Discover the lighthouses of the Isles of Scilly. The islands are an archipelago located 25 miles off the southwestern tip of Cornwall.
The main islands are St Mary’s, St Martin’s, Tresco, St Agnes and Bryher.
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Please note that some of these lighthouses offer holiday accommodation or may be privately owned. Please take care not to trespass or drive on private property.
The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago located 25 miles off the southwestern tip of Cornwall. The main islands are St Mary’s, St Martin’s, Tresco, St Agnes and Bryher.
To reach the islands, you can travel on the Scillonian ferry from Penzance Harbour, a trip lasting just under 3 hours. If you’re lucky, you may spot Longships or Wolf Rock Lighthouses and the Sevenstones Lightvessel as you cross. You can also fly to the islands.
Scilly has very few cars, but it is easy to get around. There are plenty of boats linking the islands and lots of day trips, so it’s relatively easy to visit the lighthouses, provided the weather is kind. Generally, the climate is much milder than in mainland England, but the waters can still sometimes get choppy!
The Isles of Scilly are well known for their Pilot Gig Racing which is usually held over the early May Bank Holiday Weekend. It is a great spectacle to watch.
For a great read, the series by Kate Rhodes featuring DI Ben Kitto are very descriptive of the islands, and include a map. Several lighthouses feature within the crime series.
The island of St Martin’s is around 3 miles long and less than a mile wide. There is a great circular walk around the island, and the red and white rocket-shaped St Martin’s Daymark stands prominently on one of the island’s highest points. It is said to be the earliest surviving beacon in the British Isles.
If you have time, visit the Sevenstones Inn, which has some spectacular views.
You can get a great view across to Round Island Lighthouse from St Martin’s. The best way to see the lighthouse is by boat, and there are often boat trips from St Mary’s.
Tresco Island is known for its beautiful Abbey Gardens with its large collection of subtropical plants. Here you will find the former brazier from St Agnes Lighthouse near the figureheads and the former gun from the HMS Association.
The island of Bryher lies to the west of its neighbour, Tresco. It is one of the smallest inhabited islands in Scilly. The tiny island of Samson is located at the southern end of Bryher, and at the lowest spring tides, it is possible to walk between the three islands.
Hell Bay is on the northwest coast of Bryher and was notorious for its shipwrecks during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Although there isn’t a lighthouse on Bryher, there is the Fraggle Rock Bar and Cafe, which is worth a visit after a walk around the island.
St Mary’s is the largest island. Near Porthcressa Beach is the former shore station for Bishop Rock Lighthouse keepers and their families, which are now privately owned. The famous Star Castle Hotel dominates the skyline and has great island views.
A coastal path from Hugh Town leads to the beautiful headland of Peninnis, where Peninnis Lighthouse guides vessels entering St Mary’s Sound and Hugh Town Harbour.
The decommissioned St Agnes Lighthouse stands on the highest point of the island. It was discontinued in 1911 and is privately owned. There is no access to the lighthouse, but you can stay in one of the former cottages. The Turks Head is a great pub to visit, with lots of lighthouse-related photos on the wall. Burnt Island is connected to the island at low water, where you will find the Tins Walbert Daymark.
From St Mary’s, you can take a boat trip out to Bishop Rock Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the UK, at 49 metres high with an elevation of 44 metres. (Eddystone is the same height, but its elevation is 41 metres).
Discover more lighthouses and places to visit in the Isles of Scilly