I love the Isles of Scilly and have many stories to tell of my time filming there, from sunken treasure ships to its fascinating wildlife. I will also talk about my long career in television from Newsround to Countryfile.John Craven OBE
Experience the spectacular scenery and beautiful gardens of the Isles of Scilly with John Craven
The gorgeous Isles of Scilly are celebrated for their peace and tranquility - a delightful haven where you can immerse yourself in beautiful nature, lush gardens, gorgeous views and unique wildlife.
On this busy six-day trip, you can discover this wonderul destination for yourself, and understand why visitors are tempted back by its charms year upon year. You'll visit some of the islands' loveliest locations, including a guided visit to Tresco Abbey Gardens (often referred to as 'Kew without the glass') and its impressive sub-tropical plants.
The Scilly Isles are home to many species that you won't find anywhere else in the UK. On hadn to help educate you about them is the Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Julian Branscombe, who will join you for a day out, and for a dinner and talk. Countryfile presenter John Craven OBE will also spend a day with your group, and will join for dinner one evening to talk about his career and host a Q&A.
Your base for the trip will be the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary's. This historic hotel dates back to the sixteenth Century, and serves up flavoursome meals in its restaurant prepared from the freshest local ingredients - you might even dine on catch of the day. The hotel has attractive secluded gardens and a heated indoor pool, ideal for relaxing between excursions.
Please note this is a full and busy itinerary, so a good degree of mobility is needed to get the most from this trip, which involves plenty of walking and getting in and out of boats.
Reasons to book
Visit Tresco Abbey Garden
Stay in an historic hotel
Exclusive events with John Craven OBE
Hear from Julian Branscombe
Your expert guide
- Full services of a tour manager throughout the tour
- Five nights' accommodation at the four-star Star Castle, St Mary's
- Five breakfasts
- Lunch at a local pub on St Agnes
- Lunch on Bryher at the Hell Bay Hotel
- Lunch on St Martins
- Three dinners at the hotel
- Dinner and talk with John Craven OBE
- Dinner and talk with Mike Nelhams, Curator of Tresco's Abbey Gardens
- Dinner and talk with Julian Branscombe, CEO, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust
- Guided tour with Julian Branscombe
- Return ferry from Penzance to St Mary's
- Boat transfers between the islands
- Guided visit to Tresco Abbey Gardens
- Guided walk on St Agnes
- Wildlife cruise from St Agnes
- All entrance fees
Day1St Mary'sSt Mary's, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Today you'll arrive at Penzance and meet your tour group at the departure terminal for the Scillonian ferry. Here you'll meet your expert tour manager, who will greet you and assist you with check-in.
Once you arrive on St Mary's, you'll make your way to The Star Castle Hotel, your home for the next five nights.
After check-in, take some time to explore the headland of Hugh Town, with its shops, cafés, galleries, restaurants and pubs, before joining a welcome meeting later in the afternoon.
Day2St Martin'sSt Martin's, Scilly Isles, United Kingdom
Today you'll explore the lovely isle of St Martin's, where you'll discover the island's ruggedly beautiful shoreline. Little St Martin's is just two miles long but boasts some of the finest beaches in the British Isles.
You'll have lunch at the St Martin's Karma Hotel, in its AA acclaimed two-Rosette Cloudesley Shovell restaurant. Here you can be sure of the freshest of fresh seafood. You can even watch the fisherman bring in the daily catch of lobster and crab straight from the crystal waters on the hotel's doorstep.
After lunch, you'll pay a visit to St Martin's Vineyard, a unique coastal vineyard and winery working towards organic production of white, red and rose wines.
Day3BryherBryher, United Kingdom
Today you'll take the boat to beautiful Bryher where lunch has been arranged at the luxury Hell Bay Hotel. Bryher is an island of exciting contrasts. On one side you have the roaring Atlantic Ocean and a rugged coastline, while on the other side, you'll find tranquil waters and powder-soft beaches.
Hell Bay is on the Atlantic side, and from here you can watch as dramatic waves thunder into the bay. The restaurant at Hell Bay Hotel is one of the best-rated in the Isles of Scilly. You'll tuck into award-winning dishes at the hotel bar, which use the finest ingredients from the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall and the wider West Country.
Day4St AgnesSt Agnes (Scilly Isles), United Kingdom
This morning, following another hearty breakfast, you'll make your way to the jetty and hop on the ferry transfer to St Agnes, where you'll take a guided walk around the island's coastline.
There's plenty to see along St Agnes' coast, from rocky outcrops on its exposed west side to paradise beaches in its sheltered coves. There's a sandbar that links St Agnes with the tiny neighbouring island of Gugh, where you'll find white sand and crystal-clear water.
You'll tuck into lunch at a local pub before taking a fascinating marine wildlife cruise, where you have a chance to spot some of the special animals and birds who call the Scillies home.
Day5TrescoTresco, United Kingdom
After breakfast, you'll meet your tour manager and your guide for the day. You'll make your way to the jetty and take the boat transfer to Tresco, where you'll visit the world-famous Tresco Abbey Garden, home to a collection of some 20,000 plants from 80 countries.
The garden was established in the 19th century around the ruins of an old Benedictine Abbey and is now home to a fantastic variety of plants from all over the world, including Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa. The garden changes throughout the year as different species thrive. In spring, flowers bloom here weeks before they do on the mainland, thanks to the Tresco's special sub-tropical climate.
Day6DepartureSt Mary's, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
After your final breakfast at The Star Castle, you'll enjoy some free time on St Mary's before taking the Scillonian ferry back to Penzance.
Situated on St Mary's - the most inhabited island of the Isles of Scilly - Star Castle offers a prime position for exploring the archipelago of over 140 islands - set within the warm Gulf Stream waters. Head south of the island to explore Porthcressa Beach and Peninnis Head, before crossing the airfield-runway to Porth Helick with its famous granite-rocks and ancient burial site.
By plane: Newquay Airport (30 minutes), Exeter (1 hour), Lands End (15 minutes). A Skybus shuttle bus runs from Lands End airport to outside Penzance railway station.
By boat: the Scillionian III Passenger Ferry departs from Penzance Quay with a travel time of 2 hours 45 minutes.
THE LOOK AND FEEL
Converted into a hotel in 1933, Star Castle was originally built in the sixteenth-century, in the shape of an eight-pointed star with its own moat. The Francis family took over in 2003, thoughtfully transforming it into a charming family-friendly retreat, retaining original features, to create characterful communal spaces that reflect the hotels incredible history and purpose.
Star Castle boasts two award-winning restaurants, a bar, a heated indoor pool and tennis court, as well as its very own boatman, who visits daily, inviting guests aboard his Calypso boat for day trips to the off-islands. Expect the warmest welcome from the outset. Many of the rooms are dog-friendly, welcoming your canine pal with a blanket, water-bowl and treats.
- Swimming pool
- Tennis court
- Golf court
BED AND BATH
Retreat to one of the hotel's characterful beamed guest bedrooms, charming cottage-style garden room or suite with either a sea or harbour view. Contemporary styling in subtle hues offers welcoming light-filled spaces to relax and enjoy the views.
Room types: Guard Rooms, Castle Rooms, Superior Castle Rooms, Garden Rooms and Suites, Superior Garden Suites, Family Rooms
Key amenities: ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, TV, free WiFi.
FOOD AND DRINK
Fresh, seasonal-fare is created using locally sourced ingredients, with a focus on seafood and quality wines. Daily-changing menus offer beautifully presented plates of fascinating flavours.
The Castle Restaurant: fine dining, locally caught seafood, kitchen garden produce. Open March-November for breakfast and dinner. Two courses from £36.50.
The Conservatory: fresh seafood, alfresco dining. Open April-October for breakfast and dinner. Pricing as above.