There's plenty to keep you out and about during the day on Tresco. In addition to the extraordinary variety of plant and animal life, there are long deserted beaches as well as historical forts and monuments to discover. Bikes are available to hire for all the family and there are also tennis courts available for guests. Horse riding and golf are available on nearby St Mary's and can be organised on your behalf by the Island Office.
Bikes are the primary form of transport on the island and are available to hire at the bike store, which is located next door to Tresco Stores & Deli at the Flying Boat. There are bikes to suit all age groups, as well as small child trailers for adult bikes. The great thing about Tresco is that there is never any need to lock your bike – there’s no-one around to steal it! Guests can pre-book for their stay by calling the Island Office on +44 (0)1720 422849.
Guests can enjoy the use of two astroturf courts close to the Flying Boat and an all-weather court at the Sea Garden Cottages. The Flying Boat courts are bookable at the Spa, where you can also borrow racquets and balls.
There’s a nine-hole, 18 tee golf course on nearby St. Mary’s. It’s Britain’s most westerly golf course and we believe one of the most beautiful.
St Mary’s Riding Centre cater for a range of abilities. They also offer trips on a horse-drawn carriage.You can call them on +44 (0)1720 423855 for more information.
The island is a magnet for birdwatchers. Its two fresh water pools – Abbey Pool and Great Pool – provide excellent spots to watch dunlins, plovers and ducks. The most popular times are spring and autumn when migratory birds visit. Razorbills, puffins, guillemots and cormorants, plus the occasional purple herons and even American eagles, have been spotted. Tresco has three bird hides. Special tours are available with professional ornithologist David Rosair.
There are a number of historical monuments for you to discover, including the remains of two Tudor forts and the seventeenth century Cromwell Castle, which still dominates the channel between Tresco and Bryher. You can learn more here.
Sports and gym
Tresco has an extremely active cricket and rowing club, which you can learn more about here. The island also regularly hosts a Triathlon. There are fully equipped gyms at the Flying Boat and the Sea Garden Cottages.
Tresco Gallery and island art
Gallery Tresco on the waterfront in New Grimsby showcases the work of many leading artists, ceramicists and jewellers and hosts exhibitions throughout the peak spring and summer period. Artists in residence on the island have in the past included Mary Fedden, Rose Hilton and Daphne McClure. Most rental properties contain original artworks. The Flying Boat Club and the Hell Bay Hotel on Bryher have a number of works by some of Cornwall’s most famous artists, including Barbara Hepworth, Terry Frost and Peter Lanyon. There are also a number of eye-catching sculptures around the island for visitors to enjoy. These include David Wynne’s ‘Leaping Dolphins’ and ‘Tresco Children’. His sculpture of Gaia (goddess of the earth) is sited at the centre of the Abbey Garden and is made from multi-coloured South African marble. Sculptor Tom Leaper’s work also features extensively on the island. The Abbey Garden features a Shell House – a fabulous mosaic of shells – designed and built by Lucy Dorrien Smith.
In addition to the giant pool surrounding Tresco (which admittedly is a tad chilly at times), guests will find indoor swimming pools at the Spa and at the Sea Garden Cottages. There are also three heated outdoor pools: two at the Flying Boat and one at the New Inn.
There is a network of footpaths on Tresco. A particular favourite walk is to follow the coastal path along to Cromwell’s seventeenth century castle on the island’s northwest promontory (built to guard the anchorage between Bryher and Tresco). A short hike up the hill behind leads you to King Charles Castle with fabulous views of the islands.
You won't need to spend more than a couple of hours walking or cycling around Tresco, or exploring the fabulous Abbey Garden, before you can be sure that you're definitely in a holiday paradise
Frank Barrett, Mail on Sunday
Capturing the island
Photographer James Darling writes about working on Tresco.