Tresco Abbey Garden
A glorious exception; a perennial Kew without the glass, Tresco Abbey Garden is home to some 20,000 plants from more than 80 countries, flourishing just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall.
Augustus Smith established Tresco Abbey Garden in the 19th century around the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey. Today, the garden is a sanctuary for some 4,000 specimens from across the southern hemisphere and subtropics, from Brazil to New Zealand; Burma to South Africa.
The garden is spectacular both for its incongruous presence on a tiny island cast out in the Atlantic and its incredible array of exotic plants from across the globe flourishing in an English garden.
A host of succulents, towering palms, and giant, lipstick-red flame trees fringe the lush grid of paths that criss-cross the gardens. Meander a myriad of winding paths through flowers of the King Protea and the handsome Lobster Claw, great blue spires of Echium, brilliant Furcraea, Strelitzia and shocking-pink drifts of Pelargonium.
The face of the garden changes throughout the year. Flowers bloom weeks ahead of the mainland in spring – the perfect tonic after a long, cold winter. In autumn, the seasonal foliage's reds, golds and ambers contrast with the magnificent proteas, aloes and camellias. Even at the winter solstice, there are usually around 300 species of plants in glorious bloom.
The treasures found within the Abbey Garden are not limited to the floral kind, either. Watch for red squirrels and golden pheasants meandering by, marvel at magnificent sculptures in shady glades, and browse haunting echoes of island shipwrecks in the enchanting Valhalla Figurehead Museum.
Plan Your Visit
There's no need to book, and it's easy to get here from across the islands and even from the mainland.
|11th March - 6th November||Winter Opening Times|
|Garden, Café & Shop open daily 10 am - 4 pm||Garden open daily 10am - 4pm; Café & Shop closed|
Entry Prices (on the gate)
|Staying on Tresco||Adults||Under 16s||Under 5s||Concessions||Weekly ticket||Family ticket|
|From other islands||From the mainland||Accessibility|
|There are daily boats to Tresco from Bryher and St Mary's, with regular trips from St Agnes and St Martin's. Please see your island's boat boards for times. Please be aware there is no public transport from the quay.||Penzance Helicopters fly direct to Tresco, landing next to the garden. Alternatively, the helicopter, Skybus flights and Scillonian ferry arrive on neighbouring St Mary's, with a short boat transfer to Tresco.||A wheelchair-accessible shingle path winds through the majority of the garden. A few mobility scooters are available for use in the garden on a first come, first served basis. There is no public transport.|
History of the Abbey Garden
In 1834, Augustus Smith left Hertfordshire and took up residence on the Isles of Scilly as Lord Proprietor and leaseholder of all the islands. He chose to live on Tresco and selected a site adjacent to St Nicholas Priory - which had fallen into disrepair in the sixteenth century - to build his home...
Scholarships & Bursaries
The Abbey Garden is an incredible place for horticultural students to gain invaluable experience. Garden curator Mike Nelhams is involved with various scholarships and bursaries which can help students gain placement in this prestigious botanical site.