Isles of Scilly: 4-night Star Castle Hotel Inclusive Break

Our Isles of Scilly holidays include a packed itinerary of daily excursions. Enjoy guided walks and talks with local experts and plenty of island hopping.


  • Enjoy the Isles of Scilly at a gentle pace with a small group of no more than ten.
  • Private tour of Tresco Abbey Gardens, a 19th-century subtropical garden grown around the ruins of a Benedictine monastery.
  • Richard Larn OBE immerses you in local shipwreck stories and maritime history in a compelling pre-dinner talk.
  • Enjoy a private boat trip to see, close-up, seals and seabirds such as Cory’s or great shearwaters, with ecologist, Dr Vickie Heaney.
  • Enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Castle’s Dungeon Bar and dine every evening in one of the two award-winning hotel restaurants in the former Officers’ Mess or the vine-clad conservatory.


Uncover the secrets of this beautiful archipelago as you hop between four islands, meet the locals, and stay at Star Castle Hotel

The Isle of Scilly are an unexpected, tropical-like paradise off the southernmost tip of England. This is a place of white-sand beaches, turquoise seas and swaying palm trees. It’s also a place of shipwrecks, art and astonishing gardens. GeoCultura’s exclusive small group tour shows you how the archipelago’s deep time history made possible the striking scenery and the incredible tales told by generations of Scillonians.

We’re delighted to have secured accommodation for all our tours at the Star Castle Hotel. It is steeped in history – a complete example of an Elizabethan fort, built in 1593, in response to the threat following the Spanish Armada in 1588. Later, during the English Civil War, it was the final Royalist stronghold and refuge for the future King Charles II in 1646. With its modern garden room extensions, it is a most comfortable and welcoming hotel with charming staff. The hotel has two restaurants which both have an excellent reputation. GeoCultura guests will enjoy the full breakfast experience with flexibility on breakfast times, and a la carte dinner every evening.

Spend five days of your Scilly holiday exploring everything that the islands have to offer, from a vibrant garden hiding a monastery to discovering the sites where ancient ancestors laid their heroes to rest. History soaks the islands through, and you’ll learn how the tranquil Isles have weathered natural and man-made tempests over the years.

Your expert local guides and guest speaker will help you make the most of this island paradise, showing you which wildlife to watch out for and share the history behind some of the most striking landmarks, and uncover their fascinating 300million year old story. With a special pre-dinner talk on the islands’ rich maritime history and scattered shipwrecks, along with the rich tapestry of early settlers who called Scilly home, you’ll sink into island life and get that much more out of exploring the islands.

Please note: Travel to or from the Isles of Scilly can be weather dependent and is prone to disruption, so please bear this in mind when booking on this tour and ideally allow for a little flexibility, especially at the end of the tour. Please note there are no scheduled flights or ferries on Sundays. Please call our office for advice on options for travel. We can help you choose the best route depending on your home destination.

  • Activity Level: Easy, with optional longer walks (view our activity level definitions). Access to islands off St Mary’s will require climbing on and off passenger boats.
  • Transport: Getting there: The Isles of Scilly can be reached by plane from airports in Cornwall and Devon; by helicopter from Penzance Heliport, or by ship from Penzance Harbour. Getting around: Primarily on foot, with passenger boats between the islands.
  • Accommodation: Four nights in the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s, a former artillery fort where the customers come first.
  • Weather: The Isles of Scilly benefit from a subtropical climate, meaning mild conditions and an average temperature ranging from 8 °C to 17 °C across the year. These conditions favour the islands’ flower growers, who typically harvest and export narcissi from October through to March, when the mainland can be facing face subzero temperatures. Rain is a possibility, so we recommend bringing light waterproof clothing, but any poor weather often passes quickly on the islands.

Other tours you may be interested in

Isles of Scilly 5 nights in September or April 2025, or 5 nights in Wales on our Charles Darwin focused tour in September.

Tour Map

T026 Itinerary Map

Day 1 – Arrival and Meeting on St Mary’s

Star Castle and Gardens

Check into your hotel and meet your fellow travellers.

If you choose to arrive by sea, your luggage will be collected from the ship and taken to the Star Castle hotel. You would then walk the short distance up to the hotel with your hand luggage. If you arrive by plane or helicopter, the Star Castle minibus driver will meet you at the airport and take you and your luggage for the short drive to the hotel. Once checked in, you’ll meet GeoCultura’s local guide and the rest of the group and enjoy a short, guided afternoon walk around St Mary’s

Days 2-4 – Exploring the Islands

Tresco and Bryher

Enjoy the islands at your pace, with flexible schedules and semi-guided tours.

Island life runs at a slower pace than on the mainland, and our itinerary reflects this. The weather also plays a part, so we will adapt the itineraries to suit the weather and tides, taking into account the special requests of the group. Whatever the conditions, there will always be plenty to catch your attention during your stay on Scilly. During this tour, some or all of the following will be included, depending on the time of year:

  • Guided walk of the Garrison Walls excellently preserved defensive measures located right outside the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s.
  • Trip to St Martin’s to include a visit to its very own vineyard, complete with tasting.
  • Pre-dinner talk about the islands from local expert on its maritime history and the numerous shipwrecks.,
  • Private tour with head gardener, Andrew Lawson, of Tresco Abbey Gardens, where tropical conditions support an abundance of exotic flora. Visit the café for a cream tea, see the island’s impressive figurehead collection, and perhaps a sighting of the local red squirrels.
  • Explore the English Civil War history still visible on Tresco and hear about the struggle to wrest control of the islands.
  • Private boat trip beyond the main islands to see the puffin colonies*, bobbing seals, and playful dolphins.
  • Visit to Bryher to learn about a key Bronze Age burial discovery, stop in at the Hell Bay Hotel and enjoy the Pender family’s mouth-watering fresh fish and seafood at their café. Bryher also boasts a small but impressive gallery, full of art, photography and ceramics from local creators.
  • Head to St Agnes to explore a miniature maze and spend time in Britain’s most south-westerly pub. St Agnes has the only dairy farm on Scilly, selling delicious ice creams for passers-by to sample.

*April and July only. By September, the puffins have moved on.

Our tours are designed to suit you, so there will also be plenty of free time to pop into galleries, head out on an adventure of your own or simply sit and enjoy the amazing views.

Day 5 – Tour Ends

St Mary's Harbour

Home time. Fly or sail back to the mainland.

Savour the final breakfast of your Scilly Isles holiday at the Star Castle Hotel, then head to the airport, harbour or heliport to catch your ride home.

Note: this provisional itinerary may be subject to change.

Reaching the Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly can be reached by Skybus from airports at Land’s End (20 minutes), Newquay (30 minutes) or Exeter (1 hour); by helicopter from Penzance Heliport (15 minutes), or by the Scillonian ship from Penzance Harbour (2 hours 45 minutes).

For more information, please call or email us to receive a transport factsheet for ways to reach the Isles of Scilly, with hints and tips, based on our experience. 

Single Supplement

Single room supplement £175 / $219

Activity Level and Transport

Island Hopping

The activity level is rated as EASY (view activity level definitions) and is suitable for occasional walkers, with walks ranging from between 1-3 miles on paved roads, coastal paths and sandy beaches. This tour does involve climbing into and out of passenger boats to reach other islands, along with descending and ascending stone steps on quays. Additionally, the very short approach road to walk up to the Star Castle Hotel is steep, but it only takes about five minutes if coming up from the harbour or the town. You will never need to do this walk with your luggage on your Scilly holiday, as the hotel team take care of that!

Sturdy, waterproof footwear is essential. Rain is always possible, and participants should be prepared with warm and waterproof clothing. The climate on the Scillies is mild, with average temperatures ranging from 8°C to 17°C over the course of the year.

Transport will be by licensed passenger boats between the islands, and primarily on foot the rest of the time.

If walking is an issue, alternative arrangements can be made during the scheduled longer walks, so please let GeoCultura know in advance. To enjoy the full experience, a good level of fitness is required – please call us to discuss this if you have any concerns.

The Tour Includes/Excludes

The Tour Includes:

  • Local experts, one of whom will accompany the group on each daily excursion
  • Mostly private boat trips when travelling between islands
  • Entry to Tresco Gardens plus private guided tour
  • All accommodation costs for the four nights
  • All breakfasts and four a la carte dinners at the Star Castle
  • All service charges and most gratuities

The Tour Excludes:

  • Travel insurance. Guests should carry their own health and travel insurance.
  • Extra or optional activities not described in the tour
  • Lunches not included
  • Personal expenditures, any alcoholic drinks with meals, and extras at the hotel such as laundry bills
  • Transportation to the start venue or from the end venue of the tour. Participants will need to make their own arrangements for travel to and from St Mary’s. Please email or call us and we will provide detailed advice to explain the transport options.
  • Passport and visa fees


Nights 1-4: Star Castle Hotel, St Mary’s

Star Castle

Star Castle is St Mary’s only four-star hotel, which originally served as an Elizabethan artillery fort. The ‘location, setting and history are exceptional’. The Star Castle’s food is a real treat with a daily changing menu, including excellent fresh fish from Cornwall and produce from the kitchen garden.

GeoCultura guests are most likely to be allocated rooms in the Garden Rooms. Subject to availability, there is an option to request and pay for an upgrade for a sea view room or a room in the castle. Book early if this is important to you. Details on request.

Star Castle Bedroom. Photo by Mark Bolton

Photo by Mark Bolton

Note: If required for reasons beyond our control, GeoCultura reserves the right to substitute alternative accommodation of equal or higher quality or adapt the itinerary if required.

Deposit and Payment Terms

Deposit: A deposit of 10% of the tour price is due upon registration for a tour.

Final payment: Full payment is due 60 days before a tour begins, or upon registration if within the 60-day window.

Cancellation by participant: A participant may cancel a registration after securing a confirmed place on a tour for any reason. The following refund terms will apply:

  • Greater than 60 days before tour begins: Any monies paid plus half of the deposit will be refunded
  • 30 to 59 days before tour begins: 35% of tour price will be refunded
  • 15 to 29 days before tour begins: 25% of tour price will be refunded
  • Within 14 days of tour or during the tour: No monies will be refunded

Cancellation by GeoCultura: GeoCultura reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrolment, inability to run the tour or concerns about the safety, health or welfare of participants. If a tour is cancelled before it begins, all monies paid will be refunded (including any deposit).

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions page for additional details.

Your experience on the Isle of Scilly is guided by professional local guides and leading experts in the archipelago’s shipwrecks, maritime history, birdlife, gardens, and local creativity.

One or two of the following leaders will be present on each tour.

Dr Vickie Heaney

Dr Vickie Heaney

Dr Vickie Heaney’s background is in zoology with a PHD specialisation in seabirds, and the Isles of Scilly provide plenty of birdlife for her to study and conserve.

As a Seabird Ecologist with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Vickie’s work includes monitoring the Isles’ avian visitors, and improving conditions through initiatives like the Seabird Recovery Project. Among other outcomes, this project has been credited with bringing successful breeding populations of Manx Shearwaters and Storm Petrels back to Scilly.

Vickie’s other passion is printmaking, and from her studio on St Mary’s she creates limited runs of linocut prints inspired by seabirds, nautical themes and island life, together with hand decorated ceramics with striking designs.

With Jess Vian, Vickie runs Isles of Scilly Tours. During the winter months, her ornithology expertise takes her to the far south, helping to engage expedition cruise ships passengers about wildlife in places like the Falklands Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica.


Jess Vian

Jess Vian

Like many, Jess caught the Isles of Scilly bug from a young age after visiting the islands on holiday. After moving to the islands to work the 2001 summer season, Jess has never looked back. Throwing herself into island life, she has held an impressive number of roles over the years, working in the agricultural, tourism and transport industries.

Jess has a particular interest in the history of Scilly, with a specialisation in the lighthouses that dot the coastline and surrounding islands. Additionally, she has previously chaired the Isles of Scilly Museum Association and continues to support the organisation, as both a Trustee and as the current Vice Chair.

Alongside Dr Vickie Heaney, Jess runs Isles of Scilly Tours, helping to guide visitors across and around the islands. Outside of guiding, Jess manages her smallholding of goats, chickens and ducks, and runs a small business making soap from goats’ milk.


 Richard Larn OBE, Cornish Bard and Knight of Mark Twain

Richard Larn

Richard has had a storied history in the Royal Navy, having served for 27 years in a variety of significant roles. After teaching himself to dive in 1947 in the River Thames, his passion for exploring shipwrecks took off, and since then Richard has dived all over the world and on hundreds of wreck sites.

Richard’s career highlights include discovering and investigating the wreck of HMS Association off the coast of the Isles of Scilly, and using his ingenuity to help raise the Mary Rose in 1982, a feat which earned him a personal letter of thanks from the then-Prince Charles.

Other notable moments include Richard being awarded an OBE for his work in cataloguing UK shipwrecks through the National Maritime Record, and discovering the wreck of the Admiral Gardner which yielded millions of copper coins.

Richard has written over 60 books about shipwrecks, including nine about the Isles of Scilly, and will be talking about his adventures, British naval history and a number of key Scilly shipwrecks.

Upcoming tours
07 - 11 Jul 2025
Prices from GBP £1,899.00

T026 Tour Map