Bryher, Isles of Scilly: What to do and where to stay

Beautiful Bryher, Isles of Scilly


FACT PACK:

Where we stayed:  Hell Bay Hotel
Location: Bryher, Isles of Scilly
Nearest station: That would be on the Cornish mainland! You can reach the Isles of Scilly by ferry, plane, and also by helicopter from 2018. Check out Isles of Scilly Travel for more info.
Perfect for: Couples looking for seclusion and rugged coastline walks, also families wanting beaches perfect for shell hunting and sandcastle building: and anyone after a bit of peace, lots of greenery and beautifully wild vistas.


WHERE AM I?

Bryher is a designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the smallest of the inhabited isles of Scilly, at around half a square mile. It is equal parts quaint, (with around 80 permanent residents, lots of whom have honesty stalls outside their home selling fresh produce), and dramatic, (with it’s Atlantic coastline and waves crashing around jagged rocks). The Isles of Scilly are just 28 miles southwest of Cornwall.

There are paths marked out all over so you can take a, windy but fairly easy, walk around the isle. During low tides in the spring it is possible to walk between Bryher and the isles of nearby Tresco and Samson.

DON’T MISS READING ALL ABOUT OUR TRIP TO TRESCO

Why choose to stay on Bryher? As well as being a true beauty, it removes the element of choice. It is small and perfectly formed. Menus are locally produced, limited and simple, as are the activity choices. If you want to relax, blow away the cobwebs and eat well, then book a trip here.

WHAT IS THE HOTEL LIKE?

The Hell Bay Hotel is the only hotel on the island. Other visitors camp or rent guesthouses, but we loved the location and the cottage style of the accommodation at the hotel.

We stayed on the first floor of a little cottage, which I would recommend as it came with a view over the other rooftops to the sea. There are 25 suites, a restaurant with a large terrace, spa treatment room and a heated outdoor swimming pool. There are chicken houses where you can collect your own eggs for breakfast from, should you fancy. It all feels very homely.

WHAT IS THERE TO EAT?

The local deli sells great snacks and self-catering foods for you to whip up some delicious island local grub – or a simple pasta dish… or bowl of cereal. Or you can head to the hotel’s three AA rosette restaurant, always a treat offering delicious and locally sourced dishes. But our favourite place to eat was The Crab Shack, which is next to the hen houses.

READ MY MOUTHWATERING ARTICLE ALL ABOUT OUR VISIT TO THE CRAB SHACK

The Crab Shack, next to the hen houses

WHAT IS THERE TO DO?

Try a tattie cake! 

There’s the Fraggle Rock bar and a small shop with a deli, selling basics and fresh local produce, including Isles of Scilly ‘tattie’ cakes, a sugary fruit cake made from potatoes and currants. Shopping from the residents’ honesty stalls was my favourite thing to do, buying everything from freshly picked flowers and herbs to eggs, succulent plants, old glass bottles and fudge.

READ MY ROUNDUP OF HONESTY STALLS ON BRYHER

Make sure you hunt out the Veronica Farm Fudge stall. Oh my goodness, the stuff is delicious! I bought two bags, but should have bought ten. Luckily, you can order it online, too.  There is something so relaxing and grounding about just wandering around the lush green pathways and grassy knolls, looking out at the seas and buying homemade fudge along the way before taking it down to a deserted beach to eat.

You can take day tips to the other islands and boat trips to go seal and dolphin spotting. I’d recommend a trip to Tresco, which is so close by, to explore the famous Abbey Garden and lots more.

WHY NOT READ ALL ABOUT MY VISIT STAYING ON THE ISLE OF TRESCO?

Bryher residents

WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL?

Why would such a beauty spot be called ‘Hell Bay’, we wondered? It is actually so-called due to the ferocious waves that roll in from the Atlantic. But as dramatic as they are, there is no more peaceful place I have been than sitting on our balcony at the hotel, overlooking the coastal scenes at sunset, while drinking a glass of Champagne. Sound perfect? Yes, it was, it was totally idyllic, and one of the very few times in my life I have felt able to switch off: from stress and from busy thoughts. If this is Hell, I like it. With the next piece of inhabited land being Newfoundland, you do get a feeling that you have reached the end of the world. And it feels very freeing.

More island scenes around Bryher

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