Updated: Jul 3
The Isles of Scilly are beautiful all year round; however, the climate is very similar to that of the rest of the UK, meaning it is best to visit the islands outside of winter.
The popular season to visit the Isles of Scilly runs from April until October, with a few significant events and key visiting times that stand out;
May: World Pilot Gig Championships (WPGC)
The first May bank holiday, which usually falls either the last weekend of April or 1st weekend of May, is the island gig weekend. The WPGC is the busiest weekend of the year on Scilly Isles, with gig clubs from all over the world travelling to the islands for a weekend full of racing and celebrations. It is usually tough to secure accommodation in the Isles of Scilly for this weekend; however, if you manage to, it is definitely a spectacle to look forward to. The atmosphere is incredible, and you’d have an amazing time experiencing the islands at their busiest.
Otillo is a swim-run competition that’s held all over the world. Every year around June time they hold races on the islands. There is a “sprint” around St Mary’s and a full race covering multiple islands. It’s another atmospheric time to enjoy the islands.
April - July: Puffins
Our puffin population frequents the Isles of Scilly between April and July. These famous seabirds are found in the Eastern Isles whilst here. There are various boat trips to visit them in their natural habitat.
April - September: Low Tide Festival
During April and September, the islands experience “Spring Tides”, meaning it’s possible to walk between some islands. When the tides are at their lowest, you can walk from Tresco to Bryher and sometimes even Samson. Tresco Island put on a Low Tide event in both April & September, where there are various stalls set up on the sandbank between Tresco and Bryher.
Each month brings a different atmosphere;
Visiting the Scilly Isles in April, May, September & October
These outlying months are one of the best times to come. Although the weather is still unpredictable, it is usually milder than winter, with some stunning sunny days thrown in for good measure. The Scilly Isles are quieter during these times (except for gig weekend), especially out of the school summer holidays; however, there’s still a constant flow of people. The Easter Holidays in April are a bit busier than the rest of the month. October is usually quiet and appeals to the bird-watching community.
Visiting the Scilly Isles in June, July & August
These months are the busiest on the islands with summer holidays in motion. Although we sometimes have rainy days, these months are the peak of our summer here. The beaches are full, and there is a buzz everywhere you go. Boating is in full swing, with lots of trips each day.
Visiting the Scilly Isles in November, December, January & February
These winter months are quiet and peaceful. We can experience extremely high winds and rainy conditions, so people don’t tend to come here to enjoy boating like in the summer. That being said, Scilly in the winter is lovely if you’re looking to get away and relax with wintery walks and a cosy book by the fire. St Mary’s Boating Association, which runs the daily tripper boats, cease for the winter. The only boats in the water are the Tresco jet boats which you can book privately. The occasional takeaway opens once a week; however, the supermarkets stay open for all the essentials.
A couple of hotels remain available for essential workers; however, our self-catering accommodation in the Scilly Isles is bookable throughout the winter. Most restaurants and cafes are closed during this time. However, a couple of pubs stay open for drinks and food, including a good old Sunday roast.
During the season (April-October), everything comes alive. All restaurants and takeaways are open, and boating is in full swing. You can spend your days exploring the islands, sea swimming or relaxing in the sunshine, then your evenings watching the sunset with sundowners.
To conclude, the best time to visit the Isles of Scilly is anytime between April and October. To decide the best month to see, you can view our monthly blogs, which break down all the activities that happen throughout the year.
Image sources: otilloswimrun.com