I have written a review on th Isles of Scilly in general however, it was Bryher that we stayed on about a month ago.
I love cornwall as I Think it is certainly the most beautiful part of the UK and Bryher is certainly no exception.
28 miles of the coast of lands end lies over 100 islands which are known as they Isles of Scilly. Only five of these islands are inhabited; St Mary's which is the largest of the five, Tresco which is the most tropical island, St Agnes, St Martins and Bryher which is the smallest of the the five.
With only about 80 permanent residents, one road, One pub, Shop, post office and one hotel this island remains unspoilt and has kept away from that touristy atmosphere. It is a haven for Bird watchers, walkers and sunbathers.
Being the smallest Island it is dominated by the see. The Island is half a mile wide and a mile and a half in length so everywhere is within walking distance.
Acommodation ranges from B&B's to a luxury hotel infact they even have a campsite. The only traffic on the Island is the odd 4x4 or tractor but they are few and far between. The island is so peaceful, in fact we were at the very end of the island and could here a door close a quarter of a mile away. The island is surrounded by beautiful white beaches which are covered with shells. There is no litter anywhere on the island, no vandalism, theft or any type of crime really and thats what makes this place so special. There are many stalls on the side of the road which sell things like home made fudge, plants, fresh local produce, art, etc. which are unattended all day and night. You just place your money in the tub take the correct change and pick the desired item. I couldn't believe it. It is a rare sight to see these days.
I would suggest going in April before the bank holiday as it is still relatively quiet and you pretty much get the beaches to yourself. The water is so calm it is perfect for a swim or splash about. Or you could just relax and soak up the sun as the weather really is a lot milder than on the main land.
Whereever you go you can see the beautiful green sea and white sandy beaches. From Bryher you can see directly over to tresco which is 1km away. You can get boats out to all the other islands most days. The times are written on several boards around the island so you can easily check this. Fishing trips are available most days or hire your own boat and take your own tour.
The Fraggle Rock Bar is a lovely little place offering dinner time and evening meals. A good variey of alcohol and soft drinks as well as free use of the internet which can be handy when you are miles away from anywhere.
You will find yourself going for many walks to discover the whole island and to take in the amazing views. A community centre is being built which may offer a little more entertainment on rainy days.
Unfortunately we did not manage to eat at the hotel restaurant which is open to non-residents as it get booked up quite quickly so make sure you book in on the day you arrive if you wish to eat there. There is a fantastic restaurant on Tresco where I had the best fish and chips i have ever had in my life!
If you are going self catering be warned that the shop on Bryher is only a small grocery shop and Post office which can get very expensive. It is recommended that you shop on one of the larger islands.
I will definately be returning to Bryher as it is the most natural island out of the five.
If you have not discovered the Isles of Scilly yet you really should take a gander, even if it is just for the day as you can take day trips from Penzance and Lands end.
It takes 2 hrs 40 mins by the boat and 15 mins by helicopter or the skybus. We stayed in a three bedroomed chalet, which was absolutely beautiful and very spacious, wonderful sea views from the garden. It cost us roughly £1150 between four of us for 7 nights, oh and the island is very pet friendly as is the boat and skybus and helicopter, but I have heard dogs tend to be more nervous on the helicopter due to the noise.
The local people are extremely friendly and you soon get to know a few of them due to the fact the island is so small.
Well worth visiting, and if you saw the Martin Clunes documentary done on the Islands around the coast of the UK, he really did not do the Isles of Scilly justice!
BRYHER??Isles of Scilly. What a beautiful island to visit. Where is it? To look at the lovely white sand beaches, you may think that it is somewhere tropical, but you will find it in the South West of England, 28 miles south west of Lands End, in the county of Cornwall. It is one of a group of around 100 small islands named the Isles of Scilly, which are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. But something called the North Atlantic Drift warms the islands, giving them a much milder climate than the mainland, with more sunshine, less rainfall and little or no frost and snow, allowing much beautiful flora and fauna to be found. Also migrating birds sometimes stop off for a rest, if on a long flight. These islands are owned by the ?Duchy of Cornwall?. Back in the mid 1830?s a merchant banker named Augustus Smith, (also a plant collector and botanist), purchased them from the Duchy, but they have all been given back apart from Tresco, which is still owned by the same family, the present owners being Robert and Lucy Dorrien-Smith. Augustus began the creation of the lovely Tresco Abbey gardens in 1834, by collecting plants from the Mediterranean, and this work has been carried on to the present day, now having plants from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Hemisphere lands, to make the gardens so wonderful. Some of the collections of plants are unique to the British Isles, with many not grown anywhere else on the mainland. Only five of the larger islands are inhabited, and Bryher is the smallest community, having about 75 residents living there all year round, although in the winter gales, they may have to cling on!! The other islands are:- ST. MARYS, the largest one, where there are quite a lot of shops in the area called Hugh Town, 2 banks (the only ones on the islands)a cash point machine, (cash back facilities available at some other places), resta
urants, cafés and pubs, plenty of hotels and other accommodation, a museum, plenty of coastal walking paths,(the island being only 2 ½ miles by 1 ¾ miles,) the busy harbour where you can find boats to take you on trips to other islands and also out to look at the seals and puffins, and of course the Airport, high up on a hill, where helicopters and small planes fly in. There are 9 miles of narrow roads around this island, and there is also a 9 hole golf course. ?Katie?, an old bus takes visitors on an island trip, a couple of times a day, in the summer; ST. MARTINS, slightly bigger than Bryher and slightly smaller than Tresco, with gorse moorland and flower fields plus an hotel, guest house, camp site, self catering cottages and 2 churches. I didn?t actually visit this island, but a lot of people mentioned that it has a great bakery. There are 2 art galleries and a vineyard and a postal flower company; ST. AGNES, a smaller island, similar size to Bryher, lying in the most south westerly position of all the inhabited islands, having a 17th century lighthouse and secluded sandy coves, I?m told, and beautiful views. Accommodation is in guest houses, self catering cottages and a camp site. There is a pub, cafés providing home made food, and a post office stores/off licence; and lastly TRESCO, the second largest island, with about 150 residents, famous for it?s sub tropical ?Abbey Gardens?, not to be missed if you like to see unusual plants, usually grown in the more southern hemisphere. Here, amongst other things, there is the ?Island Hotel?, the ?New Inn? pub, a Stores and Gallery, two ancient castles, a church, wonderful scenery and gorgeous shelly beaches, and 2 freshwater pools which attract the birds and ducks. As well as the hotels, there is self catering and timeshare cottages accommodation. Now, I am going to concentrate on BRYHER, as this is the island on wh
ich we stayed for a week in June 2004, fortunately, during one of our lovely Summer weather weeks. GETTING TO THE ISLES OF SCILLY is quite easy, providing the weather is not foggy if flying. Maybe the most popular way is to fly by HELICOPTER from St. Just at Penzance in Cornwall. The helicopters fly to St. Marys and Tresco. Tresco would be the best destination for Bryher, as the ferry trip between these two islands is only 5 minutes at high tide (around 20 minutes at low tide, as the landing on the other side of the island has to be used when the tide is low.) The ?SKYBUS? will also fly you to St. Marys from many local airports?. Southampton (90 minutes, 4 flights a week); Bristol (70 minutes, 7 flights a week, with 1 on weekdays and 2 on Saturdays); Exeter (60 minutes, 7 flights a week, same as Bristol); Newquay (30 minutes, many frequent flights every day Monday to Saturday); Lands End (15 minutes, many frequent flights the same as Newquay). Alternatively, if you prefer to travel by sea, the SCILLONIAN 111 will take you to St. Marys from Penzance. We flew by Skybus from Newquay Airport. Why go from Newquay instead of Exeter which is much closer to my home? Well, the fare was a lot cheaper, about £125 each return fare. At St. Mary?s airport, you get a friendly greeting from a local mini bus driver, who is waiting to take you to your accommodation, or in our case, to the harbour. No arrivals terminal?.no customs or passport control to go through?just take your luggage off the trolley which is on the grass by the plane. It was only a 19 seater plus 2 pilots. The flight arrived at about 1pm. The mini bus to the harbour cost us £5 each return, and our names were taken, and a time was arranged for our pick up at the harbour for our return home. At the harbour, the ?Firethorn of Bryher? (the Bryher ferry boat) was already there
, and departed for Bryher at 2-30pm, taking a little less than an hour to reach there, dropping off at Tresco first. Single fare for this trip was £2-10 each. On landing at Bryher, Mac Mace, along with his dog ?Gypsy?, the owner of our guest house was waiting for us. He loaded us into his landrover, and took us to ?Bank Cottage?, where we were to stay for the week. This is one of only two four star rated guest houses on the island. The other one is called ?Soleil d?Or?. Other accommodation is at the ?Hell Bay Hotel? and many self catering cottages and chalets, and a camp site. The roads are more like sandy tracks, and a bit bumpy. There are no cars on Bryher, so main transport is by landrover, quadbikes and shank?s pony. There was a very friendly welcome from Tracy Mace, who showed us to our little room, which overlooked her beautiful garden and the sea and other little rocky islands. I?d recommend ?Bank Cottage? to anyone who wants a comfortable, well equipped room, in quiet surroundings with just the sound of the birds and sea. Also, the food was excellent, evening meal, with choice of wine(extra charge) being served at 7pm each evening apart from Wednesdays, when we had to eat out?the choice being either at the ?Hell Bay Hotel?, ?Vine Farm Café? or ?Fraggle Rock? pub/restaurant. We chose the Fraggle Rock, where the food was just ok, but no where near as good as Tracy?s homemade meal. Our bed and breakfast and evening meal cost us each about £55 per night, so not exactly cheap. In the Celtic language, the name Bryher means ?Place of Hills?, and there are five of them here, in the 327 acres. Being such a small island, you can walk around it on the coastal paths in about two hours??longer, if you keep stopping to take photos, as I did!! But it?s well worth it, to take in the stunning scenery. Watch Hill is the best hill to climb fo
r an all round view of Bryher and the neighbouring islands. There is an old ?shelter? at the top, where, in the past, islanders used to keep watch for ships in distress, and ships needing guiding assistance. Gweal Hill is a nice one to climb for viewing the stunning sunsets, looking out to the small uninhabited Gweal Island. The three Dartmoor ponies live on this hill, so it is surrounded by an electric fence to keep them from straying further afield. There is plenty of bracken growing for them to eat, and they are quite friendly animals?.that is if you are not scared of them creeping up behind you!!! I went out looking for them, to get some photos. As soon as I got near to them, they all of a sudden came right up close and surrounded me. Got a few pics though. The notices around the hill advise you not to feed them and to clap you hands to scare them away, but apparently this does not work. When I finished talking to them, I just ignored them, and they would move away again. Heathy Hill, in the Droppy Nose Point area and Sampson Hill, in the Rushy Bay area, both in the southern part of the island, I only walked around. Sampson Island is another unihabited island which can be viewed by this hill. Rushy Bay has one of the nicest beaches on Bryher. The fifth hill is Badplace Hill, in the north of the island, by Hell Bay. Appropriately named because it is the roughest and most dangerous part of the island, where it is assumed that there have been many shipwrecks, but in actual fact, there has been only one, which was the ?Maipu?. The eastern side of Bryher is sheltered, as Tresco lies so close, making a sheltered channel, which boats can cross over all year round, using the two landing quays. The main quay is a solid one but can only be used at high tide, and the other one at the other end of the beach is a wooden bar which can be used at low ride. This wooden
bar was built in 1990, by Anneka Rice on her ?Challenge Anneka? TV programme, and is locally known as ?Anneka?s?. All supplies to the island come in by boat each day. Also, just a small distance from Anneka?s, is ?Hangmans Island? where you can see the hanging rope on the top. Some General Info. There is a General stores/off licence/post office for self caterers to stock up, but there is only a limited selection of items. Bread and cakes are baked on the premises. There is an old School house, which is now accommodation, so the children have to travel to Tresco each day. Being such a small place, there is no crime, so we felt quite safe?.no pickpockets to worry about, like in foreign countries. No policemen on Bryher, but there is a police station with 3 policemen on St. Marys. There are 5 retained firemen on the island, wjth Tresco and St. Marys being on call if needed. A doctors surgery is held every other Tuesday on the island, but the hospital is on St. Marys, where there is also now an Ambulance boat. If you take your mobile phone, vodafone has quite a good reception, although I could only seem to get a signal if upstairs; orange reception is moderate, but there is no reception for O2. Radio programmes 1, 2, 3, and 4, plus Radio Cornwall are received well, and some areas pick up Pirate FM, and Radio Scilly occasionally. TV Channels 1, 2, 3, and 4 are received, but not digitally, and no Channel 5 is received. Digital is not expected until analogue transmission end, but Sky digital and old analogue Sky channels are received. Telephone is connected to the B.T. national telephone grid, but no broadband internet can be received. Fraggle Rock has a couple of computers which can be used for dial up internet?.although, surprisingly, I resisted, and went a whole week without going on the internet!!! CONCLUSION. Bryher is a beautiful island. It is peaceful and relaxing with the sound of the sea and birds singing from dawn to dusk. A great place for walking and boating, and safe bathing in the sea. You will also see a lot of very colourful jelly fish in the water and on the white sandy beaches. If you are an artist, it would be an ideal place for painting, and of course it is heaven for photographers. If you want a hectic night life, don?t come to Bryher, as there isn?t any. Once you have visited Bryher, you will want to go back again. It?s a real paradise island. If you want to see a picture of the island each day, visit www.scillywebcam , where there is a new picture each day, and also a guest book to leave your comments. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to paradise. Thanks for reading. If you would like to see some photos, look at my web page that I am building at:- http://members.lycos.co.uk/devonbelle19493