About St Martin's
St Martin's is one of the five inhabited islands which make up the Isles of Scilly archipelago, along with 140 other smaller islands. The islands are part of Cornwall, although they are situated 28 miles south-west of the mainland - if you reach Land's End and keep going, you'll find us! St Mary's is the largest of the islands and is home to the majority of the inhabitants, whilst St Martin's lies a little to the north with a small but incredibly friendly community of around 140 people.
The route to St Martin's is via St Mary's - you can reach the main island via the Scillonian III ferry, by helicopter from Penzance, or by plane from Land's End, Exeter and Newquay. Day trips across from St Mary's to St Martin's run regularly back and forth through the summer months making this island an essential part of any Scilly itinerary. Day trips from the mainland are possible (dependent on timetables), but to get the best experience of all the diversity this tiny island has to offer, we recommend you take a few days here to really explore St Martin's. You won't be disappointed!
Each of the islands has its own character and speciality - St Martin's is perhaps most famous for its award-winning beaches, but we can also offer some of the finest local produce and stunning landscapes to boot.
The island is just under a square mile in size, but it's an island of impressive contrasts; Par Beach and Great Bay are wide expanses of soft white sand lapped by clear turquoise waters which could easily give the Caribbean a run for its money, whilst a walk up to the Daymark or across the causeway to White Island presents you with wilder heathland habitats and rocky cliffs down to the Atlantic churning below. With seven miles of wildflower-studded coastline to explore whilst seals bob just offshore to watch you pass by, it is a walker's and wildlife lover's paradise! Scilly's subtropical climate allows some exotic plant-life to flourish, which makes for some stunning displays as you explore the island. The colourful flowers nestled amongst the stone walls and in pretty cottage gardens are quite something!
The Eastern Isles are a collection of uninhabited islands just off St Martin's and are important seabird colonies and safe pupping areas for the seals. The most northerly fields on the vineyard offer an excellent view of these islands, including Little and Great Ganinick, Little and Great Ganilly, Nornour and Little Arthur.
The vineyard is in good culinary company here on St Martin's - Little Arthur Cafe and Adam's Fish & Chips next door both grow, harvest, catch, cook and serve all of the food on offer - you can't get much more local than that! Heading up to Higher Town, the Island Bakery makes delicious home-made bread, pasties and pastries, Polreath Tea Room offers excellent lunches and regular evening curry clubs, and further down into Lower Town is the excellent Seven Stones Inn which has easily the best beer-garden views in the country (and one of the friendliest welcomes too!). If you're in the mood for some fine-dining, you'll also find the Karma resort at this end of the island with a bar and restaurant with great views out over the islands to the west. Scilly Organics & Scillonian Fayre grow a range of delicious seasonal produce on sale to islanders and visitors alike, whilst SC Salt and SC Dogs produce island-made seasalt and rum from their distillery in Higher Town. Selling these local products, and much more besides, is St Martin's Store and Post Office to keep you well-stocked with everything you might need during your stay. You can even find fresh flowers at Churchtown Farm - they do mail-order too, ideal for sending a little bit of Scilly sunshine to friends and family back home!
Thanks to its enviable position, the low levels of artificial lighting and the clear sea air, Scilly has some of the darkest night skies in the country and on a clear night, the canopy of stars with the Milky Way clearly stretched above you is simply breathtaking. One of our most exciting recent developments is COSMOS - a community observatory which is open to visitors throughout the summer to explore the night sky. They have two pulsar domes and a number of telescopes, including a solar scope which allows you to safely observe the sun. The white domes are well hidden but easy to find, being situated just behind the Community Hall with its reading room and gym in the centre of the island between Higher Town and Middle Town.
Whilst St Martin's is most popular in the summer, the draw of the night sky brings visitors in the spring and autumn too, with the Dark Skies Week at the beginning of October being a key event in any keen astronomer's diary.
We also have a thriving arts and crafts scene here on this little island - Fay Page has an open studio in Lower Town where she produces exquisite jewellery inspired by the natural forms of the islands. In Higher Town you will find the North Farm Gallery with paintings, prints, jewellery, pottery, crafts, books and cards created by local artists. An exciting new venture is the Middle Town Barn Cooperative making use of a disused barn and glasshouse to display and sell local artwork, plants and produce. Scilly Billy are based in Higher Town and produce a range of Scilly-inspired clothing.
A trip to St Martin's wouldn't be complete without exploring the stunning turquoise seas which surround the island, and we're fortunate enough to have some incredible water-based activities. Scilly Seal Snorkelling, based on Par Beach (just over the dunes from the Vineyard) takes you out to swim with our inquisitive local seals - a truly unforgettable experience! If you prefer to stay above the water, St Martin's Watersports can help you out with kayak or paddle board hire from the same location, or you can take a trip on the SeaQuest glass-bottomed boat to enjoy the submarine sights without getting your feet wet! If you prefer your interactions with water to be a little more relaxing (and perhaps a little warmer), then the Spa at Karma offers a range of treatments, whilst the St Martin's Reiki Centre is the place to go for relaxation & healing. The Humanist Whiskey Barber offers on-island haircuts, and can also be your celebrant in a humanist ceremony! I think it's safe to say there is something for everyone here on St Martin's!