A Fly and Sail Day Trip to St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Let’s island hop and set foot on new territory. The Isles of Scilly are calling and it’s time to shine the spotlight on the beautiful island of St Agnes.

a curved bay and sandbar with white sand

I’m not shy when it comes to visiting the Isles of Scilly. With a short stay on Tresco and a day trip to St Mary’s under my belt, I was excited to return and experience a different island with my son, Henry. For this day trip we headed over to St Agnes and fell in love with the surroundings all over again.

Travelling to the Isles of Scilly and St Agnes island

Whether you fly to the Isles of Scilly, travel by Scillonian III ferry, or choose to fly and sail like us, Isles of Scilly Travel have got you covered.

With the Isles of Scilly just 28 miles off the Cornish coast, and prices starting at £35 per person, a day trip to these gorgeous islands is totally achievable. It’s an affordable way to discover this archipelago, the range of experiences on offer, and create some wonderful memories that will stay with you forever.

the ISles of Scilly Skybus on the tarmac at Land's End airport

Myself and Henry flew to the main island, St Mary’s, on the SkyBus. If you’re wanting to island hop like we did, do consider your travel options. You will need to be on St Mary’s in time to catch a connecting boat to one of the neighbouring islands.

We loved our flight! The SkyBus is a 16 seater twin otter with a partially open cockpit. I can only imagine how much fun it is to fly one of these. The flight from Land’s End to the Isles of Scilly is only about 15 minutes but you can also fly from Newquay. The scenery from the sky is breathtaking. Flying at 15,000 feet, we could see the ripples and creases in the sea below. We could make out every field of Cornish and Scillonian countryside, as well as the nuances of the rugged rocks and coastline below.

The coast of St Mary's from a plane

Flying towards the islands is incredible. The views are out of this world and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re approaching some islands in the Caribbean. We arrived on St Mary’s just before 9am and our bags were ready to collect as soon as we stepped foot in to arrivals. It was very smooth and easy.

While we opted for a fly and sail day trip, I have previously visited St Mary’s for the day, travelling both legs of the journey on the Scillonian III. It’s a great way to get to the Isles of Scilly. You still get plenty of time of roam the island, do an activity of your choice and have a bite to eat.

a beach with a single boat on the water

Arriving at St Mary’s

We had about an hour on St Mary’s before getting the boat to St Agnes island. To make the most of this time, we walked from the airport into Hugh Town. It was a good way to see some unfamiliar parts of the island. However, there is transport ready to take you from the airport into Hugh Town, if you prefer.

Hugh Town is St Mary’s town centre. It’s here you’ll find most of the shops and places to eat. There are other restaurants, tea rooms and art galleries dotted around the island, and if you opt to walk the coast, you won’t be disappointed. We enjoyed nipping in and out of the shops and having a bit of time on nearby Porthmellon Beach.

a row of houses on St Mary's island
a yellow sanded beach with fishing boats

Be prepared for the beaches on the Isles of Scilly. They are insanely beautiful. It’s hard to believe beaches can look like this good within the British Isles. They have light sand, almost white in fact and it’s talcum powder soft. When the sun shines, you’re greeted with the best coastal colour palette. Tropical hues of vibrant turquoise and rich green vegetation. It’s mesmerising and breathtaking.

The sandbar linking St Agnes with Gugh Island
The strip of sand between Gugh and St Agnes on the Isles of Scilly

Spending time on St Agnes island

The boat to St Agnes takes about 20 minutes – we really enjoyed it. As soon as we stepped on St Agnes, the cloud started to clear and the sun made an appearance.

St Agnes is the smallest of all the inhabited islands and the most southerly. It’s connected to another island, Gugh, by a sandbar which is only exposed at low tide. St Agnes is totally unspoilt and incredibly peaceful. It’s home to somewhere around 80 people, with 3 people living on Gugh.

One thing I like about the Isles of Scilly is each island, to me, seems to have it’s own personality. I’d say St Agnes is the most remote and wild that I’ve experienced. St Agnes is often easily recognised because of its 17th century lighthouse which stands tall in the middle of the island.

Crystal clear sea on St Agnes ISles of Scilly
large stones with on a beach with tropical water

Swimming in the clear turquoise water

Once on St Agnes, Henry and I gasped and looked in awe at the tombolo, or sandbar reaching across to Gugh. We headed in that direction and decided to swim in the irresistible looking sea. It was gorgeous and I could’ve stayed in for much longer, luxuriating in the salty swirls. Apparently swimming here is fine when the sandbar is exposed but not recommended at high tide. There are other beaches and swim spots around St Agnes that are equally alluring.

An expanse of tropical looking sea looking towards Gugh Island
a small line of sand and St Agnes islnad with lots of sea
low level rocks and coastline on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Walking the coast path on St Agnes

After our swim, we decided to walk the coast path around the island. We were booked for lunch at St Agnes’ pub, the Turks Head, so decided to see how much of the island we could cover. I secretly hoped we would do the whole island which is just about 5k.

Covean Beach on St Agnes Isles of Scilly
a boy in a stripey jumper sat on the beach looking through a small telescope

It wasn’t long before we stumbled upon the rather tropical Covean Beach, on the eastern side of St Agnes island. Henry had his mini telescope with him for some wildlife spotting. We’re rather new to it, but know puffins and other nesting seabirds frequent St Agnes and the neighbouring islands, like Annet.

We carried on, following the path, stopping so much to take photos. It’s hard not to! Again, we tried to spot wildlife and learned that we probably needed a bit more practice. The coast path naturally curves around the island’s coastline but there are several criss crossed paths to take you inland, leading onto the brilliantly named, Wingletang Down.

A path on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly following the coastline
a boy standing on a coast path looking out to sea

Wingletang Down

Wingletang Down is a wild part of St Agnes recognisable for its large, granite rocks structures. There’s a definite neolithic feel to this part of St Agnes. The rock formations rest amongst heathland and other rare plants that grow here. The coastal conditions and wind from the Atlantic make for the perfect combination, allowing obscure species to thrive.

Scillonian countryside and coast on St Agnes
wingletang Down St Agnes with a person walking along
a curved rocky bay on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

We cut across a bit of Wingletang Down, bypassing Horse Point and skipping Beady Pool Beach. It was here that, 400 years ago, a Dutch ship was wrecked, spilling beads and pieces of glass onto the seabed. It would’ve been cool to do our own bit of treasure hunting!

a stony rocky bay on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
St Warna's Bay, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Me and Henry continued walking round to St Warna’s Cove. This is a curved bay with lots of rocks and boulders, and some rocky outcrops stretching out to sea. We found St Warna’s well too, totally by chance. We left the coast here, and decided to take the path that meets the road in Middle Town. It was midday and we were hungry!

long grass fields and St Agnes lighthouse
a few cows in the field with a sunny sky
St Agnes lighthouse with a patch of grass and a golf buggy

Through Middle Town

The walk through the centre of St Agnes island is lovely – we felt like we experienced a tiny bit of island life, seeing locals go about their day. Busy tractors were on the road and we managed to get a closer look at St Agnes lighthouse. We could see it for most of our coastal walk, like a beacon grounding us and offering a sense of place. Although it is no longer in use and not open to the public, it’s a fine sight.

It was on the walk to the Turk’s Head that we passed the few shops on St Agnes. There’s the St Agnes Post Office Store and Shop, and Pot Buoy Gallery. Sadly this was closed otherwise I would’ve definitely had a browse.

the outside of the Turk's Head pub on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
garden tables near the shoreline on St Agnes

Lunch at the Turk’s Head, St Agnes

The Turk’s Head is famously the most south westerly pub in the British Isles. In a great position overlooking the sea, it’s a homely, traditional pub that’s welcoming and popular. I really liked looking at the photos on the wall, offering visual stories regarding the pub and island’s heritage, and Scillonian families who have lived on St Agnes. There was even a smugglers poster on the ceiling – surely nothing like that happened on St Agnes!

The Turk’s Head menu offers a good selection of pub favourites, like Fish and Chips and Ham, Egg and Chips. Having had a swim and a decent walk, Henry and me were both ready to eat.

Henry decided to have the Scampi, Chips and Peas and I chose the Turk’s Head Ploughmans, complete with owner, Angie’s, homemade piccalilli. We opted for some thirst quenching soft drinks. I couldn’t resist a ginger beer and Henry thought it was Christmas because I let him have a Coke.

a ploughman's lunch on a wooden board
a plate of scampi chips and peas

The food was delicious and certainly hit the spot. Henry really enjoyed his scampi, they didn’t last long. My ploughman’s was superb. There was so much food on the serving board. Lots of chunky bread and butter, a good slice of pork pie, cold meat, cheese, pickled onions, and salad.

a bowl of sticky toffee pudding, sauce and Troytown Farm ice cream

We decided to share a dessert, I was just too full for my own. He opted to have Sticky Toffee Pudding with locally made Troytown vanilla ice cream. I’ve had Troytown ice cream before and I can hand on heart say, it is THE BEST ice cream you’ll ever have. You can literally see the cows grazing on St Agnes who produce the cream it’s made from. St Agnes’ famous ice cream is silky smooth and just the creamiest. As you can imagine, dessert we excellent and left us both satisfied.

a patch of grassland with pinks and a curved bay on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
Rocky outcrops and seasonal coastal flowers on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

After lunch we had about 30 minutes before it was time to get the boat to St Marys. There are a number of crossings, and while we would’ve happily stayed longer and walked the rest of St Agnes, we needed to be back in time to catch the Scillonian III to Penzance. As we headed off the island at 2:15pm, we had just under 4 hours on St Agnes and did so much!

Ideas for your trip to St Agnes

An infographic offering ideas for things to do on St Agnes island

An hour on St Mary’s

It was lovely to have about an hour on St Mary’s before we needed to board the Scillonian III. Henry spied an Isles of Scilly top he liked so we bought that. Afterwards we lazed on Porthcressa beach, another stunner just south of Hugh Town, before leisurely strolling back to the harbour.

Hugh Town St Mary's Isles of Scilly
a red flag on the back of the Scillonian at sea

Homeward bound on the Scillonian III

We were on board the Scillonian in plenty of time for the 4pm departure. We found some comfortable seats in the upper deck and settled ourselves in for the 2 hour 45 minute sail home. It was rather relaxing and we had a very smooth sail home. There’s a coffee shop on board so I was able to have a cup of tea while I read my book and looked at the photos I had taken of our day trip to the Isles of Scilly.

Every now and again I strolled out onto the deck and looked at the sea and scenery. We approached Penzance, smiling. We had an amazing time visiting St Agnes, making some special memories in the most wonderful place. It’s safe to say, this won’t be our final visit to the Isles of Scilly. We just need to decide which island to visit next time.

To book your trip to the Isles of Scilly, visit the Isles of Scilly travel website.

We were invited for a day trip to St Agnes by Isles of Scilly Travel in exchange for this blog post. All opinions and views are my own – we absolutely loved it! The Turks Head kindly gifted us our tasty meal and made sure we were well fuelled for the rest of our day. Thank you both for having us.

pinterest pin for a trip to St Agnes

Author: plbedford

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