wonderful hotel; and Giants Castle is a ruined monument. You will also find a telegraph tower dating from 1803, three churches (2 Anglican, 1 Methodist), a lighthouse, and a monument at Porthellick Cove for a maritime disaster of 1707. In rather more recent times, St Mary’s is the final resting ground of former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It is thus clear that holiday makers after a taste of history would do well to tour St Mary’s (as well as visiting Tresco).

Transport

St Mary’s is the transport hub of the Scilly Isles. Its airport is the only one throughout the Scilly isles, discounting the heliport on Tresco. The helicopter service operates flights to and from Penzance in Cornwall, whilst the light plane goes from Exeter, Land’s End, Southampton, Bristol and Newquay. Once you’ve arrived at the airport you can be collected by mini bus taxis. During your stay you can also hire bicycles or walk along beautiful nature trails. At the harbour you’ll find a regular boat service to the other islands, as well as a ferry which goes to Penzance. This ferry is also used as a replacement service if ever the helicopter and plane fights are cancelled for any reason, such as bad weather.

Nature and Wildlife

St Mary’s is a very peaceful and unspoilt part of the world: this much is clear from the presence of two nature reserves on the island and a host of lovely beaches, as well as nature trails, heaths, woodlands, sand dunes, marram grasses and marsh lands. It may be the most built up part of the Scilly Isles in absolute terms, but by most standards it remains a relatively natural area of real organic beauty.

Activities

St Mary’s really does have everything you need, not least a supermarket and the only cash point on the islands. You’ll find pubs, restaurants, cafes and kiosks, along with with all sorts of shops ranging from gift outlets to fashion stores. There are beautiful beaches, a museum, a football pitch, a swing park, a sailing centre, fishing trips, guided walks, gig races, bars with Sky TV and much more. If you are after a glorious island escape without sacrificing any of the entertainments of everyday life, then St Mary’s is the perfect holiday destination. It may not have the same quaintness of the smaller islands, but it certainly provides the most complete experience for tourists.

Accommodation

St Mary’s has a plethora of accommodation options, including a camp site and – next to that – the gorgeous Star Castle Hotel overlooking the sea. There are more hotels, inns, guest houses, self-catering cottages, apartments and B&B’s, so you will not be short of choice. All these options naturally fit all kinds of different budgets and tastes. You will also find lovely accommodation on the other islands, but the range and extent of accommodation here is beyond comparison.

If you would prefer a rather more quiet and isolated experience, to relax even more and get away from it all, try taking a look at our brief overview of St Agnes. Otherwise, thank you for reading about St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly.