The Isles of Scilly: heat and heritage

THE Isles of Scilly comprise more than 100 islands off the western tip of Cornwall which boast the UK’s warmest climate and 20,000 species of exotic plants from across the world.

The population of 2,100 is spread across the six inhabited islands of St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher, St Agnes and Gugh.

Benefiting from the Gulf Stream, it never snows or freezes there, and January temperatures average 3C higher than on the mainland. Sub-tropical plants thrive and unique species include the Scilly Bee and Scilly Shrew.

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Despite having a total area of just six square miles, the isles have 238 scheduled ancient monuments and 130 listed buildings.

These include Bronze Age burial mounds and the 16th century Star Castle on St Mary’s.

The isles are also collectively designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the equivalent of being a National Park. Their entire coastline is a Heritage Coast, which is protected for its natural beauty.

The Bishops Rock lighthouse, south west of the islands, is the tallest in the UK at 163ft.