St Mary’s is the largest of the islands, but it measures only two and a half by one and three quarter miles. If you travel inland on any of the winding roads, it is possible to find working farmland and wooded valleys where, uniquely for Scilly, you might forget that you are so close to the sea.
On St Mary’s you’ll find nature trails, coastal paths, heaths, wetlands, dunes and headlands. Like the roads, many of the buildings scattered about St Mary’s date from Medieval or earlier times. In the summer, coach, bus and car tours explore these roads, as do guided walks. Bird watching is also very popular during our mild autumns.
Hugh Town is Scilly’s largest settlement, as well as its commercial and administrative centre. Most of its granite buildings are built low and close together to protect them from winter’s gales and salt spray. The town has a mix of small shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs, and is an ideal holiday base. St. Mary’s also hosts the airport where the majority of aircraft to Scilly lands. The Scillonian ferry service also docks at St. Mary’s from April to October at the Quay, the main harbour and fishing port.
Windsurfing, sailing, fishing and scuba diving are all perfectly suited to the clear blue seas around St Mary’s. Scilly’s most popular sport, gig-rowing, can be watched throughout the summer. The St Mary’s Gig Club website has information about all things gig related. Scilly also hosts the annual World Pilot Gig Championships during early May!