Right so you have finally worked out the Isles of Scilly are definitely not located on the southern tip of Italy. Now the hard work starts….
How do I actually get there?
What’s the quickest route?
Can I fly or shall I take the boat?
What do you mean EasyJet doesn’t fly direct!?
“Errrrgh its all so confusing…Looks like I’m off to Bognor Regis…. Again!”
I must admit when I first travelled to Scilly I was a bit perplexed with the travel options so I decided to create this guide to take the mystery out of travelling to these beautiful little islands. Getting to Scilly on your own or with the kids is stress-free and the adventure begins once you choose your mode of travel. So here we go…
There is just a one-stop-shop when travelling to Scilly. All transport is booked through Isles of Scilly Travel.
The cheapest option is the Scillonian passenger ferry that leaves from Penzance and cruises for 2hours and 45 minutes to St. Mary’s. Now I do use the term ‘cruising’ very lightly here. The Scillonian has been affectionately nicknamed by the locals ‘sick-bucket’, due to its flat bottom and sometimes rather turbulent crossings. Tip of the day: take an anti- seasick tablet, combine it with a one or two glasses of pinot at the on-board bar/cafe and just roll with it.
If you are driving to Penzance then you can park your car with Scilly Parking. If you live near London or want a really unique experience then my recommendation would be to take the overnight sleeper train with Great Western Railway to Penzance. This is my favourite option as I live just outside of London. My holiday starts right here in London Town. I watch a West End show, have some dinner and then check into Paddington’s First Class Lounge (included in cabin price) for a nice glass of red before boarding the train for a 11:45pm departure.
The cabins can be solo berth or if you do take the family then the little ones will absolutely adore the double cabin with bunk-bed configuration. The train slowly chugs away down to Cornwall and you are awoken with breakfast and beautiful Cornish countryside views. The train station is located just 10 minutes walk from the quay, or if you don’t travel light there are usually a lot of taxis around costing a few pounds a ride.
Those that don’t have the legs of an old sea-dog, or like me are just too darn impatient to get there, the 2nd option is to fly. Skybus fly from Lands End, Newquay or Exeter (high season only).
What is a Skybus? In short it’s a very small plane. Well two small planes in fact; the 19-seat Twin Otter and the 8-seat Islander. If you’re travelling on the latter you get a complimentary turn on the scales to find out if that pre-holiday diet really worked!
The plane is definitely the most exciting way to travel to the Isles of Scilly and you get jaw droppingly beautiful pictures like the one below.
Nervous flyers don’t despair, the Lands End flight is just 15 minutes. The plane also cruises at a low altitude and is considered to be a far safer option compared to the big jumbo-jets that whisk you away to foreign lands. Better still you can still ride the sleeper train to Penzance, hurrah! The Skybus team will pick you up right outside the station and deliver you in comfort to the tiny airport located on the most southerly tip of England’s coast.
Travelling on Skybus from Newquay airport offers lots of useful connections if you live further afield. Connections to Newquay are listed here…..
• Aberdeen • Amsterdam • Belfast City • Birmingham • Doncaster Sheffield • Dusseldorf • Edinburgh • Geneva • Glasgow Intl. • Hannover • Inverness • Isle of Man • Kirkwall • Knock – Ireland West • Liverpool • London Gatwick • London Stansted • Manchester • Milan Malpensa • Newcastle • Paris CDG • Sumburgh • Zurich
Exeter flights only run from May to October and connections can be found from London City, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona & Rome.
So there you have it! There’s no excuse not to travel to the Isles of Scilly. Oh and by the way if you are staying at the delightful Karma St. Martin’s their friendly concierge team will also arrange airport and boat transfers from St. Mary’s. There’s another weight off your mind… Happy holidays!