St Agnes is the southernmost part of the inhabited Isles of Scilly, with its own lighthouse and a rock formation that looks like an elephant . The small but eclectic island is home to around 70-80 people and is also connected to the island of Gugh. Perhaps St Agnes will have less obvious appeal to most tourists than St Mary’s or Tresco, but it is well worth reading more to find out if it’s a place you would like to visit – maybe to stay, or maybe just a day trip.

 

History

The lighthouse was built in 1680 – it was coal fired until 1790, when it was converted to oil fired – and was the second lighthouse to be constructed in Cornwall. It is no longer operative as a lighthouse, however, since it was superseded by one on St Mary’s in 1911. There is also a nineteenth century church which is a grade 2 listed building, which was built after its sixteenth century and eighteenth century forerunners were destroyed in storms.

Transport

To access St Agnes, you will need to catch a flight or take the ferry from the mainland to St Mary’s island, and from there you can catch a boat ride to your final destination. Once you’re on the island, there is a regular boat service offering trips to all the other inhabited isles so you will not just be confined to one spot. St Agnes is the second smallest of all the major islands, so it should be quite easy to get around when you’re there.

Nature and Wildlife

One third of St Agnes is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with the landscape featuring a rocky coastline, heath and grassland. The island is very popular with bird watchers because it attracts various types of vagrant birds. The island was even home to Hilda M. Quick, author of Birds of the Scilly Isles (1964), who lived in Periglis Cottage.

Activities

In addition to visiting the lighthouse and church, and fitting in a spot of bird watching, you can to to the pub, dine in the fish restaurant, and see the only Scillonian dairy farm. Other activities include a treasure hunt and a maze, whilst you’ll also find a grocery store and a post office on the island. Like all the islands, St Agnes hosts its own fete every summer with many stalls for arts, crafts and refreshments. In short, St Agnes may not be the busiest or best-equipped of the Scilly Isles, but it is still attractive and charming, and offers a number of pursuits to residents and tourists.

Accommodation

At Agnes is the only one of the Scilly Isles without a hotel, but do not let that put you off. You will find B&B’s, self-catering cottages and a camp site.  Camping prices start from ?8 per person per night, self-catering units start at ?320 per week, and B&B rooms begin at ?40 per person. If you welcome comfort and privacy, or if you prefer the great outdoors, St Agnes therefore has something to offer, without you having to shell out a fortune on posh suites.

Thanks for reading this brief overview of St Agnes. In order to further explore the Isles of Scilly, click here to check out Bryher or click here to find out about St Martin’s.