Great reasons to visit Scilly in 2018
Need an excuse to get away to the islands in 2018? Here are our top 10 events and festivals taking place this year, giving you every good reason to put the Isles of Scilly on your holiday calendar.
- Walk Scilly 4th - 14th April
- World Pilot Gig Championships 4th - 6th May
- Spring Scilly Swim Challenge 12th May
- Art Scilly Week 12th May – 18th May (TBC)
- Scilly Folk Festival 24th - 29th May
- Ötillö World Series Qualifier 9th & 10th June
- Taste of Scilly - All of September
- Scilly Swim Challenge 15th - 18th September
- Walk Scilly Weekend 11th - 15th October
- Christmas Street Festival - 21st December
Walk Scilly 2018 will be bigger and better this year as we extend this great little walking festival to 11 days across the Easter holidays, from 4th to 14th April. Whether you're a seasoned walker or an occasional stroller, whether you're here with children or here on your own, this is a fantastic opportunity to really get to know the islands. Enjoy our unique natural environment and island way of life as expert Scillonian guides take you on a series of themed walks across the archipelago.
Join the pageant that is the World Pilot Gig Championships from 4th to 6th May. Hundreds of crews descend on the islands from Cornwall and further afield (some as far away as Bermuda) to compete in traditional pilot gigs and become World Championship rowers. Town Beach fills with gigs, pubs fill with bands and party go-ers, and the islands celebrate their busiest weekend of the year.
Take the plunge and put yourself to the ultimate test - to swim and walk the islands in one day. Although it's not a race, you certainly need to be fit for this Scilly Swim Challenge on 12th May. Setting off from and returning to St Mary's, you'll swim between all the inhabited islands in groups (shadowed by safety boats) and walk the length of them all too. It's a brilliant day, full of fun, camaraderie and stamina as well as an overwhelming sense of achievement at the end.
For the more sedate visitor, an exploration of Scilly's artistic and creative community may be more up your alley. Art Scilly Week, from 12th May, offers workshops, masterclasses and courses in a wide range of media, hosted by resident artists and artisans who have come to Scilly inspired by their natural surroundings. Try your hand at watercolours, painting with oils, linocut printing, creating mandalas, or painting silk scarves, making beach-inspired jewellery or stained glass decorations.
If you're planning a Whitsun weekend getaway, then dig out your fiddle, find your voice and set sail for the 2018 Scilly Folk Festival (24th– 29th May). Five days of fun, frolics and musical entertainment brought to you by Cornish folk bands and island-based musicians.
In June, we welcome back some of Europe's elite athletes - and a selection of Scilly's finest swim runners - as 150 teams of endurance athletes compete in the international swim-run spectacle that is Ötillö. This world-series qualifier takes place on 10th June across St. Mary’s, Tresco, Bryher and St. Martin’s on a 37km swim and run course between the islands. Winners qualify for a place in the Championship final in Sweden in September. The shorter "sprint" race around St. Mary's takes place on Saturday 9th June.
Come September, and it's time to tuck into mouth-watering seafood, fine island wines and Scilly ales at Taste of Scilly, a month-long celebration of the very best in local produce across the islands. Expect pop-up beach barbecues, fish for your supper nights, farm tours and tastings, gourmet lunches, chef's demos, Taste of Scilly cream teas, cider and ale festivals, and "Dine the Islands" events.
Also in September, the Scilly Swim Challenge returns (in seas a degree or two warmer than in May). Choose to swim and walk the islands over one or two days between 15th and 18th September and experience the amazing open water swimming and beautiful scenery that Scilly has to offer. There'll also be the chance to take part in a walk between the islands as our exceptionally low spring tides allow.
Then in October, why not enjoy an Indian summer on Scilly, or an autumnal blow, and grab yourself a late break timed to take in the Walk Scilly Weekend. From 11th – 15th October, you’ll be treated to a sparkling array of wild walks, rare migrating birds and superb wildlife as you walk the islands or hop onto a wildlife safari with resident expert guides. It's a fantastic time of year to experience Scilly's truly amazing wildlife.
And finally, if you're up for a bit of a winter escape away from mainland hustle and bustle, consider a Christmas break on the islands. Scilly does it quietly with style; panache without the hype. And for the last few years, we've put on a fabulous pre-Christmas street party. This year, it takes place on Friday 21st December so why not come and join the locals who'll be returning to the island to see their family and friends and enjoying the pop street stalls, live music and entertainment?