Summer staycation, you'd be Scilly not to...

Thu 08 Aug 2013 @ 18:54
Author Clare Knivett

If you're looking for a last-minute summer break with white sand beaches, turquoise waters, the freshest local produce and friendly faces, then look no further than our very own Scilly Isles. Just 18 miles off the coast of Cornwall, this tropical-looking oasis has so much to offer couples, friends and families. With their very own vineyard, great seafood and grass-fed Tresco beef, the Scilly Isles are a food and wine lovers paradise. We found a brilliant base to explore from: the family-run award-winning Hell Bay hotel on the island of Bryher, where ex-Fifteen graduate Steve Boot has worked his way up to sous chef in the 3-AA rosette restaurant.

Facing the Atlantic ocean, Hell Bay hotel is the perfect place for exploring the wilds of Bryher and her neighbouring islands. It really is a haven the setting and vibe will instantly relax the busiest of bods and have you winding down to fit the pace of Island life. Enjoy head chef Richard Kearsley's local, seasonal and regional food in the hotel's restaurant overlooking the bay (even more stunning at sunset). His daily changing menu celebrates Bryher crab, lobster and farm vegetables all bought just a stone's throw from the kitchen door. Chickens run free in the gardens behind, where the guests' children are encouraged to search for eggs for their breakfast.

With a host of adventures to choose from (fishing, snorkelling with the local seals, horse riding, golf and general island fun), each island has something special to offer. Hop across the pond to the family-owned island of Tresco and visit the sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. Host to thousands of exotic and unusual species of plants from more than 80 countries (think Kew gardens without the glass), its terraces, pathways and walled corners provide a beautiful afternoon of sensory adventure. Later, retire to the Ruin Inn beach cafe to sample the mediterranean inspired menu and sip a cocktail made with local samphire!

With such a small population there's a real sense of community on the islands and a holiday here is a genuine escape; children can take off on real adventures, while couples can enjoy the peace and quiet of getting away from it all. It's one of Britain's gems and shouldn't be overlooked.

For details on where to stay, what to do and how to get to Hell bay, check out www.hellbay.co.uk

Check out our next blog. Following a mornings foraging with Hell bay Hotels kitchen dream team, Richard and Steve, we grabbed sous chef extraoardinaire from Jamie's Fifteen apprentice programme to find out about his journey and why he chose island life.

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