The Isles of Scilly form an archipelago off the south-western tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. Scilly has been inhabited since the Stone Age and its history has been one of subsistence living until the early 20th century. Farming and fishing continue today, but the main industry now is tourism.
Because of its position, Scilly is the first landing for many migrant birds, including extreme rarities from North America and Siberia. Scilly is situated far into the Atlantic Ocean, so many American vagrant birds will make first European landfall in the archipelago.
In 1975 the islands were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The designation covers the entire archipelago, including the uninhabited islands and rocks, and is the smallest such area in the UK
Things to do
Scilly's tiny land mass is home to 239 scheduled monuments, which means there is a greater density of historical sites here than anywhere else in the British Isles.
There are more than 35 sandy beaches spread across the islands. Whether you are after a refreshing swim, serious sand-castle building, rock pooling, shell-seeking or the perfect picnic spot, the beaches around Scilly will delight.
If you are looking for a real buzz on the water, try a host of water sports, from sailing and kayaking to windsurfing and kite-surfing. Centres on two islands cater for all ages and abilities, and equipment can be hired from both.