Isles of Scilly: A Day Trip to St Martin’s

On another sunny Scilly day we took the tripper boat over to St Martin’s. In a rather last-minute fashion we decided not to disembark straight away on St Martin’s when we discovered that we could stay on the boat for a small extra cost to do a tour of the Eastern Isles and go seal watching!

For about and hour or so we circled the collection of tiny islands on the Eastern tip of the Scillies, but it wasn’t long before we saw our first Atlantic grey seals with their heads bobbing on the surface of the water. We sailed past young seal pups waiting patiently on the rocks and larger groups lazing on the sandy beaches. We also saw countless sea birds which should really get a mention! Seal snorkelling tours run during the summer from St Martins, but they book up months in advance so we hadn’t been able to get on that this time. Next time I visit my friend on Scilly I will book the snorkelling as soon as I know which dates I’ll be there!

When we finally arrived on St Martin’s, we made our way straight to Little Arthur Cafe for some lunch after some heartfelt recommendations from friends. They make everything from local or home-grown ingredients and are incredibly passionate about this. The cosy little eatery had a lovely interior with bunting and plants and looked out over a sea view. I loved the orange pop of nasturtium flowers sprawling over the walls. My crab burger with sweet chilli sauce was to die for and that portion of chips! Huge! The touch of one or two colourful edible flowers adorning the salad didn’t go unnoticed – it’s the little things!

An island stroll was in order to walk off those chips, but it wasn’t long before we came to the famous St Martin’s Island Bakery. I have to say I was tempted by the treacle tarts and chocolate brownies, but I was so full I gave them a miss.

As the boat home would be leaving from the other side of the island, we made our way over enjoying the views of the St Martin’s flats and their milky blue waters. We saw some of the local St Martin’s cattle reared for their beef and stopped by the tiny local church for a moment.

Just before reaching the quay where we would be catching our return boat, we paid a visit to Fay Page’s handmade silver jewellery workshop and gallery. Like Lucy Gerrard from Silver Sapling, Fay is inspired by the Isles and a lot of her work features shells and sea creatures all with absolutely exquisite detail. Having already bought myself my beautiful agapanthus necklace from Lucy I resisted the urge to make a purchase this time. I’ve got my eye on her cowrie and sea urchin stacking rings for next time though…

Once again we found ourselves with a bit of time to spare before our boat ride back to St Mary’s. Naturally we spent it relaxing on the beach looking out over the sea and wriggling our toes in the white, sparkling sand.

St Martin’s struck me as much more sleepy and village-like compared with Tresco and especially St Mary’s. I felt like I could count on my hands the number of buildings on the island – I’m exaggerating of course but it certainly felt noticeably quieter. I really enjoyed the views and the feeling that I could sit and really soak up that calm vibe with little disruption. Next time I visit I’d love to swim in the shallower waters around the island which are just so inviting! Perhaps I’d make friends with some seals?

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