Scilly is famed for its beautiful coastal waters and abundance of plant and animal life. Many of the self-catering cottages, hotels and B&Bs here have sea views. A popular way to explore the islands is by boat - you can be driven right around the islands in less than an hour in a fast RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat), or take it slowly aboard a traditional sailing boat. You can also watch some 'Pilot Gig' rowing, which is a traditional sport in Scilly, whereby islanders race in six-oar wooden boats, some of them over a century old.
St Mary's is likely to be your point of arrival in Scilly. At around four square miles it's Scilly largest island, and manages to squeeze in over thirty miles of coastal paths and nature trails. Tresco is a romantic escape wholly devoted to visitors, and boasts some luxury hotels, pristine beaches, rare waterfowl and the lovely Abbey Garden ('Kew without the glass'). Bryher is a small island, from which you can marvel at the full power of a westerly gale or cross the island to shelter on the sandy beaches of the east coast. St Martin's is a northerly island known for its seemingly endless beaches. St Agnes is separated from the other islands by a deep channel. It has a small but lively population, and is a good place to experience island life - don't miss the irresistible scones with local jam and cream. Whichever island you choose as your base, you might find yourself becoming one of the many visitors who end up returning to the Scilly isles over and over again; captivated by the crystal clear waters, the fresh clean air and laid-back pace of life.