If camping on the tiny island of St Agnes isn’t exciting enough, it’s certainly an adventure getting there. Take your pick from a boa or plane for the journey to one of the the Isles of Scilly’s two main islands, St Mary’s. The plane has the edge for maximum thrill, a tiny eight-seater bouncing about on the winds. Bag one of the front seats, inches from the whirring propellers, for a bird’s-eye view of the 100- odd islands that make up this archipelago.
Then it’s on to a catamaran for the trip to St Agnes. If it’s a bright day, you’ll be greeted by the almost Mediterranean sight of boats moored on the turquoise waters of Porth Conger as you arrive. Next is a tractor ride – for your luggage at least. Most people choose to let their bags go ahead and walk the 20 minutes to the campsite, a scenic stroll that provides a stunning introduction to the island.
At just one mile in diameter, St Agnes is one of the smallest inhabited islands of the Scilly archipelago. It’s a beautiful, rugged place that has seen little change since Celtic times, a forgotten outpost of England’s west. The majority of the island’s 70 inhabitants work in flower farming during the winter months as they have done for generations, although tourism is now as important to the economy. Even so, there are only a handful of B&Bs on the island –most people come to stay at Troytown Farm, England’s westernmost campsite.
Its position couldn’t be any more remote or spectacular. The campsite clings to the western foreshore of the island, just feet away from the rock-calmed Atlantic waters that look as if they might engulf the campsite at high tide. To one side, a beautiful curve of sand at Periglis Beach extends into the sea. To the other, bold, intriguing rock formations add interest to the heather-covered coastal landscape. It’s a magical wilderness that feels like the ends of the earth. In fact, it is almost at the ends of the earth; the nearest neighbours to the southwest are New Yorkers.
There are small, separate fieldlets with low hedges and walls offering a certain amount of protection from the elements, but this can be a windy island so come prepared. When the sun shines, though, this place is perfect. You can play in the rock pools, spot the rare, migrating birds or just sling up a hammock and listen to the waves gently lapping on the foreshore. At night, the lack of light pollution affords incredible views of the Milky Way and dazzling displays of shooting stars. Isolation is this island’s greatest asset, so bring a love of nature and plenty of books to read. The island may be remote, but it’s fairly self-sufficient. Troytown Farm has a small dairy herd producing milk and cream for the island. They also rear pigs and grow vegetables to provide campers with food, so most survival essentials are available at the farmhouse and on-site shop. The other of life’s necessities is available by the pint at The Turks Head in Porth Conger, the island’s only pub. Perched on the hillside overlooking the bay and the adjacent islet of The Gugh, it might just win the prize for best beer garden view in England. St Agnes is also blessed with some fantastic beaches. As well as Periglis Beach near the campsite, there’s the small, sheltered beach at Cove Vean on the eastern shore and a sandbar at Porth Conger, where you can splash about in the waves or walk across to The Gugh at low tide. But for great sunset views, head back to Periglis – and see if you can’t spot the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
(info supplied by the campsite)
For a totally care free camping holiday, where you can travel light and be inside your tent with the kettle boiling within minutes of arriving on the farm, the campsite has a few canvas bell tents for hire.
These traditional style, sturdy tents are provided pre-erected and fully equipped with all the kit you need for up to 4 people, allowing you to enjoy every last minute of your holiday.
Troytown Campsite is a stunning location, on the waters edge of the remote island of St Agnes, with incredible panoramic views across the Atlantic, the rugged western rocks and the uninhabited island of Annet.
Wake up to the sound of the sea, spend your day relaxing by the clear water and white sands of the campsite's own beach, then after some alfresco dining, watch the sunset from your tent, and count shooting stars in the night sky.
St Agnes is the perfect place to relax and unwind. If you love the outdoors and adventure, this island has a rugged, natural landscape to explore. The clear waters are perfect for snorkelling, kayaking, fishing and swimming, and the beaches have beautiful white sand and are great for rock-pooling, or just sitting and watching the ocean.
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My favourite UK campsite of all time. Spectacular scenery - just open the tent flaps ! So relaxing - watching the tide come in and out - you really feel like you've had a holiday and that you've been somewhere really special. Perfection.
2 of 2 readers found this review useful.
Is this the most beautiful campsite in the UK ? Quite possibly. A stunning location on the most southwesterly island in the country, the views are spectacular, particularly at sunset. The island is very small but has a shop, pub which serves great real ale and food, and a couple of teashops for a bacon and egg butty in the mornings. The site itself is perfectly located on a farm right on the beach and the farm shop serves its own ice-cream made from the milk of the friendly cows that wander freely around the site. It also serves fresh meat. The weather was perfect when we went and it was almost Caribbean-like sitting on pure white sand beaches with crystal clear water lapping at our feet listening to the sound of silence. Lovely !
2 of 2 readers found this review useful.
Bryher CampsiteBryher, Isles of Scilly TR23 0PR
It’s a bit of trek to get there, but make the effort and you’ll be rewarded with traditional, rustic camping on a little island paradise.
Peninnis FarmPeninnis Farm, Church Road, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly TR21 0NA
Nestled on the peninsula between two of the Isles of Scilly's finest beaches is Peninnis Farm, a 50-acre family-run farm that offers sustainable, five-star glamping and spectacular coastal views.
Check out some great tours of the islands with Island Wildlife Tours (01720 422212). Or try snorkelling with the seals with Scilly Diving (01720 422848).
If it rains
If the weather gets really bad (and it has been known to be windy here!) Troytown Farm also offer self-catering accommodation in a chalet and cottage.
Food & Drink
The Turks Head, Porth Conger has great food and beer, surpassed only by the view.