Tresco Abbey Garden
The sub-tropical Abbey Garden is a glorious exception; a perennial Kew without the glass, home to 20,000 plants from more than 80 countries, flourishing just 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall.
Tresco Abbey Garden was established by Augustus Smith in the 19th century around the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey. Today, the garden is home to plants from across the world’s Mediterranean climate zones, from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa.
Fringing the lush grid of paths that criss-cross the gardens are a host of succulents, towering palms and giant, lipstick-red flame trees. Here you can find 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. In spring flowers bloom weeks ahead of those on the mainland – the perfect tonic after a long, cold winter. In the autumn the reds, golds and ambers of the seasonal foliage contrast with the magnificent proteas, aloes and camellias. Even at the winter solstice, there are usually more than 300 species of plants in flower.
The treasures to be found within the Abbey Garden are not limited to the floral kind, either. The Valhalla Museum within the Garden is home to shipwrecked figureheads collected across the Isles of Scilly and is now part of the National Maritime collection.
|Opening Times (mid-March to early 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 - no need to book)
|Staying on Tresco||Adults||Under 16s||Under 5s||Over 65s||Weekly ticket|
Getting to Tresco Abbey Garden
|From other islands||From the mainland||Accessibility|
|There are daily tripper boats to Tresco from Bryher, St Mary's and St Martin's, with regular trips from St Agnes. Please see your island's boat boards for times.||Penzance Helicopters fly direct to Tresco, landing next to the garden. Skybus flights and Scillonian ferry go to neighbouring St Mary's, with a short boat transfer.||A shingle path around the majority of the garden bypasses steps and is wheelchair accessible. There is no public transport on Tresco from quays to the Garden.|
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.