Tours & Excursions
Take a guided trip to discover a bit more
Throughout the season, every day of the week, there are a whole host of guided tours on Scilly from which to choose, both on and around the islands. From island walks and archaeological explorations to wildlife and marine excursions, and sunset trips, you’ll be able to delve into Scilly’s past and learn more about our natural habitat and wildlife, our culture and our lifestyle.
You can take a guided walk with one of Scilly's resident ornithologists or naturalists and see the many unusual birds that visit these islands as well as enjoy the splendid flora and fauna. Resident archaeologist Katharine Sawyer also leads walks to discover the history of the islands. The tours are very regular and take place on all the islands, so depending on where you are staying, you may need to take a boat. If you intend to take a tour to an unihabited islands, then a boat trip will be essential!
Why not enjoy scenic bus tour around St. Mary’s when you're visiting Scilly? Each tour stops at selected viewpoints and points out sites of interest including Harold Wilson’s house, Old Town and Star Castle. Informative and humorous commentary is provided by Glynne Lucas or Fred Elms, Scilly’s longest serving drivers/guides with 50 years’ experience between them. Tours take approximately 75 minutes and usually start at Holgate’s Green.
Boat trips to explore uninbabited islands
The uninhabited islands, with their raw, rugged edges, unique flora and fauna, and fantastic wildlife are best experienced in one of two ways: via a guided tour or a scenic boat trip. Trips and tours are readily advertised to the Eastern Isles (great for seal spotting), Norrard Rocks, and Annet for the birdlife and where in May, June and July you will spot colonies of puffins. On the island of Samson, you’ll most likely have to wade to shore, Robinson Crusoe style, but its spectacular beaches and recent history (it was inhabited by farmers and fishermen until the mid-1800s and haunting remains of granite houses, barns and boatsheds remain to this day) will astound you. Tean and St Helen’s too, offer fascinating insights to yesteryear’s Christian communities.
Wildlife and Marine excursions
There are many ways to enjoy the marine environment from the water. You can of course go diving for a close-up encounter of our marine wildlife and shipwrecks. If you prefer to keep dry, you can take a private charter with the 12-seater Crusader for a scenic wildlife cruise, take an sea safari or taste three islands in one day in one of the many small independent boatmen that operate from St. Mary’s Quay. A popular tour – and considered the king of trips - is a cruise to the iconic Bishop Rock Lighthouse, England’s final frontier. Another favourite is a tour to Eastern Isles – you cruise at low tide to see seals basking on the rocks, then explore St. Martin's, all in a day.
As the sun dips down at the end of the day, why not jump aboard a tripper boat and cheer on your favourite pilot gig crew? Boats follow the races on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Alternatively, wrap up warm and take to the water on one of many 'supper boats' which will take you to an off-island to enjoy a delicious meal at a restaurant of your choice. There’s nothing more beautiful than heading back home as the sun sets on the horizon!
Taking a tour from an off island
If you’re staying on Tresco, Bryher, St. Martin’s or St. Agnes, you’ll find that all the off-island boat operators offer special wildlife trips and scenic tours, similar to those mentioned above. Tour guides also operate walking tours to all the off islands.