ENGLAND’S ENCHANTING ARCHIPELAGO
Why visit the Isles of Scilly?
Nestling just 35 miles off the coast of Cornwall, these islands are like nowhere else in England. Outstandingly beautiful, uncrowded and unspoilt, they seem like a world apart from everyday life. Arrive by small plane from Exeter, Newquay or Land’s End or by the passenger ferry Scillonian lll from Penzance. This cluster of low-lying islands lie amid a turquoise lagoon, some fringed by rocks, others by white sandy beaches, and all bathed in a light of wonderful intensity. There are five inhabited islands, and throughout the day fleets of colourful launches ferry people to and fro. Each of the islands has a distinct identity and special character.
St. Mary’s –the largest island, but less than 2.5 square miles. It's the central hub with a number of excellent pubs and a cluster of shops as well as the health centre, two banks, the Post Office and a remarkable museum of island life. There are only 6 miles of roads but over 30 miles of paths and nature trails. The capital, Hugh Town, lies between two sandy beaches, one side being the main harbour. The Tourist Information Centre can be found at the top of Porthcressa beach.
St. Agnes – is the last bit of England before you reach America and probably a separate island for over 1,000 years; the water which separates it from the other islands is much deeper than that which laps their beaches so it’s always been out on its own and has probably seen more shipwrecks too.
Bryher - on some days this little island can be almost frighteningly bleak as waves, having gathered momentum for 2,000 miles, smash into Hell Bay, and then the next day it can be almost achingly beautiful and calm. There is a stark contrast between the west side and the much softer east side which faces across the sheltered Channel to neighbouring Tresco. Sometimes you can even walk between the two islands on very low tides.
Tresco – is one of the unique places of the world and recently placed amongst the Top Ten Islands in the world by National Geographic Magazine. It owes this status to its quite remarkable flora to be found in every hedgerow but which is all brought together in the world famous Abbey Garden. Nearly 200 people live here and run the place.
St Martin’s – arguably the most picturesque of all the islands with glorious sweeping beaches adorning the edges of its crescent shape . A little like Bryher it, too, has a rugged weather beaten side to the north east and a much gentler, sheltered side to the south and west. In the distance the Eastern Isles sit like a shimmering necklace low in the water – a favourite haunt of seals which you can swim and snorkel amongst.
This new cultural festival will celebrate the islands’ culture and creativity on a scale beyond anything hosted on the islands before. Building on the foundations of the long established and well-loved Art Scilly week, the Creative Scilly Festival will feature an eclectic mix of events from visual art, literature, comedy and the spoken word to hands-on workshops, demonstrations, public art displays, performances, gallery openings and fun nights out across the five islands.
The Festival will play host to a range of performers and artists from both Cornwall and further afield, complementing the rich and varied creative talents and artistic community so abundant on the islands
Just some of the highlights of the 13-day festival include performances of charming music and the spoken word by the celebrated folk quartet The Story Republicans, will be visiting various venues. Stamp and Go, who will deliver the Bishop and the Diva, a radio play telling the scandalous story set on Rosevear when the Bishop Rock lighthouse was being built; and Ed Rowe, the Kernow King, who makes another welcome return to the islands he so loves for a stand-up comedy night, a workshop at the Five Islands School and readings of his new play script. Rogue Theatre will dish up a taste of their magical and hilarious performances; celebrated Cornish novelist and writer Wyl Menmuir leads a creative writing course, and Harbottle and Jonas return to Scilly for a couple of folk concerts around the islands. Crime novelist and award-winning poet, Kate Rhodes will also be joining the festival to share her new work which is based on Scilly including the Hell Bay crime series.
Throughout the festival, there will also be a range of arts and crafts workshops led by local artists, in particular from the Phoenix Craft Studios, a co-operative of six artists and craftspeople on St. Mary’s whose work beautifully bears witness to Scilly’s untamed wildlife and landscapes.
Other highlights include the chance to join artist Sue Lewington, well known for her published sketchbooks of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, on a sketching walk, the opportunity to learn to weave at a workshop on St. Agnes with Trish Peacock of Twisted Bobbins, a “magical fish” pottery workhop with Bryher’s Alex Bagnall, a “cowbell” workshop with St. Martin’s based silver jewellery maker, Fay Page, sketching and watercolour workshops with Stephen Morris, wildlife and rockpool walks with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, or an evening of music at the candlelit Old Town Church with talented local musicians Duo Prospero.
Paint the Day returns this year as part of Creative Scilly – as budding artists young and old, local and visiting, amateur and professional, are challenged to capture a day on Tresco (on Saturday 11th May) with the resulting masterpieces all displayed and shared at the Island Gallery, and prizes awarded to the winning entries in a number of categories.
Creative Scilly will also see the launch of “Walking stories” – five new audio books which have been specially commissioned to be best enjoyed on each of the inhabited islands. Highlights will be Piers Lewin and Wyl Menmuir’s St Agnes story and Walking with Wilkie on St. Mary’s, delivered by Jak Stringer.
To book for any of the events already on sale, please click the name of the event and you will be provided with further details on how and where to book, while a number of the larger events can be booked HERE.
Full list of events visit our WEBSITE
Scilly Folk Festival
Hot on the heels of the Creative Scilly Festival is the ever-popular annual Scilly Folk Festival. A long weekend of music, song and dance is in store, featuring some of the best folk music from Scilly and the South West. The Festival will take place from Friday 24th to Tuesday 28th May 2019.
The programme includes:
Thursday 23rd May
8pm - Welcome Session at On the Quay, St. Mary's
Friday 24th May
La Fayette, 3 Daft Monkeys at the Town Hall, St. Mary's
Saturday 25th May
8pm - Barn Dance at the Town Hall, St. Mary's
Sunday 26th May
Lunchtime session at the New Inn, Tresco
Monday 27th May
8pm - Rough Island Band at the Town Hall, St. Mary's
Tuesday 28th May
The festival that has foodies flocking to the Isles of Scilly,
Taste of Scilly, is back this September with a month-long celebration of the very best in food, drink and produce from across the five inhabited islands.
The Taste of Scilly programme is packed with events sharing the unique low-food miles, slow-food culture of the famously unspoilt archipelago, 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. Throughout September, there’s a fresh foodie experience to savour every day, from lobster feasts to Scillonian produce markets, from beach barbecues to pasty-making workshops, from evening supper boats to Taste of Scilly cocktails and cream teas.
Throughout the islands, there’ll be lots of special Taste of Scilly offers and stories to be shared amongst all our passionate local producers, be they bakers, brewers, chefs, farmers, fishermen or fantastic foodie producers. There’ll also be wine tastings at Scilly’s two vineyards, and tours of micro-brewery Ales of Scilly.
For the full Taste of Scilly programme and more details, go to WEBSITE