An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

Tresco, United Kingdom
Distance: 10.4 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 8 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Isles of Scilly
  • Size: 297 hectares
  • Terrain: easy paths with some rockier sections in the north
  • Access: boat
  • Height gain: 201 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 101
  • Starting point: Carn Near Quay (south of the island). Note: baots may also arrive/depart from New Grimsby depending on tides
  • Accommodation/food:

    Where to stay on Tresco. Tresco is a family-owned island and offers a range of luxurious accommodation. Most facilities are located between new and Old Grimsby including the New Inn, Tresco Strores & Deli & The Flying Boat restaurant. North of New Grimsby is the Ruin Beach Cafe & the Abbey Garden has a cafe

  • Island Summary:

    Tresco is a destination for those seeking more of a luxury resort and the resplendent sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. It is different to the other more natural Scilly islands and has a holiday vibe all of its own. This jewel of an island offers plenty of talcum-soft sandy, the south is genteel whilst the north is rugged moorland. There’s great sea-cave to explore, romantic coastal fortifications and tranquil views all around the best of which can be seen by walking Tresco’s coast path. A visit to Tresco is a must on everyone’s itinerary.

  • Look out for:
    • Explore Tresco's hidden cave
    • Great coffee on the Ruin Beach terrace
    • Walk to Bryher at low tide
  • Route description:

    The walk around Tresco starts at Carn Quay the easy estate ‘road’ through New Grimsby soon turns into a narrower, bracken-covered path to Cromwell’s Castle on the boulder-strewn shore before ascending to the ruins of King Charles’ Castle. From here the views are extensive – reaching Land’s End to the east and Bishops Rock Lighthouse to the west with all of the islands in between. The route then climbs Gun Hill in the north of the island and crosses the heather-clad moor via the sea-cave at Piper’s Hole to reach the delightful, castaway-café of Ruin Beach. After refreshments the grassy path south follows the bone-white beaches to reach the dune-backed Pentle Bay, named in the top ‘Under-the-Radar’ beaches by the Wall Street Journal. The route back to Carn Quay affords plentiful views of Abbey House and, if time permits, many options for a detour to visit the world-renowned sub-tropical garden and wildlife-rich Abbey Pool

  • Getting there:

    Getting to Tresco. Frequent boats from St Mary’s (and sometimes Bryher)

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