Cultural Heritage

Proud to have strong links to the sea

Scilly’s cultural heritage revolves around the sea, something that all Scillonian families are proud of. Aside from tourism which now accounts for the most part of our economy, our heritage actually lies with the traditional pastimes of farming, fishing and pilot gig rowing – all of which prosper on the islands to this day.

Flower growing blooms across Scilly. The islands grow narcissi, daffodils and scented pinks, to name a few, which are distributed and/or sold via mail order across the mainland. The vivid patchwork of yellow and white fields stirring into life from October onwards is a sight to behold. Some farmers have also diversified into harvesting herbs for essential oils as well as keeping small herds of free range beef and dairy cows. You may also spot a few sheep and pigs!

All Scillonians have strong links with the sea and throughout the summer, local fishermen go hauling their catch and landing the finest shellfish, lobster, crawfish and crab. Other fish such as John Dory, megrim, and mackerel are also landed here delighting our island chefs who make the most of these delicious catches. You can buy fresh fish at Tanglewood Kitchen, The Farm Deli and the butchers. Or you can get involved: from on-shore fishing to organised boat fishing, take the opportunity to catch your own supper!

Rowing in pilot gigs is a highly competitive sport on Scilly. Carrying on the traditions of the past, when pilots would guide larger vessels through the perilous waters, the islanders' race every week during the summer, ladies on Wednesday evenings, and men on Friday evenings. In May every year, Scilly hosts the World Pilot Gig Championships when more than 130 crews and their gigs descend on the islands.