Best Day Trips to the Isles of Scilly07 September 2023
If you are looking for the best day trips to the Isles of Scilly but aren’t sure how to get there, we’ve got just the guide for you. A beautiful clutch of islands off the coast of Cornwall, these gorgeous islands are famous for their incredible aesthetics, decorated with subtropical plants and hemmed by white sand beaches. Needless to say, if you’ve never been before, you’ll want to see the islands’ Caribbean-esque scenery for yourself. Fortunately, there are several ways you can reach this stunning archipelago to make arriving in style a thing of ease, including the famous Skybus, helicopter flights and relaxed Scillonian sails.
For days of beachside perfection, follow our how-to guide and look forward to the dreamiest of day trips to the Isles of Scilly…
What is it?: Sailing by boat
Where is it?: Penzance
When is it?: March to November
For a leisurely way to arrive at the Isles of Scilly, hop aboard the Scillonian from Penzance harbour. A roomy family and dog-friendly passenger ferry with space for nearly 500 people, this famous ferry has been providing its services for the best part of a century, transporting locals and day-trippers alike between the mainland and the islands.
Usually running between July and September each year (weather permitting), the Scillonian frequently departs from Penzance at 9.15am each day to arrive at St Mary’s, while it also offers some earlier crossings too. Later each day, the ferry begins its return from St Mary’s between 4.30 and 5pm. Each one-way journey takes 2 hours and 45 minutes and crossings and fares can be followed online.
One of the best ways to enjoy a day trip to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance, the Scillonian allows you to enjoy a leisurely pace and soak up gorgeous views of the Cornish coast. Onboard facilities and eateries cater to guests and a choice of indoor and outdoor seating is available. If you’re lucky, you may also be able to enjoy some of the frequent sightings of seabirds and dolphins too.
What is it?: Flying by plane
Where is it?: Land’s End, Newquay, Exeter
When is it?: Year-round Land's End and Newquay; March – October Exeter
If you’re looking for the quickest way to arrive at the Isles of Scilly, then why not consider a flight with Skybus? The fastest way to travel to and from the Scilly Isles, Skybus services include a 20-minute flight from Land’s End or a 30-minute flight from Newquay airport to St Mary’s on a comfortable 19-seater plane. For those outside of Cornwall, there are also hour-long flights from Exeter airport.
Perfect for both summer and winter day trips, these scenic flights are dog-friendly and run year-round in Cornwall on clement days, showcasing some of the most magnificent scenery imaginable. Soaring over golden-sand beaches, the cliffs of Land’s End and the iconic Longships Lighthouse, they deliver jaw-dropping seascapes that make every day trip to the Isles of Scilly unforgettable.
As part of the experience, you’ll be able to meet your pilot and sit back as you’re expertly guided into the air, enjoying the bird’s eye view over the glittering ocean. Following your arrival at St Mary’s, you can then make the most of several hour’s exploring before heading back to the airport for your return flight. For a fun twist, you can also opt for a flight out and a sail back on the Scillonian for the ultimate experience.
What is it?: Flying by helicopter
Where is it?: Penzance
When is it?: Year-round
For the best day trips to the Isles of Scilly, a helicopter flight with Penzance Helicopters affords a truly memorable way to travel. Leaving from Penzance heliport, helicopter flights run year-round and land at either St Mary’s or Tresco, opening up a fantastic world of discovery for halcyon days spent on the sun-kissed shores of the archipelago’s most well-known islands.
Depending on how much time you’d like to spend exploring, flights depart at various times throughout the day, operating from morning until the evening if the weather allows. Each flight can accommodate up to nine people, adding a wonderfully exclusive feel to the experience. And, for total flexibility, both pre-booked and last-minute flights can be arranged, allowing you to plan in advance or jump at spontaneous adventures for the best Isles of Scilly day trips.
Setting the backdrop to your flight as you go, views over the stunning Mount’s Bay and the Cornish coastline gently glide past the window on your outward journey, before steering off towards the islands. On the way back, a slightly different route provides a new perspective over the coast, flying past famous landmarks such as the Minack Theatre and the picture-perfect sands of Porthcurno. Just remember to pack your camera!
Need a place to stay?
If you are planning your day trip to the Isles of Scilly and are looking for an idyllic place to stay, our beautiful hotel in Penzance awaits. Just half a mile from Penzance harbour and a mile from Penzance heliport, we are perfectly placed for the finest adventures and dreamiest retreats. Book one of our delightful sea-view rooms, dine in our acclaimed bar and restaurant and savour the best setting for exploring and relaxing in equal doses, ready to make memories you’ll want to repeat year after year.